Monday, March 18, 2013

UFC 158 Thoughts

Jake Ellenberger scores a huge
KO win over Nate Marquardt.
Georges St. Pierre is one of the biggest draws in the UFC and there was nothing new when a sold out Bell Centre in Montreal was going wild for one of the worlds best mixed martial artists.  The welterweights put on a very entertaining show that had Montreal fans out of their seats.  This is a quick recap of what happened mixed in with my thoughts on the evening.

Unfortunately I must confess that I was occupied during the Facebook and FX portion of the night so I missed some of the fights.  However, I was able to watch 3 fights that I was able to find online.
Preliminary fight results:

  • Roop defeats Duran via unanimous decision
  • Dillashaw knocks out Tamura
  • Story finishes Mulhern via 1st round TKO
  • Makdessi edges Cruickshank via decision
  • Mein wins via TKO against veteran Dan Miller
  • Elkins gets a controversial TKO win over Carvalho
  • Cote with controversy of his own squeaks out a split decision over Voelker
As for the prelims, Jordan Mein made a tremendous statement by being the first man to finish Dan Miller.  Many top middleweights have faced him and won, but Mein did it in significantly more spectacular fashion with the KO.  As for the Elkins stoppage, he was dominating the fight and rocked him.  After he saw Carvalho was rocked he swarmed him with punches and dropped him to the ground.  Yves Lavigne clearly thought Antonio was unconscious and pulled Elkins away.  However, Carvalho immediately jumped to his feet and questioned Yves.  It was one of those weird incidents where you cannot blame the ref too much, but it was definitely premature.  Elkins looked impressive nonetheless.  Cote's split decision win was called into question by many of the fans.  I have seen many sports pages where the comment section is lined with statements that Cote did not win and Voelker got screwed.  I have to say, I disagree.  The judges got this one right in my opinion.  The first round was close, but Cote did a lot from his back and scored points.  The second round was again close by I believe Cote really out struck Voelker and even rocked him early to win that round.  The 3rd round was dominated by Voelker but I think Cote earned a 29-28 decision on my scorecard.  This is one of those fights where it is good despite the controversy.  Cote would have lost 5 in a row (I'm counting his DQ win as a loss, which it should be) in the UFC if Voelker had gotten the nod by the judges.  Both men put on an exciting fight and demonstrated powerful chins.  Voelker will get another chance to impress in the UFC in the future so neither of these exciting fighters will be cut.  The fans are the winners in this fight.

Now on to the main card:
  • Mike Ricci takes a unanimous decision victory over the Freakshow
  • Camozzi takes a controversial split decision win over Nick Ring
  • Ellenberger knocks Nate Marquardt out cold
  • Hendricks takes a well deserved decision win over Carlos Condit
  • GSP wins 50-45 on all 3 judges cards in a route over Nick Diaz
Colin Fletcher despite his loss is still a talented and entertaining fighter I will be rooting for going into the future.  He has his own creepy circus walkout music and a frightening mask to go with it.  He is a weirdo but you have to like him.  He held his own against Mike Ricci, but ultimately it was the Canadian outclassing him in every aspect of MMA.  Ricci still has work to do, but it was nice to see him win in front of his home crowd.

Ring showed disdain for Camozzi's striking by holding his hands by his waist the entire fight.  He gassed late and definitely lost the 3rd round.  However, I believe he won the first 2 rounds with his chipping away.  He landed a ton of leg kicks and a decent amount of punches.  Ring also pressed the pace.  It may have been Camozzi's leg kicks that stole the fight, but I cannot say for sure.  Controversial or not, congrats to Chris Camozzi for moving up the ladder with this win.

