The UFC 151 event scheduled for the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada on September first has added a co-main event fight in the welterweight division between Josh Koscheck and Jake Ellenberger. Both men are easily in the top 10 of a crowded division, however both are coming off losses and need a win to avoid the dreaded 2 fight losing streak that seems to put your contract at risk more often than not.
On paper, this match could go either way. Two strong wrestlers who have fallen in love with their stand up but will never be confused with Anderson Silva, this could turn into a hug fest, or worse, a tough-man style display of mediocre boxing.
The other thing is that both men are on different trajectories in their respective careers. Though Ellenberger suffered a setback in his loss to Martin Kampmann, he is still young and is still considered a threat.
Koscheck on the other hand, has already had his shot at the title and he has not pulled through. He isnt all that popular, and he isnt hated like a Chael Sonnen – one thing is for sure no one wants to see Koscheck in another title shot unless he does something spectacular. Even then it is a stretch.
Ellenberger can do two things that will show progress. First, he can come out and mash Koscheck, which is a tall order. Koscheck is a sturdy customer who does not get taken out, so if Ellenberger can refine his power early and take Koscheck out, it will be a sign of progress for the youngster.
The other thing would be for Ellenberger to go the distance and show me he doesn’t get tired with a tough opponent who has been in long, grinding fights. Ellenberger needs to show he is overcoming weaknesses and win every round, or else he won’t get the bump back to top 3 or 4 contender status that he needs.
I look for the odds for this fight to open at near pick ‘em, and if it is leaning to wards favoring one fighter, it will favor Koscheck. One more good reason for Ellenberger to crash the party!