Ten Thoughts on UFC 158 (Georges St. Pierre vs. Nick Diaz)

10 Thoughts on UFC 158

We just saw a great night of fights at UFC 158, capped by yet another dominating performance by Georges St. Pierre.  There was plenty of action and a few controversies as well, and a fight destined to become a classic in UFC lore – and all of this before the main event.

1. Georges St. Pierre needs to fight Anderson Silva.

Now. He’s going to beat everyone in the welterweight division. It’s not even a question. Carlos Condit put him down for a brief moment, but other than a scary moment or two, GSP hasn’t been seriously challenged since coming back from his knee surgery, and he was dominating left and right before the injury. After Round 1 against Diaz and the beginning of Round 2, the collective MMA world probably had the same thought: here we go again. GSP can always rely on his other-worldly top control to win fights. Just watching the seconds tick by in every round, it never seemed like the outcome of this fight was ever in question, except for a few brief flashes. That wouldn’t be true against Anderson Silva. Silva would be a true test, someone who could finish him at any time during the fight.

2. Nick Diaz was…Nick Diaz.

Taking a swing after the bell. Talking smack. Pushing a fast pace. Talking more smack. Thanking people and shaking hands. Hinting at retirement in the cage post-fight, yet again. Tossing in some slights and insults mixed with compliments. Nick Diaz is one of the most polarizing fighters in MMA and the sport needs guys like him. That said, I wouldn’t be surprised if the UFC cut him. The big money fight is over and while there are amazing match-ups still to be made, the headache may be worth more than the reward. Wherever Diaz goes, he’s got too much skill, talent, heart and drive to not compete in something. And judging from pros tweeting after the fight, he’s got a hell of a lot of fans. Fight on Nick Diaz, fight on!

3. Nick Diaz was prophetic in his pre-fight comments about guys holding on to win fights…for Carlos Condit and Johny Hendricks too.

Condit won a lot of praise for his efforts in his fight with Hendricks. He ate the best that Hendricks could throw at him and pressed on. As the fight progressed, it seemed Hendricks was less willing to engage in striking and turned to his strong wrestling to dictate the fight. Condit started to find his groove, but whenever he started throwing combinations, Hendricks took him down. That was a huge reason Condit lost this fight and the last. Rogan asked him about going to Rounds 3 and 4 and I would have to think that Condit would have won this fight if it continued. Diaz’ comments rang true.

4. Carlos Condit lost the fight…but won a moral battle.

I don’t think Condit’s chin can ever be questioned. If ever a guy could finish Condit, it would have been Hendricks and he landed that dreaded left a few times, but Condit shook them off. He deserves a lot of credit for being willing to stand and trade with Hendricks. Most guys, probably including GSP, would want no part of that. Condit pressed the action with his arsenal of strikes, but couldn’t prevent Bigg Rigg from taking him down, although he always managed to get back to his feet. Just listen to the crowd reaction post-fight to Hendricks and Condit. It was night and day. For Condit, who lost a tough decision, that’s got to count for something.

5. Johny Hendricks is a tough out.

He injured his hand during the fight, but kept throwing with bad intentions. His takedowns of Condit were just as impressive as GSP’s, although his top control is nowhere near as good as the champion’s. He also ate a few big shots from Condit, but kept after it and used his powerful wrestling to stifle Condit’s rhythm and striking game. Hendricks deserved a title shot before the Condit fight and now, unless Dana White changes his mind (that would be a shocker), he’s got it.

6. Jake Ellenberger is not to be slept on.

He went after Marquardt and lived up to his nickname. Ellenberger was truly Juggernaut-ish in that finish of Nate the Great. Everyone, especially Marquardt, knew what Ellenberger’s greatest weapon was, but it didn’t matter one single bit. Jake said it himself, he can beat anyone on any given day. He backed up his words in that fight. And extra points to Ellenberger for earning the only finish on the main card.

7. The Patrick Cote decision was awful.

I could understand a 29-28 decision for Cote. I could even understand, albeit grudgingly, two 29-28 decisions for Cote. But a unanimous decision for Cote? I had Voelker winning that fight and I was absolutely shocked Cote came away not only with the decision, but a unanimous one.

8. Antonio Carvalho vs. Darren Elkins was an early stoppage, but still a good one.

Did Yves Lavigne stop that fight too soon? Yes. Was it a bad decision? Not exactly. Does anyone who watches MMA on a regular basis really think the outcome would have changed if Lavigne didn’t step in at that moment? Carvalho was out on his feet before Elkins dropped him. I think Lavigne stopped the fight a little too early. But I didn’t need to see Carvalho get flattened to know he was going to lose that fight.

9. Undercard guys are hungry. Main card guys are cautious.

Undercard fights that ended in a stoppage: 4/7. Main card: 1/5. It’s not surprising in this day and age where main card guys will play it safer to guarantee that W, while undercard guys have less to lose and more to gain by trying for highlight reel stuff. Rick Story got back to his old ways and finished Quinn Mulhern in the first round. Darren Elkins and T.J. Dillashaw also earned finishes. And of course…

10. Jordan Mein has arrived.

His performance was impressive. His finish over Dan Miller, who had never been finished before, was extremely impressive. And earning that finish in the first round was eye-poppingly impressive. Mein is another young, talented fighter to come out of Canada (who coincidentally has lost to Mike Ricci and Rory MacDonald), and he opened some eyes in his UFC debut. The welterweight division has plenty of young talent for the future.

 

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