Little was going right for Martin Kampmann until Thiago Alves made one vital mistake.
Kampmann was on the wrong side of a standup beating over the middle 11 minutes of the fight when he seized on the opportunity to lock on a guillotine choke to finish Alves at the 4:12 mark of the final round.
It's the second straight win for Kampmann, who's too often been on the wrong side of close decisions over the last few years. There was little doubt where this one was going with a minute left, that's why Alves' decision to shoot for a takedown was so confusing.
With 1:04 left in the fight, Alves rocked Kampmann with a straight right. The stunned Dane retreated to the cage. Alves got off a nice head kick that was partially blocked and then a combination. For some reason, he shot in for a takedown and left his head under Kampmann's left arm.
"I felt I really had to finish the fight. It wouldn't do me any good to keep it standing, so I thought I had a chance to go for the submission. I squeezed because I knew that was my window and I didn't want to miss it."
He didn't. Alves drove through the takedown. When it hit the ground, Kampmann had the choke locked on and rolled over. His topside guillotine was on tight. It took just a few seconds for Alves to tap. Alves, a striker by nature has suffered four submission losses in his career.
Kampmann (19-5, 11-4 UFC) knew he needed something dramatic.
"What are you talking about? I was doing great," joked Kampmann with UFC announcer Jon Anik. "Thiago caught me with some good shots. I'll be honest. He was gassing me out."
With a few minutes left in the fight, Alves had outlanded Kampmann 74-53.
Kampmann is a good striker, but his defense wasn't up to par against a good muay thai fighter like Alves. Frankly, the Brazilian was also better in the grappling game.
"I wanted to strike with him, but I wanted to take him down as well. He's got really good takedown defense," Kampmann said. "Usually when I get people on the fence I can get them down. He's got good defense. so I felt I was definitely behind."
This is a rough break for Alves, who's struggled for years with his weight. With the cutting issues behind him, Alves (19-9, 11-6 UFC) put together a sterling performance for nearly 14 minutes. Unfortunately, you have to finish all 15 minutes.
- Thiago Alves
- Martin Kampmann