Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
Georgs St. Pierre celebrated St. Patrick's Day by pitching a shutout against Nick Diaz, winning all five rounds in resounding fashion. Johny Hendricks likely punched his ticket to a title shot, and there was a lot of action on the undercard.
In the wee hours of St. Patrick's Day, Georges St. Pierre added another top level scalp to his collection at UFC 158 last night. Nick Diaz had basically no answer to any part of the Champion's game. Beyond a brief flash of offense in the third round, Diaz had nothing to offer St. Pierre. Unlike Anderson Silva who looks to clown on fighters who has angered him, St. Pierre looks to beat them in every aspect of the fight and remove any interest in a rematch.
- As per usual what St. Pierre excelled at in this fight was not the flashy aspects of fighting that fans want to see, but despite not being the most pleasing performance St. Pierre put on yeah another masterful technical performance. Yet again the Champion fearlessly wadded into a world class guard and didn't just nullify it, he passed it repeatedly. The Canadian got Diaz to turtle and then controlled him from there masterfully.
- On the feet St. Pierre controlled distance very well and stopped Diaz cold everything he tried to come forward with a jab or an inside hook, nipping the Diaz volume attack in the bud just about every time. And at any point Diaz seemed to have his striking working for him, St. Pierre took him down pretty effortlessly. I would have liked to see St. Pierre sit down on a few right crossed to see if he could daze Diaz, but that is about the only complaint I have.
- We'll see about Diaz's retirement, he is at his peak in terms of money making right now and there are plenty of fights for him. He'll likely stick around and get a few fights away from the title picture that will deliver action, like a Diego Sanchez rematch.
- Diaz's mental state heading into the fight is something worth discussing. Now clearly I don't know what is going on with Diaz leading up to the fight mentally, but he continually spoke about the scoring system in MMA and how St. Pierre plays to it. Throw in Diaz bringing up steroids and this whole hand-wrap issues and it seemed he was laying the ground work to raise a fuss after he lost. And then finally there was the fact that Diaz kept trying to sneak in a cheap shot after the bell. All that says to me that all the prognostication that Diaz may have gotten under the Champion's skin might have had things backwards.
- I just want to take a minute and say the Johny Hendricks and Carlos Condit was the best fight of the year so far. That was a very fun fight that was entertaining while being very technical and nuanced, which is a nice change from the more common fun, but sloppy Fight of the Nights.
- Johny Hendricks was forced to fight intelligently because Carlos Condit did not just melt away when touched with Hendricks' left hand. And when that left hand became injured Hendrick's corner did an excellent job calming him down and focusing him on the task at hand. Hendricks then used his powerful wrestling to survive that the third round and get the win.
- This fight did remind fans of something important; Hendricks is far less impressive when he can't record a quick knockout. Hendricks should be the next guy to fight for the Welterweight title, and it will be a fun match, but he isn't as developed a fighter as many make him out to be. His bull rush attack, accurate left hand, and excellent wrestling could be the answer to St. Pierre's dominance, but there are holes for the champion to exploit.
- Carlos Condit fought as well as a fighter can with out ending up with a win. He clearly had the advantage down the stretch and it was a very entertaining fight and performance. Condit looked fantastic in this loss, and hopefully we'll see him back in the cage soon. The only complaint I would have was his constant use of knees making it very easy for Hendricks to take him down later in the fight.
- Jake Ellenberger won the fight in the way that he wins fights, he landed a few big strikes on Nate Marquardt in the first round and put him to sleep. Ellenberger needs more time to work towards the title picture and I think a match between him and Demian Maia would be fireworks.
- Chris Camozzi yet again showed clear improvements, with much more controlled and measured striking against Nick Ring. Camozzi's corner was very collected and gave him very technical advice after a tough first tough round. Camozzi stayed calm, made some adjustments and got the win. While I don't think Camozzi will be winning a title any time soon, he could turn into a solid Middleweight.
- Mike Ricci looked pretty solid, but we have to consider the competition. Colin Fletcher didn't look good, spinning for no apparent reason and his grappling looked pretty lost at times. Ricci used to be a very hot prospect and maybe he'll be able to get back on track as he showed pretty solid striking but I'll withhold judgment on Ricci for now.
- Really seemed like Bobby Voelker should have gotten the nod against Patrick Cote in what was a close but fairly clear fight. Cote did fight more aggressively and urgency than he had in his previous two UFC fights.
- I didn't have a big issue Yves Lavigne's stoppage of Darren Elkins and Antonio Carvalho. It was an early stoppage, but I don't blame Lavigne, because from his angle in real time Carvalho looked like he was falling like a sack of bones. There are times refs deserve to catch flak for their decisions, but I can't faul Lavigne for this one.
- Jordan Mein made quite the entrance to the UFC with that stoppage. Dan Miller is not an easy man to finish. Mein is a very tough and talented striker and we also got to see some Mein's grappling as he executed a very technical armbar escape. Mein is only 23-years-old and is looking like a very good Welterweight in the making.
- John Makdessi looked very good against Daron Cruickshank with strong take down defense and heavy strikes. Cruickshank stood around a little too much in this fight and got the angle of his nose adjusted as a result.
- Quinn Mulhern should not have been the cage with Rick Story, that was clearly a one sided match and it progressed that way.
- T.J. Dillashaw looked very solid against Issei Tamura, and it is very possible we were treated to seeing the impact of Duane Ludwig on Team Alpha Male. Dillashaw had an awesome feint of a take down followed by a head kick followed up by a pinpoint ground strike. It was an awesome display of mixed martial arts skills.