Wow. That's the only word that comes to mind in the wake of the UFC 167 main event. Georges St-Pierre and Johny Hendricks went to war in one of the most exciting GSP fights in recent history. Hendricks hurt St-Pierre in the second round and was still right there at the end of the bout, throwing jabs and working his power shots. I'm Canadian and a huge GSP fan, but it seemed pretty obvious to me that Hendricks won three rounds - 1, 2, and 4. GSP won two rounds - three and five. Two judges saw it differently though, giving St-Pierre the win and the successful title defense.
The aftermath of the fight might have been just as unpredictable as the fight itself. GSP did his usual post-fight speech thanking everyone, but admitted that he didn't remember parts of the fight and that Hendricks had hurt him. He was done talking, but got prodded by Joe Rogan into continuing, and he stated that he needed to step away from MMA for a while for personal reasons. What this means is anyone's guess - is a rematch off the table? Will there be an interim title? Was this actually the last time we will see GSP in the octagon? What a wild night.
- The co-main event couldn't have been any different from the main event. Once Rashad Evans got the takedown on Chael, it was all downhill. Chael has excellent grappling, but Evans beat him up, passed his guard, flattened him out, and hit him until the referee had to jump in. It was an excellent win that should erase some of the questions about whether Rashad still "has it" or not. As for Chael, he'll move onto TUF Brazil 3 and this isn't a devastating loss for him.
- The Robbie Lawler vs. Rory MacDonald bout started slow, but the final round was the round of the night in my eyes. Lawler beat the crap out of Rory and almost stopped him. MacDonald showed some resilience and closed the fight strong, but it was too late by then. The loss will be a good learning experience for Rory and moves him out of the way as a contender. Could this earn Lawler, a member of the old guard, an improbable title shot in 2014?
- Tyron Woodley hits hard. And that's the understatement of the evening. I totally thought Josh Koscheck was finished earlier, but he somehow weathered that storm and returned to his feet. Unfortunately, it was just long enough to let Woodley land a couple more devastating punches. Is Kos done? Who knows. But Woodley took a major step forward tonight.
- It was really hard to believe the striking stats in the flyweight bout between Tim Elliott and Ali Bagautinov. Unless Elliott landed 60 strikes in a minute on the ground, how was he so far ahead when it looked like he was the one getting clubbed the whole time? He had a good third round and he has an awesome chin. But Bagautinov hits hard, hits often, and that was clearly his fight.
- That was the best version of Donald Cerrone I've ever seen. Sure Dunham was hurt early and might never have fully recovered, but Cowboy's knees and general striking were most definitely on point. And the way he is able to throw up that triangle every time he gets put on his back is pretty nuts. And it works a lot of the time.
- Thales Leites and Ed Herman wasn't an exciting fight, but Leites dominated nonetheless. Herman had nothing for him on the floor and while he had a couple of moments on the feet, he couldn't keep it there for any length of time. Leites is one of those guys that can serve as a good gatekeeper in the middleweight division. I used to think Herman was as well, but I'm starting to doubt that.
- Rick Story absolutely owned Brian Ebersole. He clipped him with a ton of power shots, buckled his leg with leg kicks, and didn't fall for any of Ebersole's sneaky tricks. It was the kind of performance that I always want to see out of Story, but he's maddeningly inconsistent. As for Ebersole, I don't see how he can make lightweight but it might be a good idea to try after that. He's got a helluva chin though.
- Erik Perez showed a new wrinkle in his evolving game - wrestling. He completely dominated Edwin Figueroa on the mat and dropped him with a huge punch as well. Only Figueroa's toughness kept him alive long enough to hear the final horn.
- The streamed prelims were decent. Jason High dominated the first and third en route to a win. Sergio Pettis didn't quite live up to expectations, but they were way too high to start with anyway and he got a solid win. And Gian Villante didn't look good in the first, but came back and flattened Cody Donovan in the second.