Jake Ellenberger is used to being dominant on the ground, but in the first round of his fight with Carlos Eduardo Rocha it was he who was getting dominated.
Rocha clearly had little interest in trying to stand with Ellenberger and was looking to take the fight to the floor early on. When the opportunity arose he seized the opportunity and began to showcase a very slick and impressive Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu technique.
He spent much of the round staying busy from top control, and produced some beautiful transitions as he worked for a range of submissions from a kimura to an americana, but Ellenberger survived and took the fight to a second round.
For much of the second round Ellenberger wisely chose to keep the fight standing as he tried to gain a foothold in the fight.
He had some success with his punches, while Rocha was throwing more eye-catching techniques such as spinning kicks and even a flying knee, but with little actual contact being made. A takedown late in the round appeared to secure the round in Ellenberger’s favor, though Rocha looked dangerous from his back, and may have threatened with a triangle if there had been more time left.
Much of the third was also spent on the feet with Rocha landing a solid head kick that left Ellenberger damaged below his left eye. He responded well though, landing a few punches of his own in return and then crucially secured another late takedown.
It was a close fight but it looked like Ellenberger had done just enough with his well timed takedowns to steal it, and indeed that proved to be the case. It was not definitive though, with the judges awarding him the win by split decision (29-28 x2, 27-30).