When we last saw the UFC roster it appeared to be on an international mission of fighter osmosis, seeping in to international markets to grab unsigned talent, where ever it might be found. But, sometimes, when searching for fighters, there's no better place to look than right under your nose. Such appears to be the case with the signing of Joe Ellenberger, brother to top ten welterweight Jake Ellenberger and a 14-1 lightweight. Joe announced his UFC signing via twitter on Monday:
Joe Ellenberger @JoeEllenberger
Signed 4 fight deal. Can't wait to show the world! Thanks @ufc I won't let you down @EllenbergerMMA @AdamEllenberger
5:10 PM - 6 Jan 2014
While it's easy to assume that, with only 15 fights to his name, and a much slower career path Joe Ellenberger is younger than Jake, they are in fact fraternal twins (they don't look the same). Joe, a product of the Premier Combat Center (Jake's prior gym) in Omaha Nebraska, will enter the octagon at 28 years of age. He trains along side notable TUF tryout Dakota Cochrane and former Strikeforce fighter Alonzo Martinez and has defeated a mishmash of journeymen and regional cans. HIs best opponent to date has been current UFC lightweight Justin Salas, who defeated Ellenberger by decision. But, while his opponents may be a bit underwhelming, he has recorded 8 first round knockouts along with four submissions. At the very least he's dominating fighters he should dominate.
Like his brother, Ellenberger's striking consists mostly of single power punches. He throws hard, and with accuracy, but often with a lot of tell and only a little technique. He's much better suited as a counter striker, where his opponents have less of a chance to react to his movement. Also like his brother, Ellenberger possesses a really fantastic wrestling game. It may be a bit less powerful than Jake's, but he makes up for it with a diversity of technique, moving seamlessly between shots, trips and slams as needed. His top control isn't that heavy, but his ground and pound swings nicely between light, pitter-pat punches and brutal full body strikes. He even hunts for submissions when the opportunity strikes, making him a very well rounded, diverse threat in the cage. Finally, of note in his striking, he consistently throws one of the most awkward head kicks I've seen from a fighter. I can only assume he'll KO someone with it sometime, and it will be pretty entertaining when he does.
As a side note, apparently Joe suffers from an incredibly rare form of bone marrow disease called paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria, for which he receives treatment every two weeks. It doesn't appear to be affecting his career as a pro-athlete, but it's a pretty remarkable side note for someone who makes their living as a fighter.