Last night, Jake Ellenberger sealed his spot as a top contender in the UFC’s welterweight division with a decisive victory over Diego Sanchez on the UFC on FUEL TV 1 event held in Oklahoma. Ellenberger used his size and strength, as well as an excellent counterfighting ring strategy that forced Sanchez to burn energy and absorb punishment while coming towards him. Sanchez had a good final round, however Ellenberger had pulled too far ahead on the cards to win. With Welterweight kingpin Georges St Pierre out to the end of the year, interim champion Carlos Condit is going to need an opponent, and Ellenberger really made his case this last weekend for belonging in the title picture.
You have to go back to September of 2009 to find the last time Ellenberger took a loss, and it was via a split decision to Carlos Condit. Condit is not going to want to sit and wait for Georges St Pierre at the end of the year, and a re-match with Ellenberger is compelling for several reasons.
It will be a very good fight, just like it was the first time. It will also likely answer the one question about Ellenberger that remains – can he go a full five rounds? Despite a strong first two rounds that inflicted a lot of damage against Sanchez, Diego never stopped coming forward and in fact was likely able to win the third round on the scorecards. Was it because Jake was starting to tire? A fourth and fifth round against Condit will test Ellenberger.
The winner of Condit-Ellenberger 2 represents new blood to face off against St Pierre, and I think that is something that is needed. Should Jon Fitch, Jake Shields, Josh Koschek or any of the other contenders get a chance? They have all fizzled against St Pierre in the past and I don’t find a rematch for any of them all that intriguing.
Koschek has signed to fight Johny Hendrix, and I would like to see Jon Fitch take on the winner of Shields and Akiyama (I’m betting it is Shields all the way).
Who do I take in a match between Ellenberger and Condit? It will be interesting to see where the lines would open, especially with the Split Decision in the books that there are a good number of people who think Ellenberger won. Since things have changed for both men since 2009, the rematch should come in at just about even money, with Condit a slight favorite.