Jake Ellenberger could not be happier with how UFC 158 played out.  He has Rory MacDonald to thank for it all.  Had Rory not pulled out of his fight with Carlos Condit, I strongly believe it would have been Jake laying face first on the matt.  Instead, Hendricks got the nod against Condit and UFC veteran Nate "the Great" Marquardt stepped in to fight Ellenberger.  Nate looked like a tank in taking the Strikeforce belt with a win over Tyron Woodley but followed it up with an unimpressive loss against Tarec Saffiedine.  This is a big name to anyone who knows anything about MMA.  Not only did Jake win against this tough opponent, but he bloodied him up and knocked him out.  Jake made a lot of noise with this win over another top guy in the welterweight division, who should look to move back to middleweight again.  I was accurate in my prediction when I said Ellenberger would come out strong in the first round; however, Nate was not able to weather the storm like I thought he would.  This is testament to just how devastating Jake is to knock out a durable guy like Marquardt.  On a side note: these 2 won the walkout song of the night awards in my opinion with their choices.  Click their names for a listen: Nate Marquardt and Jake Ellengerger.

Johny Hendricks has been my horse to become the welterweight king ever since he knocked out Jon Fitch in 12 seconds.  I believe he is the man who would give GSP more fits than anyone else in the division.  That said, I was incredibly terrified that Carlos Condit would put the Hendricks hype train to a screeching halt.  That was not the case.  Give credit where credit is due, Condit gets an honorable mention for standing in there against some really really heavy left hands that render most of Johny's opponents unconscious.  He also was able to get up after all of the takedowns Johny had.  That said, Hendricks looked better.  He took Condit down with more ease than GSP did.  He went back and forth with Condit in the standup game.  They both landed some great shots.  Hendricks proved that in addition to his wrestling and striking that he can take a punch too.  Beating Condit is no easy feat, especially considering the nuclear bomb that is Hendricks' left hand had been broken in the 1st round.  Hendricks beat the consensus #2 welterweight in the UFC without the use of his #1 weapon.  Johny is for real and GSP should BEG for Anderson Silva, because that is a better matchup for him than Bigg Rigg.

As for the main event, not much needs to be said.  I have been saying that this fight is a joke for a long time.  Hendricks should have been the main event.  Hendricks should have fought GSP for the belt.  I honestly thing GSP knows Hendricks is the guy that gives him the most problems so he begged for this fight to buy himself some more time.  I also think GSP hoped and prayed Condit would be his protector and beat Hendricks for him.  No more running now Georges, Hendricks is coming for you.  GSP obviously dominated again and was never in any danger against Nick Diaz.  Diaz called him names and retired when he lost like he always does.  This fight was pretty much unimpressive and predictable.  I went a little crazy and predicted a GSP KO, which obviously did not happen.  Oh well, GSP was not as mad at Nick as Dana White had led us to believe and the fight was not as exciting as promised.  Thankfully the other 4 welterweights put on a show and GSP's next fight will be far more interesting.

I went a solid 7/12 on the night to move my prediction totals to 42/81 (52%)

Fighter bonuses of $50,000:
Fight of the Night: Hendricks/Condit
KO of the Night: Jake Ellenberger
Submission of the Night: none

But wait, I am not done yet.

Some final thoughts on the night and the future of the welterweight division:
As for the future of the division, I think things are very clear.  Nick Diaz can retire or fight again, I do not really care.  Hendricks against GSP needs to happen and Johny could pull of the win.  I think it is great that Hendricks has won impressively in his last 2 fights on the same card as GSP.  The fans of GSP know who Hendricks is now and have a feel for what this guy is capable of.  This will make the fight an easy sell since fans of GSP know this guy is legit.  Condit has dropped 2 in a row, so I would hate to see him fight Rory and potentially lose 3.  Condit should look to fight Robbie Lawler or Josh Koscheck next to try and bounce back from these exciting and close losses.  Rory MacDonald was pulled from this card, but I would like to see him take on Jake Ellenberger.  Jake made a huge statement, but he is not ready for GSP until he can beat his training partner Rory.  This would be an exciting fight that will be important for the future of the division.  As I mentioned earlier, Marquardt should probably move back to middleweight.  Lastly, I think Jordan Mein earned a reputation with his win and he should look to take on a guy near the top 10, like Court McGee or Tarec Saffiedine.

3 Stars of UFC 158:
  • Johny Hendricks
  • Jordan Mein
  • Jake Ellenberger

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