Sometimes welterweight contender Martin Kampmann came into his UFC 139 fight with Rick Story desperately needing a win to get back on track. It wasn't easy and it was very close but in the end the thing that matters is that Kampmann got the win and Story took the loss. MMA is like that: binary, either/or. Someone wins and someone loses. On Saturday night, Kampmann won.
Kampmann came out on the wrong end of the judges' decision in his last two fights. Losing a unanimous decision to Diego Sanchez that was much closer than the score cards indicated. The split decision loss he took to Jake Shields at UFC 121 last October was a much more definitive loss than the Sanchez fight.
But this time Kampmann, a pale, bald-headed Dane who trains in Las Vegas, not only scraped by with a close decision, he won a clear moral victory. By the end of the fight there was no doubt who was the better man, even if the score cards were clouded by Story's early blitz.
Kampmann rode out the early charge from the dangerous Story, hung on and then began to score with smooth, straight right hands of his own. Once Story was hurt and worn down, Kampmann, a kickboxer originally, started using his surprising wrestling skill to take Story down repeatedly. Nothing shows dominance like taking it to an opponent in the very area of his strength is the ne plus ultra of utter dominance -- well as close as you can get without getting a finish.
For Story this is a major set back. A few months back he was riding a 6-0 winning streak in the UFC and talk of a title shot was in the air. Now he's lost 2 straight and needs to regroup, rebuild and regain his confidence and top form.