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UFC Fight Night 131 results from last night: Jake Ellenberger vs Ben Saunders fight recap

MMA: UFC Fight Night-Utica- Ellenberger vs. Saunders Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight veterans Jake Ellenberger and Ben Saunders threw down last night (June 1, 2018) at UFC Fight Night 131 from inside Adirondack Bank Center in Utica, New York.

Can a fight be both sad and entertaining? That’s a question the matchup of Ellenberger and Saunders sought to answer last night. Both veterans are clearly in their late careers, and while they remain undeniably tough and dangerous, neither should absorb big shots anymore. Furthermore, each fighter entered this contest on the heels of multiple stoppage losses, putting even more pressure on them.

Saunders opened with power kicks, looking to keep Ellenberger back. It worked for a moment, before Ellenberger caught a high kick and blasted his foe with a right. From there, the fight moved into the clinch, where Saunders went to work with short knees to the head. For whatever reason, Ellenberger chose to remain in the clinch and keep fighting.

Ellenberger landed a couple decent overhands, but Saunders’ had much better clinch position. As Ellenberger went to punch, a knee to the liver from “Killa B” sent him crumpling to the mat. A few follow-up punches sealed the deal, and Saunders added another first-round knockout victory to his record.

On any given night.

Things pretty much went exactly as Saunders hoped. At range, he smashed Ellenberger’s guard and body with kicks, convincing his opponent to barrel forward. Ellenberger did land a nice right, but afterward he was unable to avoid falling into the clinch. That’s the other distance Saunders excels from — especially while fresh — and he quickly tore Ellenberger apart.

The combo of kicks-and-knees has been Saunders game plan for a decade, and it worked last night.

Speaking of, Ellenberger’s decision making was certainly questionable. After clubbing Saunders with an overhand, he did little to push his way back out of the clinch and keep firing. When Saunders began moving to lock up a dominant clinch position, Ellenberger tried to punch his way out. That works if you throw punches from a loose clinch, but Saunders was locked up tight and had his head in pretty safe position.

Even if Saunders’ chin wasn’t what it once was, knee generally beats punch.

Following the fight, Saunders will receive at least one more opportunity inside the cage — he’s certainly earned that with this excellent knockout win. Hopefully, UFC will match him up reasonably. As for Ellenberger, this is likely the end of his long UFC stretch, and while he’s athletic enough to find some success in smaller organizations, it really seems like his time is up.

Last night, Ben Saunders quickly knocked out his opponent. Can Saunders continue his winning ways at 170 lbs.?

For complete UFC Fight Night 131 “Rivera vs. Moraes” results and play-by-play, click HERE!

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