Martin Kampmann and Rick Story did something of a role reversal tonight at UFC 139 as Kampmann impressed with his wrestling abilities en-route to victory, while Story found some success going toe-to-toe with ‘The Hitman’.
Dispensing with his wrestling background, Story looked to battle muay thai specialist Kampmann on the feet in the opening round and was doing a pretty good job of it.
In trademark fashion Story came straight forward with strikes in the opening stages and that direct and scrappy approach appeared to throw Kampmann off his own game and lead to him eating several big shots against the cage, including a hard elbow which opened up a cut above his right eye.
Story continued to deliver good, hard shots and was working nicely to the body as well, but as the round progressed Kampmann began to find his own range and timing and a similar cut to his own on Story’s face showed he was having some success.
Significantly Kampmann also managed to stuff Story’s only takedown attempt of the round, though given his success in the first round that wasn’t neccessarily a major concern for the wrestler at this stage.
Onto round two and again the two went to war on the feet. Story was clearly less technical and somewhat wild with his offense, though he continued to execute body shots with precision and power.
Kampmann definitely appeared to have adjusted to Story’s style though and was showing good head movement and cleaner strikes.
This was a very close fight though and Kampmann wisely looked to other avenues to catch the judges eyes and did well to catch the wrestler by surprise by taking him down via a trip and securing the position while spending much of the rest of the round looking unsuccessfully for an arm triangle.
Round three turned into a battle of the takedowns and despite Story being the credentialed wrestler of the two it was Kampmann who was getting the better of it.
In total he was successful with around four attempts while Story managed a couple of his own, though neither man was able to hold the other down for long until the final moments when Kampmann had Story’s back and went looking for a rear-naked choke.
He wasn’t able to secure it before the bell sounded though and so the fight headed to a decision.
It looked like Kampmann had this one in the bag with his impressive wrestling display, and he did get the nod, but it was a little closer than he might have liked with one judge scoring it in Story’s favor (29-28, 30-27, 28-29).
It was a win nonetheless for ‘The Hitman’, and a big one at that given how highly regarded a wrestler Rick Story is.