UFC on Fuel TV 1: Diego Sanchez v Jake Ellenberger preview

Rob Nash looks ahead to the UFC welterweight bout between Jake Ellenberger and Diego Sanchez on Wednesday

By Rob Nash

The UFC debuts on Fuel TV on Wednesday in Omaha, Nebraska – and the event will be headlined by two very experienced and ambitious welterweights.

Jake ‘The Juggernaut’ Ellenberger

Ellenberger is a very strong, well-rounded fighter with heavy power in his hands. The 26-year-old is a rising star who has fought some of the best competitors, including Mike Pyle, Sean Person and he lost a closely-contested fight against Carlos Condit – a bout that many believed he had won.

But it was really his victory over Jake Shields back in September that catapulted him into the top five of the division. Shields had just fought for the title against Georges St. Pierre for a full five rounds and before that was undefeated six years, and as a result he was a huge favourite.

It took Ellenberger, nicknamed the juggernaut, just 53 seconds to unload a thundering knee followed by some electric punches to knock Shield unconscious, earning him the knock-out of the night bonus.

The Omaha fighter would love nothing more than to get a rematch against the newly-crowned interim-welterweight champion Condit – but he must first get passed an equally hungry fighter in Diego Sanchez.

Diego ‘The Dream’ Sanchez

The 30-year-old is one of the most exciting and seasoned fighters in the sport, with his main strength being his outstanding cardio. Sanchez never gets tired in the octagon and can push the tempo like no other, making him a fan favourite in most of his fights.

Despite his relatively young age, Sanchez has the advantage of been one of the most experienced fighters in the UFC, having first competed back in 2005 when he won The Ultimate Fighter season 1, and he racked up an impressive 17-fight winning streak, which included victories over Clay Guida, Nick Diaz and Kenny Florian.

Since his return to the welterweight division, he is two-and-one – and in his last two victories against Paulo Thiago and Martin Kampmann, he put on a thrilling show for the fans. It looks as though the old Sanchez is back.

It’s been a difficult road for the UFC veteran, once known as ‘the nightmare’ who has since re-branded himself as ‘the dream’ – and he is motivated to become the feared fighter he once was. To fulfil this ambition, he will look to end the dream of ‘the juggernaut’.

The verdict

Ellenberger and Sanchez have been around a long time. They are coming off great wins over top 10 opponents and will stop at nothing to prove themselves as the very best in the welterweight division.

Ellenberger has the advantage in the striking and grappling, while Sanchez is more experienced in the level of completion that he has faced and has much better cardio.

Although it will be a close fight, Ellenberger is on a different level and, if he is able to deal with the constant pressure of Sanchez, he will leave the cage with his hand raised.

The winner is expected to be next in line to take on the victor of the Georges St. Pierre and Carlos Condit fight.

Other fights on the card

Heavyweight bout: Stefan Struve vs Dave Herman

Middleweight bout: Aaron Simpson vs. Ronny Markes

Heavyweight bout: Stipe Miocic vs. Philip De Fries

Bantamweight bout: TJ Dillashaw vs. Walel Watson

Bantamweight bout: Ivan Menjivar vs John Albert

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