UFC 158 was headlined by Georges St. Pierre’s successful welterweight title defense against Nick Diaz. Let’s take a look at the fighters who came out of the Bell Center with the biggest wins, biggest statements, and anything else they may have swiped on their way out of Montreal with my Post-fight Recap: UFC 158 Edition.
The Canadians Win At Home
It was a good night for Canadians at UFC 158 (minus Nick Ring). George St. Pierre’s ninth straight title defense went exactly as we all thought it would. Even though there were times as the fight went on where Georges couldn’t land his takedowns, and ate some combos that shook him up a little bit, GSP threw another five rounds on the pile after fighting Nick Diaz, leaving- or staying in, Montreal on the high road, avoiding the effects of Diaz’s potent trash talk both pre-fight and in the cage. Next up for St. Pierre is most likely Johny Hendricks. The only fight I’d like to see more for GSP would be that ole’ super fight that we gave up on with Anderson Silva.
Along with St. Pierre, fellow Tristar fighters Mike Ricci and John Makdessi took home decisions in their fights at 158, as did fellow Canadian Patrick ‘The Predator’ Cote. Jordan Mein was the one Canadian to get a finish, as he picked apart Dan Miller and got the TKO on him at the 4:42 mark of the first round of his UFC debut. Mein seems smart in the way that he goes at just the right intensity when opportunities arise in the fight, and is joining a packed welterweight division with his victorious octagon debut. Patrick Cote might be a good next fight, and would be a good test for the up and coming Meins.
Retired…again, and then back from retirement…again.
It must be tough for Joe Rogan to have to thank fighters for their careers so often just to see the same guys keep retiring. Nick Diaz lost his fight, and decided that he doesn’t like fighting anymore, again. Too many wolf tickets were sold off of his blood, and sweat, and too many judges were biased towards him personally, and too many horns tried to stop him from smacking George St. Pierre. If this really was the last time we’d seen Nick, he had a great career and was a hell of a fighter.
Diaz shows up at the press conference with some breaking news: He thinks he can beat GSP. The post-epiphany Nick Diaz is a lot more calm about the fight game. No offense to Georges, but Nick doesn’t think he hits hard. Whatever, he did his thing, he held him down, and won, but if this was in Pride, it would have been a whole different story, according to Diaz. I can understand Nick wanting to retire, and I can also understand him not understanding his own inner need to keep training and fighting. He said he was depressed when he didn’t have a fight, and was mad because Cesar and everybody knew he was getting the title fight and didn’t tell him quick enough. While he’s here, he’d also like a rematch with Carlos.
Hell and Back.
Johny Hendricks, Carlos Condit. What. A. Fight. This fight was equally as good as Hendo/Shogun, in my opinion. It has to at least be considered the 2nd best. I recently watched every fight on the UFC Ultimate 100 fights, and Condit vs Hendricks would do to those fights what Bigfoot Silva did to Alistair Overeem. Hendricks was going for the finish within the first 12 seconds. Every time they got up against the fence Condit threw flying knees. At the close of the first round, Condit rocked Hendricks and then Hendricks came back with even more fire power in his attempts. These guys both have knockout power and were both landing hard shots throughout the entire fight. Carlos Condit did more from the bottom than most guys do in tko victories. This was mixed martial arts in it’s true form at its highest level. I actually had Condit winning the fight, because of the diversity and accuracy of his striking, and his ability to get out from underneath Hendricks and his wrestling. You don’t often hear about good hammerfists from the bottom. Hendricks claims to have wrestling better than GSP, which is at least in the realm of possibility, and Condit was either back up or doing damage when he got taken down. I wouldn’t have been surprised if this one went to a draw, and if someone asked me what a 10-10 round would look like, I would refer them to this fight. These two were trying to finish from horn to horn, and deserved the standing ovation they earned in Montreal, and their ‘fight-of-the-night’ bonus several times over.
Return of the Juggernaut
Jake Ellenberger earned his nickname of ‘The Juggernaut’, not only because he finished Nate Marquardt, but also because right when the fight started, he landed a leg kick that spun Marquardt around. When Nate responded with a leg kick of his own, he himself was sent backwards to the mat. It was like he bounced off of Ellenberger’s leg. Ellenberger weathered a swarm from Marquardt, and landed a left hook in response. They traded leg kicks and outside shots for about three minutes, with Ellenberger gaining more and more, seemingly unstoppable, momentum. Finally, with 2:04 left in the first, Ellenberger pounced and shut the light’s out on Nate Marquardt, who was surprisingly agressive towards the ref in his post-cryosleep objection to the stoppage. Ellenberger can easily now claim to be the number 3 welterweight in the word, behind only St. Pierre and Hendricks. His next fight will most likely be a number-one contender fight, and although some people get psychotic about these things, I’d like to see Ellenberger face Rory MacDonald next.
Team Alpha Bang
T.J. Dillashaw knocked out Issei Tamura in the second round of their UFC 158 prelim fight, and Dillashaw gave all the credit to Team Alpha Male’s head coach, Duane ‘Bang’ Ludwig. Dillashaw said that Ludwig was working as hard on his coaching as he was on training, and it showed. Dillashaw should get a top 10 opponent for his next outing, and I’m interesting in seeing how much better Dillashaw gets as his the training under Ludwig continues.
Safety First, Then Teamwork
Thanks to Yves Lavigne, the only unnecessary damage sustained by Antonio Carvalho was to his record. I appreciate Yves Lavigne as an official and the mentality he has about not letting guys take too many shots. It is certainly better in the long run for our sport than the refs who are trying to talk politics with fighters while they are literally getting the beating of their life. That being said, another thing Yves Lavigne could do on top of that is get the call right. I will always be critical of referees who get it wrong, no matter how close to almost not being wrong they come. Antonio Carvalho goes home safe, that’s great, that’s the first job, but not the only one, of the referees. The second-most important thing after not stopping it too late is not stopping it to early. I tweeted this right after the fight when everyone was saying he was rocked and he was stumbling: This wasn’t a case where he was about to take a lot more damage repeatedly.
Dana White said after the fight that Yves had already made up his mind to stop the fight and by the time he did, Carvalho was back. Well, unmake up your mind. Jump in, jump out, use your brain. I’m not saying it isn’t difficult, but that is the nature of your job. The people in the cage should be there because they are particularly good at being a referee, and this isn’t the first time Yves Lavigne has made a bad call. Give the referees PED’s if you have to, or some Alpha Brain and Red Bull. Maybe they should be the ones in training camp prior to the fight.
UFC 158′s welterweight triple header delivered , with the nights three biggest winners leaving with the top three spots in the division. There are plenty of killers and ‘hitters’ in the 170-pound division, we ought to do this again sometime.