In his Octagon unveiling, Carlos Condit, the last World Extreme Cagefighting welterweight champion, brought all the elements that have made him a fledgling star. But those elements didn't add up to a victory.
Martin Kampmann, the Danish Xtreme Couture product in his second fight since cutting from middleweight, handed Condit his first loss in about three years at UFC Fight Night on April 1 before 10,267 fans at the Sommet Center in Nashville, Tenn. The announced gate was $626,077, one of the higher takes for a Fight Night card. The event, the UFC’s first in Tennessee, was not a sellout, but appeared to be a record crowd for a Fight Night card.
Kampmann used competent striking and sturdy ground attacks to take the fight on two judges' scorecards. It was a quality main event, as both competitors kept a fast pace and overcame deficits at several different points. Kampmann came close with a guillotine choke towards the end of the first round, while Condit corked off several of his trademark muay Thai strikes, bloodying Kampmann with a diet of Teep kicks, standing elbows and flying knees. All three judges gave round three to Kampmann, while only one, Cecil Peoples, gave one and two to Condit, according to Yahoo Sports.
The fight served as an entree to season nine of “The Ultimate Fighter, which this time is themed around United States fighters led by Dan Henderson taking on a United Kingdom squad led by TUF 3 champion Michael Bisping. The fight card and reality show were sandwiched between five days of five-hour UFC programming marathons on Spike TV.
Ratings for both shows were relatively strong. UFC Fight Night attracted 1.9 million viewers, while the season debut captured 1.8 million viewers, its best ratings since its fourth season, according to Spike TV.
UFC Fight Night also featured the first cage appearance by Ryan Bader after he captured the season eight “Ultimate Fighter” title in December. Bader outwrestled and mostly controlled American Top Team fighter Carmelo Marrero en route to a decision victory that drew some boos from the live crowd. Bader’s slowing down could be attributed to a knee injury he suffered in the fight; Bader said post-fight that he may have torn his MCL. If the injury requires surgery, it could require extensive rehab and time on the shelf for the Arizona Combat Sports fighter.
Elsewhere, Cole Miller put a dent in the momentum of Ultimate Fighter ratings mover Junie Browning, submitting the Kentuckian briskly with a tight first-round guillotine. Miller challenged the winner of the Spencer Fisher vs. Caol Uno fight at UFC 99 on June 13 in Germany.
In the other televised content, lightweight Tyson Griffin notched another win, overcoming a nasty leg entanglement by Rafael dos Anjos that wrenched his knee, to outstrike the Brazilian and win on points. The scrap earned each fighter a $30,000 bonus for “Fight of the Night.”
The undercard proved eventful. Tim Creduer put on one of his most impressive performances to date, using quality jiu-jitsu to submit Division I wrestler Nick Catone and hand him his first pro loss. It was the Kansas City-based Rob Kimmons, though, who earned the "Submission of the Night" bonus for a standing guillotine win over Joe Vedepo. Arizona Combat Sports ace wrestler Aaron Simpson notched a knockout bonus for his TKO over Tim McKenzie.
Also victorious were Brock Larson, Jorge Rivera, Ricardo Almeida and Gleison Tibau. Both Tibau and his opponent Jeremy Stephens could not make the 155-pound limit and met at a catch-weight. A fight between Steve Steinbeiss and Ryan Jensen was called off by the Tennessee Athletic Commission after Jensen said he disclosed his use of Adderall on his pre-fight questionairre. Adderall, which is commonly taken for Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), is a banned substance on the World Anti-Doping Agency's list.
Bloodyelbow.com reported that Jensen's opponent, Steve Steinbeiss, received his show and win money despite the cancellation. Jensen told Sherdog.com that he was also paid his show money by the promotion.
Following the live fight night, season nine of “The Ultimate Fighter” premiered. The episode focused on casting the team that will represent the United Kingdom. There appeared to be a wide range of skills among fighters on display at Bisping’s Wolfslair Academy gym, with fighters Martin Stapleton, Ross Pearson and David Faulkner standing out. The full U.K. squad, which Bisping termed a "team of killers," is made up of lightweights Stapleton, Pearson, Andre Winner and Jeff Lawson and welterweights Faulkner, Nick Osipczak, James Wilks and Dean Amasinger.
Team USA, coached by Dan Henderson, will be selected next week through a series of fights.
Casting for the next season of “The Ultimate Fighter” will already be underway next week. An open casting call will be held in Seattle, Wash., on Monday for middleweights, light heavyweights and heavyweights.
Both Spike TV broadcasts on April 1 were dedicated to the memory of Tapout clothing co-founder Charles "Mask" Lewis, including a touching vignette and a camera shot of an empty seat at cageside that was situated between Lewis’ cohorts “Punkass” and “Skyscrape.”
Editor's Note: This article was corrected on April 13 with new information. It was incorrectly reported that Jensen had tested positive for Adderall in a pre-fight test. Jensen had disclosed the information on a pre-fight form.