UFC 158 is over and done. The hype machine that is UFC marketing promised us an angry Georges St-Pierre determined to do whatever necessary to defeat the trash peddling adversary. That didn't mean much as we saw GSP do what GSP does, and Johny Hendricks powered his way through a broken hand to cement a hard fought victory over Carlos Condit. Knockout of the Night honors went to Jake Ellenberger for his first round waxing of Nate Marquardt.
The undercard saw two hard fought but sloppy fights in Chris Camozzi's victory over Nick Ring and Mike Ricci's solid win over Colin "Freakshow" Fletcher. Here's the breakdown.
Colin Fletcher vs. Mike Ricci (2.5 stars)
This was a fairly slow fight between two opponents who look like they will have tremendous difficulty facing tougher competition without better training. Neither seemed capable of finishing the other with Ricci confidently working some soft ground and pound and Fletcher going for a few half-hearted submissions. On the feet, Ricci was able to quickly find the range of Fletcher's kicks and stayed in and out well enough to bloody Fletcher's face. Both fighters have potential but need serious development.
Winner: Mike Ricci by unanimous decision
Nick Ring vs. Chris Camozzi (2 stars)
Normally a fighter attempts to protect his chin as it's usually the one bond between the flesh and the spirit of consciousness. Not Nick Ring. He spent a good portion of his battle against Chris Camozzi walking back and forth with his hands down as though he ate too much chili and went jogging before the fight. Camozzi was winded about halfway into the second round and the fight slowly devolved into a guy slowly throwing punches while his competitor slowly strolled around them looking for the closest place to sit.
Winner: Chris Camozzi by split decision
Nate Marquardt vs. Jake Ellenberger (3.5 stars)
Nate Marquardt is another UFC guy gone Strikeforce gone UFC guy again. Marquardt spent about two minutes of the first round backed against the cage attempting to dodge the inevitable. He almost landed a few shots of his own, but ultimately Ellenberger floored him with a pair of hooks like he pulled out some diamond earrings. Marquardt went down Ellenberger pounced on top, connecting with a punch so hard it literally made Marquardt's unconscious body flop across the mat and smack against the side of the cage. I've seen a man beat a baby shark to death on a pier that looked a lot like this beatdown.
Of course, Marquardt was all "WHAT THE FUCK" when he woke up.
Winner: Jake Ellenberger by KO at 3:00 into round 1.
Carlos Condit vs Johny Hendricks (4 stars)
Going into this fight, I said that the winner would amount to who came in with the better gameplan. According to Condit, he trained to keep Hendricks from coming forward, a strategy that even on paper had to sound pretty horrible against a guy nicknamed after a transfer truck.
Throughout the fight, Condit landed a number of heavy shots including multiple leg and body kicks, a front flip kick, and a couple of jumping knees. He clearly stunned Hendricks a couple of times, but his beard absorbed the brunt of the damage. As the fight went on, Condit began landing more shots with higher accuracy. At several points he seemed on the verge of knocking out Hendricks but was unable to finish.
Hendricks, however, landed some heavy lefts early in the first that wobbled his opponent. He outstruck his opponent in a closely fought competition for the better part of two rounds, and he mixed up enough of his wrestling expertise to keep Condit on his back and guessing. While on the ground, Condit seemed to be getting the better of the exchanges. Hendricks seemed to realize this and became confident with taking Condit down at will, even slamming him once. Hendricks fractured one of his knuckles during an exchange near the end of the first and lost some power on his punches, but he was still too much for his opponent.
This fight further showed us that Condit has a strong chin and dishes out one of the best mixtures of striking in MMA. It also reconfirmed that he has difficulty against strong wrestlers. Hendricks has great strength, the conditioning to go five rounds, and the ability to withstand some nasty punches. When healthy again he should be the best competition for the title in years.
Winner: Johny Hendricks by unanimous decision
GSP vs Diaz (2.5 stars)
If you haven't seen the press conference for UFC 158, here's the link. It's mostly thirty minutes of Nick Diaz rambling about everything and nothing. Rough Copy superfriend Freddy offers these notes describing the event.
- 1. Diaz actually showed up.
- 2. Diaz obviously didn't want to be there.
- 3. Diaz didn't want to be there.
- 4. Diaz basically accused GSP of steroid use.
- 5. Diaz promoted the sale of Wolf Tickets by the UFC (sales have sky rocketed).
- 6. Diaz had friends that were shot.
- 7. Diaz had more friends that were shot.
- 8. Diaz had a gun aimed to his head at some point in his youth.
- 9. Dana felt awkward and probably sorry for Diaz.
- 10. Diaz knows how to make a room full of people feel awkward.
Additionally, at one point, Diaz says that the points system in MMA unfairly skewed towards wrestlers because fighters like GSP tend to lay on top of guys and throw short elbows that do little damage but technically count as action. You can actually see GSP smiling and nodding at this. I don't proclaim to know what goes on in his mind, but given that the fight consisted of five rounds of him doing exactly that, I just assume he was silently agreeing.
Diaz was exposed as a weak competitor against the champion and a number of other surging welterweights. Though he picked up steam and began stuffing takedowns later in the fight, Diaz spent over half of the fight on his back unable to even attempt submissions. GSP used this to his advantage later in the fight as he landed crisp jabs against Diaz. He outscored Diaz on the ground and on the feet for five rounds and got the easy win. Diaz threatened to retire again while the crowd booed at the one of the most obvious displays of being a poopyhead ever.
Winner: Georges St-Pierre by unanimous decision