Number 10

By: Tristen Critchfield
Oct 3, 2013
Diego Sanchez was a mess but walked away victorious. | Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images



10. Diego Sanchez vs. Martin Kampmann
UFC Live 3 “Sanchez vs. Kampmann”
March 3, 2011 | Louisville, Ky.

Sometimes, the battered visage of a mixed martial artist tells a far different tale than the official result. Following his bout against Kampmann at UFC Live 3, Sanchez’s face was a bloody, mangled mess. If an onlooker with no prior knowledge of that night’s main event happenings had been asked to compare the appearance of Sanchez with that of Kampmann, the person probably would have assumed that the Dane had won the fight. Such an assumption, while perfectly reasonable, would have been wrong.

For most of their welterweight bout, Kampmann was the more technical and effective striker. He knocked down Sanchez with a straight right hand in round one, and a barrage of crisp punches had the Albuquerque, N.M., native bleeding from the nose and mouth by round’s end. To his credit, Sanchez never stopped pressuring Kampmann. Round two was closer, as “The Ultimate Fighter 1” winner lured his adversary into a brawl and staggered him with a right hand. In the third frame, Sanchez landed his only successful takedown of the night. He attempted 15.

“I knew I would score points with that takedown,” Sanchez said. “I thought I won the fight by putting [on] the pressure and controlling the end of the fight.”

Despite his courageous effort, Sanchez landed 26 fewer significant strikes than his opponent. His wrestling had been largely stymied and, as already mentioned, his mug was nearly unrecognizable. However, Sanchez’s relentless aggression proved to be the difference, as judges Sal D’Amato, Chris Lee and William Mattingly all submitted 29-28 scorecards in favor of the Jackson’s MMA product.

“I thought I won the fight,” Kampmann said. “I think I won all three rounds, but definitely Diego caught me with some good shots, as well. But look at his face. I thought I was landing with way cleaner shots.”

Sanchez’ striking coach, Mike Winkeljohn, worried about the impact appearances might have.

“I was really worried that the judges would be influenced by the blood,” he said, “but [Diego] definitely deserves that win.”

Sanchez might have captured the decision, but plenty of other evidence indicates that Kampmann clearly won the fight.

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