Sanchez survives Kampmann beating
A battered and bloodied Diego Sanchez emerged victorious from his welterweight showdown against Martin Kampmann on Thursday, winning by a controversial unanimous decision.
All three judges scored the fight 29-28 for Sanchez at the KFC Yum! Centre in Kentucky, despite the former Ultimate Fighter winner suffering several severe cuts to his face during three brutal rounds of pin-point Kampmann jabs.
"I knew I caught him with some big shots, too," Sanchez said immediately after the fight. "We both got caught with some big shots."
Kampmann’s crisp striking proved the difference in the opening round, landing Sanchez on his back moments into the round with a powerful straight right.
The 28-year-old Dane repeatedly found a way through Sanchez’s guard, and Sanchez was left bleeding heavily from the mouth and nose as the fighters returned to their corners.
Sanchez continued to hustle Kampmann in the second round – trying to reduce the encounter to a scrappy slug-fest – and landed a number of impressive shots to rock the six-foot-tall Dane.
However, the American again returned to his corner in far worse shape than Kampmann – streaming blood from deep cuts below both eyes.
Sanchez edged the third round after finally completing the takedown that Kampmann had fended so well in the first two rounds, and dropped to his knees when the judges’ verdict was announced.
"I knew I would score points with that takedown," he added. "I thought I won the fight by putting [on] the pressure and controlling the end of the fight."
Kampmann appeared to hurt his right hand in the final moments of the fight – restricting his ability to throw punches with his dominant hand – but still though he had done enough to take the decision.
"I thought I won the fight," he said immediately after Sanchez was awarded the victory. "I think I won all three rounds, but definitely Diego caught me with some good shots, as well.
“But look at his face. I thought I was landing with way cleaner shots. Diego is a tough warrior, but I'm very disappointed. I thought I won the fight.
Earlier on the card, Mark Munoz produced a stunning knockout to stop C.B. Dollaway in the first round, and middleweight prospect Chris Weidman claimed a unanimous decision against Alessio Sakara on an impressive debut in the octagon.