By Marshall Art
A CLASH of top Welterweights headlines tonight's UFC on FUEL card when Jake Ellenberger (26 wins, 5 losses) clashes with Diego Sanchez (23-4).
Both have outstanding records and a victory pushes either into title contention, perhaps just one more fight from a shot at the championship.
Ellenberger is the latest in a long line of wrestlers with rapidly improving striking to breach the Welterweight top 10. He has knockout power in his hands, proving it last September when he became the first man to finish Jake Shields with strikes in a decade. This feat is just as impressive as it sounds; Shields survived an onslaught from Dan Henderson and fought back to win.
That said, I just can't back Ellenberger to win by knockout. Diego doesn't have wrestling or standup comparable to his opponents, hence his long odds, but he does have a big heart and a granite chin. I feel he should be able weather the storm but I don't see him winning, outside of a questionable judges decision.
Ellenberger by decision (5-4, Paddy Power) is the value bet.