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Martin Kampmann fired up for UFC 139

Las Vegas local meets Rick Story after eight-month layoff

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Sam Morris

Martin Kampmann takes a breather while working out at Xtreme Couture Gym in preparation for an upcoming fight at UFC 115 Friday, June 4, 2010.

UFC welterweight Martin Kampmann suffered a defeat he can’t quite get over the last time he appeared in the octagon.

It wasn’t anything Diego Sanchez did in the UFC on Versus 3 main event against him that made the bout so hard to forget. It was more what Sanchez didn’t do.

Kampmann, a Las Vegas-based fighter who trains at Xtreme Couture, felt he dominated the fight and made Sanchez’s face into a punching bag. More than eight months later, Kampmann still can’t figure out how the judges awarded a unanimous decision to Sanchez.

“I beat him up,” Kampmann said. “It’s a loss on my record, but I didn’t feel like it was a loss in the fight. He knows he got beat and he’s got the scars to prove it.”

Before the loss to Sanchez, Kampmann also dropped a razor-thin split decision defeat to Jake Shields at UFC 121. Kampmann (17-5 MMA, 8-4 UFC) enters his UFC 139 main card bout against Rick Story (13-4 MMA, 6-2 UFC) Saturday in San Jose, Calif., riding the first two-fight losing streak of his career.

Speculating on what could have been with different judges or just a few minor adjustments only serves to frustrate Kampmann.

“I know I’m a better fighter than both of those guys,” Kampmann said. “I’m sick and tired of going to the judges’ decision. I don’t want them to have a say in it. I’m looking to finish Rick Story. I don’t care how.”

Story isn’t riding a wave of momentum into UFC 139, either. Story dropped a unanimous decision to Charlie Brenneman his last time out to mark his first loss in nearly two years.

Brenneman, a last minute replacement for Nate Marquardt, caught Story off guard by out-wrestling him for the duration of the match.

“This is a setback, but I’ve got to go back and train my heart out,” Story said after the loss. “I’ve got to train and come in well-rounded for all fights and prepared for everything.”

Story trained for more of a kickboxing match at the time and felt more confident than ever in his Muay Thai game. If he’s still eager to test it out, Story will have his chance against Kampmann.

Striking is Kampmann’s specialty. The 29-year old Denmark native would love to stand and exchange with Story, but isn’t sold on that happening.

“He’s a wrestler by heart, so I think that’s what he’s going to try to do,” Kampmann said. “He’s going to try to take me down, but I’m prepared for that. I’m prepared for everything he’s bringing to the fight.”

Assuming Kampmann is disgruntled about having to face another wrestler after the Sanchez debacle would be inaccurate.

He said he had worked on and found confidence with his own wrestling. It’s not the fighters who try to wrestle that irk Kampmann. It’s the judges who overvalue it.

“They favor wrestlers way too much,” Kampmann said. “You can hit a guy in the face, hit him the head 10 or 20 times and he takes you down, then he wins the round even if he has a cracked eyebrow and is just trying to hug the other guy.”

Kampmann felt sympathetic for his opponent when he re-visited Story’s loss to Brenneman. Kampmann believed Story could have beaten up Brenneman if he didn’t get “stuck on the bottom”.

But Kampmann knew Brenneman deserved the decision victory. That’s more than he can say about his meeting with Sanchez.

“I can only look forward to hopefully having that opportunity to fight Diego again,” Kampmann said. “I’ll beat him up one more time and finish it, so this time it won’t go to the judges.”

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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