I’ve written recaps for this website since UFC 152. I’ll admit there hasn’t been a more hectic and enjoyable event than this. That may surprise you because 3 of the 5 fights were pretty lackluster. It was the build-up and what transpired throughout the night that really had my eyes glued to the TV screen.
I’ll write about the usual ten reactions that transpired from UFC 158, but it will be different this time around. Everyone that follows the sport closely knows that the first two fights were pretty lackluster and weren’t PPV caliber fights. I’ll still review it, but don’t expect much about it. I’m going to get into bigger news about the Ultimate Fighter Season that will feature Ronda Rousey.
There will be moments, where stories not related to the current fights will happen. Before I get into the show, John Villarreal did send me his picks Saturday morning. We are keeping track of our overall picks from each major show. He picked Ricci, Ring, Ellenberger, Hendricks, and St. Pierre. That is an impressive 4-1, while I went 2-3 with Ring, Condit, and Marquardt being my incorrect picks.
Here are the current standings dating back to UFC 156 from Super Bowl weekend. We are both currently tied, since both of our records are at 7-8. There have been some huge upsets so far this year, but it still hurts knowing that was both under 500.
Just Another Fight For St. Pierre
It’s tough to criticize a fighter, after they win a major main event fight. Nobody can deny that Georges St. Pierre manhandled Nick Diaz for five rounds. He completely grounded him and was never truly threatened in this fight. That being said, it was really frustrating to watch St. Pierre in this bout.
He made it clear that he wanted to give Diaz the nastiest beat-down of his life. Instead, it was the same performance of grappling and rarely landing any ground-and-pound. He was effective using his signature jab, but it was another fight that you knew it was going to decision.
Sometimes you may want to temper expectations, but this wasn’t really an impressive win. Diaz is excellent in ground defense, but St. Pierre didn’t show much ambition to truly land any vicious attacks on top. Once again it was another case of him being conservative, that has clearly worked for years but everyone expected more from this fight.
Hopefully, they have him fight in Las Vegas for his next fight. He hasn’t fought outside of Canada since 2010 when he fought Dan Hardy (remember him?) in New Jersey. It seems tiresome to keep giving him the home crowd advantage, despite the fact that they usually do great business with him in Canada.
Nick “The Enigma” Diaz Is His Name
If there were anything to describe Nick Diaz, I would use the word enigma. You could call him delusional or whatever negative label you can think of, but I’ve always appreciated what Diaz has done for the sport. That being said, nobody can really defend his performance from last night.
His takedown defense was decent at times, but clearly it wasn’t good enough. The disappointing aspect of the fight was how he wasn’t taking his opportunities when the fight was in stand up. Other than the third round, he failed to land any significant damage on St. Pierre.
In my preview of this fight, I wasn’t sure if he would taunt or not because of how tough this matchup is. Of course he taunts and wastes time, which I don’t agree with but that’s the way he fights. It has to be really frustrating to be his coach during those situations. It’s been his style for years to trash talk during fights then landing accurate punches.
As for him possibly retiring again, it could very well happen. It’s a shame that he’s becoming the Brett Farve of MMA with these consecutive retirement claims. At least he didn’t make any excuses about his performance and accepted that he was clearly dominated. It’s just a shame that the buildup for this fight was so special, yet the fight fell so flat. If there was any other quote, I could use for Diaz it would be this.
For those that understand where he comes from and is outspoken, you'll love him. For those that just know him for his actions, you'll hate him. If you can’t stand his guts, you should do research on him before you truly want to label him as something extremely negative.
Hendricks Claims What’s Rightfully His
Some still say that Hendricks should have been in the main event for UFC 158. Others including myself believe that he should have faced one more top fighter before rightfully deserving a title shot. He did just that by winning an early fight of the year candidate against Carlos Condit.
Hendricks was very aggressive in the early going and it did seem on a few occasions that he was going to finish Condit early. Condit may have looked stable, but his head seemed to be rocked on a few occasions where it was close to dropping.
