This is a very intriguing match up, why because it highlights a age old battle that has been here since the beginning of combat. The Basics vs The Nuanced striking battle, this is a clash of styles that has existed forever and will exist forever. Ellenberger’s striking is very basic, that’s not a knock there just isn’t what some would call “fluff” in his game there’s just basic striking and fundamental footwork similar to how Jose Aldo is basic but razor, light-saber, arrow sharp in the basics. Ellenberger is razor sharp in certain things power generation the largest sticking point, however hitting and not getting hit is progressing but nowhere near Wonderboys abilities that field. Jake may not be razor sharp at everything, but he is good enough to beat Wonderboy or to force Wonderboy to make mistake and capitalize on it on the ground. Ellenberger’s ground game is top flight in the division his jiu jitsu is average for the division at purple belt but his wrestling is where he is in the top of the pack
Now for Wonderboy Thompson he is the nuanced high level striker he has gone beyond his 10,000 hours of mastery for all of his techniques that people had for years said were ineffective in live combat, you know that whole PKA knock that PKA killed American kickboxing.A big part of his game is the lead leg techniques, hook kicks side kicks (basically everything I’ve broken down on the blog) he’s a much better and I mean by light years better version of Conor Mcgregor. If he misses with the lead leg he usually counters with his hands, which have been upgraded by the RayLango camp in Long Island. He will then move off the center to a hard angle and land a kick moving even farther off of that angle until he’s practically behind his opponent.
Now the ground game the edge if you’re giving an edge to someone has to go to Jake but it could be a draw if we are looking at track records. I had better explain that last comment, alright we are talking about grappling now Wonder Boy holds a purple belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu from the Machados under his brother in-law and Renzo more recently, and a black belt in “Japanese Jiujitsu” honestly I don’t know how to rank this because I don’t know where he studied so lets call him above average purple belt. Now Ellenberg’s base is his wrestling Nebraska state wrestling champion and a 2 time NCAA All American, with a Gracie Jiujitsu purple belt. So yeah the edge goes to JAke on paper , but this is when the psyche of a fighter comes into play. Jakle has been moving back and forth between both extremes either relying on his striking in this fight or relying on his grappling in another fight and many times this has been a disastrous game plan moving him down to #9 in the division. Meanwhile Wonder Boys only lose was to the man breaker Matt Brown because to get ready for Matt’s pace Wonderboy overtrained himself and gases in the fight which is what Matt does to guys. Now Ellenberger isn’t a man breaker he’s a great grappler with a stone hands and a developing striking style thanks to Ronda Rousey’s striking coach. In his path is Wonder Boy who was a phenom kick-boxer who had been developing a ground game prior to his transition to mma, thus making him unafraid of being on his back. This usually means he really lets loose and opens up the whole box a devastating kicking techniques with little fear of the takedown because he training with Champion Chris Weidman on that exact thing. This fight could really shake up this division, will Ellenberg cement his comeback at 170 or will the sparring partner of GSP and Chris Weidman make a case to be included in the top 10 with an impressive performance and prove to be the Wonder Boy.