In a battle of contenders, two welterweights will be stepping into the Octagon Wednesday for an opportunity to climb their way to the top of the division. Jake Ellenberger, fresh off of a career jolting win, will meet veteran Ultimate Fighter season 1 winner Diego Sanchez.
A welterweight stand-out, Ellenberger is coming off a 5-fight win streak. His latest victory was an impressive first round KO of former top contender Jake Shields. Elenberger will look to execute a perfect game-plan to finish the durable Sanchez. With a wrestling advantage, Ellenberger should work to take the fight to the ground, where he can wear on Sanchez and stifle his Jiu-Jitsu. With close striking, Ellenberger can feel comfortable on the feet, but would be wise to try to impose his will in the top game.
Sanchez, a veteran of multiple weight divisions, is gunning for his 3rd straight UFC win. He recently defeated Paulo Thiago and Martin Kampmann via decision. With good take-down defense, Sanchez should look to keep the fight standing where he can utilize his lightning fast striking to work towards another victory. Although the deficit in striking is razor thin and could be argued either way, kickboxing would be the best way for Sanchez to win.
Two very technical fighters, with a past littered in exciting bouts, will throw down and offer an entertaining display on Saturday. Creative striking and solid grappling from both fighters will promise a close match wherever it may take place. But, with a clear advantage in wrestling and ever-improving hands, Ellenberger will emerge victorious. Both fighters will give it everything they have, and I would not be surprised if Sanchez wins a round and has some dominant moments.
My official prediction is Jake Ellenberger by Unanimous Decision.