Before Georges St. Pierre and Nick Diaz locked horns in the main event of the evening at UFC 158: "St. Pierre vs. Diaz" tonight (Sat., March 16, 2013) at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Carlos Condit and Johny Hendricks got together to determine the next contender to the welterweight crown St. Pierre and Diaz were fighting over.
That's because the winner was promised a title shot.
Congratulations go to Johny Hendricks then, who won what may be the new leading contender for "Fight of the Year."
The action was fast and furious right out of the gate. Hendricks made no bones about the fact that he was rushing in with his monster left hand and launching it with reckless abandon. Not only that, he was just throwing bombs from all sides and they were landing.
Condit just absorbed each shot as best he could and fired back with hard counter shots of his own.
That included a few flying knees that backed "Big Rig" off just enough for the two to reset. Hendricks landed a short takedown but got up and the two went back to battling on the feet. That didn't last long, though, as Johny worked another takedown and "The Natural Born Killer" threw a few submissions off his back.
When he wasn't landing the big left hand, Hendricks was using it to get in close and wrap around Condit for a takedown. His strength and positioning allowed him to take Carlos down at will too.
Once back on the feet, Hendricks started firing on Condit while he had him pressed against the cage only to see Condit jump an arm and work a kimura that slowed Hendricks' roll and allowed Carlos to briefly take his back and threaten from there. Nothing was going and they went back to standing and trading until Hendricks ended the round with another takedown.
AND THAT WAS JUST ROUND ONE, MANIACS!
If you thought these two would slow down in the second, you would have been wrong. Hendricks continued releasing with the left while Condit ducked back and tried hard to get proper position for a flying knee, a strike he's knocked out opponents with in the past.
"The Natural Born Killer" also continued using a kimura to defend against Hendricks onslaught as opposed to a legitimate means of finishing the fight. The takedowns kept coming, as Hendricks was 6-for-6 midway through the bout, but Condit defended each time and never took much damage while he was on his back.
In fact, he may have been busier fro there.
Once standing, Condit went back to firing flying knees with Johny catching one and driving through for yet another takedown, making him 8-for-8.
They went back to standing and if you can't see the pattern by now, there's no hope for you. None at all. Crazy exchange, left hook that may or may not have connected, flying knee, takedown, kimura to escape, lather, rinse, repeat.
In between rounds, Hendricks revealed to his corner that he injured his left hand, the same one he had been using throughout the bout to get the knockout he's become so well known for. Despite this, he came out letting it go to start the third.
But he also quickly scored yet another takedown and worked top control while Carlos stayed busy as a bee on the bottom, unloading as many punches and elbows as possible while also working that kimura. As it had done so many times already, it helped get him back to standing.
Fire, fire, fire, Hendricks takedown. Clinch, rest against the cage, double leg takedown, top control, busy hammerfists from the bottom, movement, hip scoot, reset.
Insanity at that point in the fight.
With one minute left in the unbelievable war, Hendricks earned his eleventh takedown of the fight. At that point, he appeared to simply be holding on for dear life, as evidenced by Condit's rapid fire onslaught of punches once he escaped back to his feet. Hendricks appeared hurt but survived long enough to grab Condit and take him down once more.
But of course they got back to their feet and went to the final horn letting them fly one more time.
When the scores were read, they all came down the pipe 29-28 in favor of Hendricks, who likely got there thanks to his incredible string of takedowns. Who knows. Who cares. That was awesome.
For complete UFC 158 results and blow-by-blow coverage of all the night's action click here.