It was an excellent fight all around, with Hendricks continuing to show how devastating his left hand is. He landed a few devastating strikes on Condit with various left punches, before eventually breaking it. People will complain about him going for just takedowns in the final round, but you can’t blame him especially with Condit starting to get momentum with his striking combinations.
It was pretty close, but there wasn’t anything wrong with Hendricks winning 29-28. His takedowns were massive, despite not landing anything significant on the ground. I’m still concerned about his cardio and his lack of speed while punching is going to make it tough to land significant strikes St. Pierre. He’ll be a massive underdog going into his title fight with St. Pierre.
Carlos Condit Always Looks Good
It’s pretty unique that Carlos Condit’s most boring fight was his biggest win of his career against Nick Diaz. Other than that, you can’t find a boring Condit fight. Despite losing this fight, there is no way Condit came off looking bad in this fight.
It was a shame to see that his takedown defense hasn’t improved after being manhandled by George St. Pierre, but once again he kept fighting on. His cardio is incredible and he never stopped moving. Similar to most of his fights, he makes you chase him especially against aggressive strikers.
His defense on the ground was superb as well not letting Hendricks do anything to him, after he was taken down. It just came down to wrestling and he was dominated in that aspect. Another issue with Condit is that he kept throwing the flying knee too many times. He has hit the knee before, but eventually Hendricks saw it coming and had a huge takedown after countering the knee attempt.
Despite the 2 fight-losing streak, Condit will still land another big fight coming up. It seems like Rory MacDonald would be the logical choice, but don’t be surprised if it’s Jake Ellenberger. If he can continue mixing up his strikes like he did in the third round, then he’ll be back in the title picture sometime in early 2014.
Ellenberger Shines Once Again
Similar to Hendricks, I’ve never been quite sold on Jake Ellenberger. He’s a great wrestler with vicious punches similar to Hendricks, but he seems to fade away if the fight goes into later rounds. It didn’t matter this time because Ellenberger was on a mission and made a huge statement knocking out Nate Marquardt.
It was expected that this fight wasn’t going to go to decision due to both fighters having knockout power. The finish came as a surprise because Ellenberger wasn’t really landing too much within the first 2 minutes. Marquardt looked more aggressive, but it was Ellenberger who countered and finished him off.
This came as a surprise because it seemed like Marquardt was going to make a huge impact in his return, but he fell absolutely flat. Ellenberger landed vicious hooks, along with some vicious punches on the ground. I’m not sure if there is a better welterweight in ground-and-pound than Ellenberger. After two press conferences where he was asked zero questions, Ellenberger made a major impact to get noticed as a top five welterweight.
Nate “The Great” Flops
Many people were mixed on how Nate Marquardt’s return to the UFC would be. Some people including myself had him making a major impression with a massive knockout. The others side to it was that his lack of technique and positioning would have Ellenberger pick him apart.
If you watch Marquardt fight, you notice how much he sticks out his left knee and keeps his chin forward. The left knee wasn’t that big of a deal because Ellenberger isn’t known for throwing that many kicks. Still it’s a fighting stance that really allows too many openings.
There were already some rumors that Marquardt’s future may be in doubt, but right now it’s too early to cut him. He has to have at least another fight before considering cutting him. You have welterweights like Josh Koscheck that should be cut before Marquardt. Let’s see how he bounces back before predicting he’s going to main event Bellator at some point in early 2014.
Did Anything Relevant Happen Part 1
The first two fights of the night were very lackluster. I’ll admit that it was hard to stay interested in Nick Ring versus Chris Camozzi. It was mostly a stand up battle that didn’t result into anything. Ring got off a good start, but eventually he wore off and once again look fatigued.
Camozzi did a decent job throwing knees and punches that had connected on some occasions. It was amusing that Camozzi raised his arm after a round, which proceeded Joe Rogan saying that he had no idea what he did that round to raise his arm up.
The fight was just brutal to watch all around and nobody could have enjoyed it. It’s a shame that nobody can stand out from these fights, where neither guy is really popular. A big knockout or submission victory could get the crowd alive; instead it was just three rounds of waiting and nothing notable transpired.
