There were slick submission finishes, brutal knockouts, all out wars, and the crowning of three new Ultimate Fighter winners in Mike Chiesa, Rony Jason, and Cezar Mutante.
The past month has been unforgettable, but as MMA fans we are always looking forward to the next event – we rarely take time to appreciate the great moments that have passed us by. Before shutting the door on June for good, take a moment to look back and give credit to the best of the month that was.
Fighter of the Month – Martin Kampmann
Martin “The Hitman” Kampmann picked up the biggest win of his MMA career when he defeated Jake “The Juggernaut” Ellenberger in the main event at The Ultimate Fighter: Live Finale. Kampmann landed a flurry of thunderous knees to the chin of Ellenberger at the 1:40 mark of the second round that forced referee Steve Mazzagatti to call a stop to the contest. Kampmann has received a lot of flack throughout his UFC career for crumbling after being hurt with big strikes, but this time he kept his composure after a first round flurry from Ellenberger to come from behind and score the knockout in the second round. With the win, Kampmann cements a spot in the top-5 of the welterweight ranks and earned his third straight victory for the first time since his nine-fight win streak from 2005-2008.
Honorable Mention – Rich Franklin
Fight of the Month – Eddie Wineland vs. Scott Jorgensen at UFC on FX 3
Former WEC champion Eddie Wineland earned his first career UFC victory with a brutal second round knockout of Scott Jorgensen at UFC on FX 3. Wineland found a home for his big right hand over and over throughout the course the fight until the fight-ending blow eventually landed. It was clear from the outset Wineland owned an advantage in the stand up department, and once Jorgensen decided to engage in a striking battle, it was just a matter of time until the fight was over. Wineland became the first man to finish Jorgensen in the 18-fight career of “Young Guns”, and earned the biggest win of his mixed martial arts career in the process. Coming into the bout, many felt Wineland would struggle with the style of Jorgensen after losses to Urijah Faber and Joseph Benavidez. However, the Indiana native proved all those doubters wrong by never allowing Jorgensen to control the pace of the bout as he picked up a highlight reel knockout in scintillating fashion.
Honorable Mention – Rich Franklin vs. Wanderlei Silva at UFC 147
Knockout of the Month – Justin Lawrence def. John Cofer via Knockout (Head kick) – R3 (0:19) at The Ultimate Fighter: Live Finale
Justin Lawrence landed one of the nastiest head kick knockouts of the year on John Cofer’s chin in the opening fight of the The Ultimate Fighter: Live Finale main card. Lawrence performance wasn’t particularly dominant, but the finish is what people remember from the fight, and in the end, that’s all that really matters. Lawrence was touted as a highly skilled striker throughout his season of The Ultimate Fighter; he lived up to the hype with the brutal knockout that earned the 22-year-old a total of $80,000 for Fight of the Night and Knockout of the Night.
Honorable Mention – Mike Pyle def. Josh Neer via Knockout (Punch) – R1 (4:56) at UFC on FX 3
Submission of the Month – Mike Chiesa def. Al Iaquinta via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) – R1 (2:37) at The Ultimate Fighter: Live Finale
Chiesa’s incredible journey over the course of The Ultimate Fighter: Live came to a storybook conclusion when he submitted Al Iaquinta in the first round with a rear-naked choke. Fighting through the show with the death of his father fresh on his mind, Chiesa proved to be an inspiration to all with his tremendous run over the 13-week show. Chiesa’s amazing run of five victories in just over three months is something no fighter in UFC or TUF history has done before and the 24-year-old will forever hold a place in the record books because of it. The rear-naked choke isn’t an uncommon finish by any means, however it was the circumstances surrounding the victory that earns Chiesa honor of “Submission of the Month”.
Honorable Mention – Dan Miller def. Ricardo Funch via Submission (Guillotine Choke) – R3 (3:12) at UFC on FX 4