Jake Ellenberger: Capable of Brutal Brilliance
Jake Ellenberger entered his UFC 201 fight with Matt Brown on the back of just one win in his last six fights. Though he had previously been a feared contender, ‘The Juggernaut’s poor recent form meant that most agreed that he was the definitive underdog against the revered brawler Brown. Some even sympathised with the harsh matchup for Ellenberger, especially considering that his UFC contract likely rested on the fight’s result. In fact, Ellenberger was supposed to be released after his last loss against Tarec Saffiedine but incredibly saved his job by personally convincing Dana White to give him one more fight. Unfortunately, that fight would be against Matt Brown.
On fight night though, Ellenberger rendered all of Brown’s known grit and toughness almost irrelevant immediately, shockingly dropping him just moments into the fight with a hard right hand. Brown was as resilient as ever though and fought to his feet before quickly attempting to mount some offence of his own. It would be brief though as Ellenberger closed the show with a violent liver kick. After the toughest run of form in his career, Jake Ellenberger had suddenly re-emerged in a way not only reminiscent of some of his prior victories but a fashion even more impressive than them. Ellenberger had stopped a veteran that had never been stopped before, and all in 106 seconds.
The truth is though, as shocking as it seemed in that stunning moment, it was really just another reminder of what Ellenberger is capable of on his best night. It was in July 2013 that Ellenberger’s bad form began when he lost a lacklustre decision to Rory MacDonald. It’s easy to forget though that Ellenberger entered that fight with an excellent UFC record of 8-2 and had most recently vanquished Nate Marquadt in devastating fashion. If Ellenberger had beaten MacDonald that night, it’s likely that he would’ve received a title shot, it simply wasn’t meant to be though and ‘The Juggernaut’ just didn’t seem himself. That theme would continue too as Ellenberger was finished by both Robbie Lawler and Kelvin Gastelum in his next two fights.
Ellenberger would rebound in February 2015, submitting an equally struggling Josh Koscheck to get back in the win column. However, Ellenberger’s career revival would be short-lived as he was next knocked out by Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson. It was in many ways the start of Thompson’s huge wave of momentum that he carried into his recent UFC 205 title fight. What many don’t remember about that sublime Thompson finish though was that Ellenberger actually found a home for his dangerous right hand early and even dropped Thompson with it. Though it would eventually have no impact on the fight’s result, Ellenberger showed in that instant that he was still very capable of hurting any 170lbs fighter in the world, even one as talented as ‘Wonderboy’.
It was this most recent Brown fight that best showed that though, with tons of pressure on his shoulders Elllenberger delivered in a brutal and brilliant way. This Saturday night we find out if it was just a one off rebound performance or if Ellenberger is now on track to once again become a top Welterweight contender as he takes on the highly regarded Jorge Masvidal. It’s a tough fight on paper but so was the Matt Brown one and on that night Ellenberger suddenly seemed to thrive under the very real pressure that he was put under. Though the stakes might not be quite as high this time around, the potential rewards are undeniable and a win could potentially reposition him in the UFC’s top 10. Either way, Ellenberger will always pose a threat just based on his fearsome punching power and that isn’t likely to change anytime soon.
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Image courtesy of fansided.com