Did Anything Relevant Happen Part 2
The first of the night could be argued was even worse than the second fight. I haven’t seen much of Colin Fletcher before this fight and hopefully I’ll never see him on PPV anytime soon. His technique was absolutely terrible and he mostly swung into air throughout the fight.
I’m not sure what his game plan was, but his tendency to do spinning kicks into the air wasn’t very efficient. Mike Ricci wasn’t great either, but he showed sound technique and being much more accurate with his strikes.
Once again it was a lackluster opener to an event. I know the last PPV had Robbie Lawler finishing Josh Koscheck in the first round, but it seems like most openers have gone to decision lately. Hopefully, we see more fighters fired up for opening bouts because the opening fights in the past 6 to 9 months have been lackluster.
A Major Female Risk
It’s pretty obvious that Dana White sees Ronda Rousey as a superstar that is ready to be exposed to everyone in any way possible. That’s not a bad thing because Rousey is a likeable person and has a massive fan base around her. Despite the fan base, I’m skeptical of a show featuring mainly her and female fighters.
There is no denying that women’s MMA made a great first impression at UFC 157. It was only one night, but now they want to invest an entire show involving mostly women with male bantamweights. They are basically making a show of two divisions that haven’t been truly accepted as legitimate to MMA fans.
The male’s bantamweight division is arguably the least popular division right now, although Dominick Cruz’s injury has impacted the division heavily. Still nobody has really stood out from that division and there is still a massive group of people that aren’t interested in women fighting.
Ronda Rousey is popular, but she isn’t on must see level yet. She isn’t Jon Jones, Brock Lesnar, or even Chael Sonnen. Those are three fighters that had the entire MMA world watching because they were or still are polarizing figures. Rousey hasn’t hit that level and it could lead to low ratings. I hope that I’m wrong because I’m a fan of women’s MMA, but Dana White may be rushing this move especially with both genders sharing a house.
Awards Of The Night
The usual awards for most valuable fighter of the night and worst fighter of the night will be given out. This award is very expendable with Fletcher, Ring, and Canozzi could easily be the worst fighter of the night. Also you could easily give Hendricks and Condit the split on most valuable fighter of the night.
I’m going to keep it singular though and it will be based off of one fight. The most valuable fighter of the night is Jake Ellenberger for his vicious knockout. It may not be classified an upset, but Ellenberger seemed to be the forgotten man on this card. He reminded people that he’s still a major threat in the welterweight division.
The worst fighter of the night has to go to Nate Marquardt. His return was getting some major buzz by MMA analysts. He was soundly knocked out and is already on a short leash in his second stint with the UFC. Another poor performance and he could easily be cut from the company.
There was major buzz going into the post fight conference. The topics varied from Johnny Hendricks sounding very confident about his future title fight to Nick Diaz not paying his taxes. Hopefully, Diaz doesn’t go to jail because he is great for the sport.
I’m not going to be Diaz’s lawyer because there was a time that I absolutely hated him. He was an arrogant loudmouth that showed no respect to anyone was my view on him from 2011-2012. Eventually, I had a change of heart based on doing research on how much he dedicates himself to training and how supportive of he is of his brother Nate.
You may still hate him, which is fine because everyone has the right to their opinion. For people to say that Diaz needs to train more or needs to take the sport more seriously, you are completely misguided. He’s got his own style just like every other fighter in mixed martial arts. If he legitimately retires, he’ll be missed in the sport for being a great fighter and an entertaining figure.
I’m not going to take a month off from writing, but for major UFC events it’ll be about a month from now that I’ll have a preview up. UFC on Fox will be returning featuring Benson Henderson versus Gilbert Melendez for the lightweight title.
That should be a fantastic fight, especially for people that have never seen Melendez compete. He’s been one of the best lightweights in the world for years, but now he’ll be exposed to the big stage. I’m very anxious for that fight to happen, along with Daniel Cormier versus Frank Mir. Until then, let’s hope no major injuries happen in the MMA world and we get to hear about more potential matchups in the future. Thanks for reading.
You can follow me at @Allen_Strk or you can e-mail me at AStrk19@gmail.com if you don't like social media. Feel free to leave comments below on what you thought of the show or my views as well.