UFC Welterweight contender Jake Ellenberger took a rough loss this past weekend at the UFC on FOX 8 card, as he lost a Unanimous Decision against Rory MacDonald. This is the second time in a year that Ellenberger has failed to break thru with a win just as he stood at the cusp of a title shot. In June of last year, Ellenberger was riding a 6 fight winning streak that included wins over Jake Shields and Diego Sanchez, when he ran into a Martin Kampmann knee. He put together two wins since then, to get the title eliminator bout with MacDonald, but MacDonald played his game and won in a snoozer.
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Ellenberger is still just 28 years old, entering his prime as an athlete, however this setback means that he must not only get back on the winning track with a win, but he must put together another winning streak to get himself back into title contention.
There is talk of rematching Ellenberger with the loser of the Carlos Condit versus Martin Kampmann bout. Both Kampmann and Condit own wins over Ellenberger, so the revenge factor for Ellenberger may be appealing. That match will likely be won by Condit, which would result in Ellenberger facing Kampmann, who many feel he should have beaten the first time.
A more interesting match would have Ellenberger facing Hector Lombard. Granted Lombard will have to win against Nate Marquardt in his next outing, but Lombard is a prospect who at 35 years old should be on a fast track. He would be hungrey and looking to take Ellenberger’s spot in the rankings. He is big and physical and has a lot of the same qualities as Ellenberger.
A match between the two, id resulting in a Lombard win, could help catapult him into a title shot or to at least be one match away. A win for Ellenberger comes with a caveat – he has to either take Lombard out early, or at least show some different facets of his game on his way to a win.
Unfortunately for Ellenberger, he has fallen into a rut where the blueprint for his fights is very predictable. A win over Lombard would dispatch him as a contender, and then set up a rematch for him with Condit or Kampmann.
A revenge win over Condit after beating Lombard is probably the quickest path back to a title shot for Ellenberger.