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UFC 126: Ellenberger escapes Rocha

Carlos Eduardo Rocha, right, lands a kick to

Carlos Eduardo Rocha, right, lands a kick to the head of Jake Ellenberger during the third round of a welterweight fight at UFC 126 in Las Vegas. Ellenberger won by split decision. (Feb. 5, 2011) Credit: AP

Welterweight Jake Ellenberger was slated to fight to Jon Fitch last March in New Jersey. But after Thiago Alves failed his physical, Ben Saunders moved up to fight Fitch. Ellenberger went home with two paychecks and no fight.

He was poised to fight a top contender, and then 11 months later, there was Ellenberger struggling against relative newcomer Carlos Eduardo Rocha at UFC 126 in Las Vegas.

Ellenberger was manhandled on the ground in the first round, fought off several submission attempts by the Brazilian Jiu-JItsu black belt and then rallied in the last two rounds to win the split decision. One judge scored it 30-27 for Rocha (9-1), and the other two scored it 29-28 for Ellenberger (24-5).

Watch UFC 126 live post-fight press conference at 1 a.m.

New York Sports