UFN 18 postfight notes
Interview by David L. Hudson, Jr.
Photos courtesy of Josh Hodges, UFC
UFC officials announced that the event in Nashville, Tenn., posted an attendance of 10,267 and a gate of more than $620,000. They also announced the following bonus awards:
- Submission of the Night – Rob Kimmons
- Knockout of the Night – Aaron Simpson (granted he scored the only knockout of the evening)
- Fight of the Night – Tyson Griffin (his 5th Fight of the Night award) and Rafael Dos Anjos
- All four fighters received $30,000 bonuses.
Then Ryan Bader and Carlos Condit spoke to the media and answered questions. Later Martin “the Hitman” Kampmann graciously spoke to media in his dressing room, as he had not yet finished all his post-fight testing for the Tennessee Commission.
Bader seemed disappointed with his performance even though he raised his undefeated record to 9-0 with a win over the dangerous Carmelo Marrero.
“I’m new to the game,” he said. “I want to give the fans exciting performances.” He certainly was cognizant that the fans expressed their displeasure during the fight at times when both fighters seemed a bit winded.
“I felt a little tired and a little sluggish toward the end of the first round,” Bader said. “I’m a pretty harsh critic of myself,” explaining why he told Joe Rogan that his performance was only “so-so.”
When asked what he would like to do better, Bader said: “I didn’t transition well and I was a little sloppy on my stand-up game. I want to become more technical and smoother with my transitions.”
He did express satisfaction at controlling the wrestling aspect of the bout against a good wrestler like Marrero. “I think my wrestling skills are above and beyond most fighters in my weight class [at 205],” said the former All-American wrestler at Arizona State.
He revealed that he suffered an injury to his MCL (medial collateral ligament) in his knee and perhaps also his ACL. “I heard my knee pop in the first round and it felt really loose,” he said. “But it didn’t really hinder me in the fight. I was running on adrenaline and didn’t feel it much.”
Bader added that – despite any possible injuries – he still wants to fight two more times in the Octagon in 2009. “I’m new to MMA and want to learn as much as possible.”
Aaron Simpson, his wrestling coach at ASU and the winner of the first fight on the card, said it best: “Ryan Bader is one of the strongest 205 pounders in the world. I guarantee it.”
Condit clearly appeared disappointed with his split decision loss to Martin “the Hitman” Kampmann in the night’s main event, though the former WEC champion handled himself with class.
“It was a very, very close fight,” he said. “I left it in the hands of the judges which is always risky. I think the judges went with the guy who was top more and I think Kampmann stayed on top more of the fight.”
Condit did say that he “did more damage” but opined that he wished he focused more on his stand-up and perhaps clinched less.
Condit acknowledged that near the end of the first round, Kampmann had him in a deep guillotine choke.
“I heard the tap to signify the 10 seconds remaining in the round so I just held my breath for 10 seconds to get out of the round. It might have been a different story if there were 30 seconds left.”
Condit said “of course” when asked if he would like a rematch but he did not want to be “disrespectful” of his opponent.
For his part, Martin Kampmann agreed with Condit that it was a very close fight. Kampmann had stitches under his left eye and pain in his right eye from an unintentional poke in the eye from Condit.
“It may have been a fingernail,” he said.
He acknowledged the guillotine choke that Condit had at the end of the fight, noting “that is not the way you want to leave the last impression with the judges.”
However, he added that he was not in danger of submitting.
Kampmann felt a sense of urgency in the final round. One of his trainers, Mark Beecher, said “we told him to stay on top” during the final stanza. That may have been the outcome-determinative difference in the bout.
“I really wanted to finish strong,” Kampmann reiterated. “I definitely won that last round.”
He praised Condit as a “really tough fighter” who was good with submissions.
Kampmann said that making weight for 170 was not a problem at all. He added, however, that he is “still learning how to cut weight” and would like to have more muscle for his next bout. Still, Kampmann seemed more eager to stay at 170lb. rather than go back up to his previous fighting weight of 185 lb. where he has had more fights in the Octagon.
When asked about future opponents, Kampmann did not name any names but said: “I’m happy to get this fight and I’m willing to fight whenever and whomever the UFC says. I just want to move up the ladder.”
He added that he is in “no rush” for a title shot, though he would eventually like that shot at the belt.
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David L. Hudson Jr. is a feature writer for Fightnew.com, a licensed boxing judge and the author of the soon-to-be-released Combat Sports: An Encyclopedia of Wrestling, Fighting and Mixed Martial Arts. http://www.greenwood.com/catalog/GR4383.aspx