Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012 | 8:45 p.m.
UFC fans across the country have bemoaned the lack of availability of FUEL TV on some cable networks.
Complaints will likely amplify after Wednesday night, as the inaugural UFC on FUEL card delivered a bout that will make Fight of the Year lists at the end of 2012.
Jake Ellenberger defeated Diego Sanchez by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) in Omaha, Neb., but had to survive a relentless third-round attack. Ellenberger controlled the opening two rounds of the welterweight clash, but Sanchez took the hometown fighter’s back and nearly pounded out with minutes remaining.
“Diego is known for that,” Ellenberger said in the octagon immediately after the fight. “He’s the toughest guy I’ve ever fought and he’s a true warrior. No matter what, he’s in there every minute of the fight.”
Sanchez suffered a few cuts and a possible broken nose in the opening eight minutes of the bout, but continued to charge forward. Ellenberger dropped “The Ultimate Fighter” 1 champion with a counter left hand in the first round.
He also took Sanchez down in the second, but everything changed in the third. The packed, pro-Ellenberger crowd at the Omaha Convention Center dropped their decibel-level considerably as they hoped Ellenberger would hold on for the final minute.
“I thought main events were supposed to be five (rounds),” Sanchez said afterwards. “I’m ready for some more.”
Currently, the UFC schedules five rounds for championship bouts and main events on pay-per-view or FOX. Minor cards have kept the three-round structure.
“I was hitting him with some hard shots,” Sanchez said. “I thought he was going to go out. I thought he was going to give me his back, but I didn’t get the stoppage. It didn’t go my way this time.”
With 170-pound champion Georges St. Pierre out indefinitely, Ellenberger could meet interim champion Carlos Condit next. Ellenberger has won six straight fights since losing a controversial split decision to Condit in his UFC debut three years ago.
Two heavyweights also took significant steps forward at UFC on FUEL TV 1. Stipe Miocic stayed perfect in mixed martial arts at 8-0 with a 43-second knockout of previously undefeated Philip De Fries. Stefan Struve improved to 4-1 in his last five fights by stopping Dave Herman with a TKO in the second round.
“I can still get 10 times better,” Struve said. “I’m 23-years old, turning 24 Saturday, and I hope you guys enjoy watching me for years to come.
Check below for the rest of the results from UFC on FUEL TV 1.
Ronny Markes had a successful middleweight debut. Markes defeated Aaron Simpson by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29) after weathering an early storm that saw him dropped by an uppercut from Simpson.
Bantamweight T.J. Dillashaw put on a dominant performance in his first fight since finishing as the runner up on "The Ultimate Fighter" 14. Dillashaw won a unanimous decision (30-26, 30-25, 30-25) over Walel Watson by making use of wrestling pedigree.
A wild one-round fight between bantamweights Ivan Menjivar and John Albert opened the televised portion of the card. Both fighters took turns coming close to submissions and knockouts before Menjivar finished Albert with a submission (rear naked choke) 3:45 into the bout.
"The Ultimate Fighter" 12 champion Jonathan Brookins earned his first stoppage victory in the UFC. Brookins knocked out Vagner Rocha at 1:32 of the first round, after securing a takedown and pounding away with a series of right hands from top position.
Justin Salas emerged victorious in a bout between two lightweight newcomers to the UFC. Salas scored a unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28) victory over Anton Kuivanen, with his takedowns likely serving as the difference.
Tim Means defeated Bernardo Magalhaes by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-26) in their lightweight bout. Means handed out punishment for the 15-minute duration of the fight, nearly knocking out the resilient Magalhaes at least once in every round.
Note: A scheduled middleweight bout between Sean Loeffler and Buddy Roberts was canceled. Loeffler sprained his ankle while warming up in his locker room.