Another night of fighting is in the books, and it was pretty good overall. The money fights at UFC 158 all delivered, and that will probably help the organization deflect some blame from their terrible decision-making when it came to the opening two bouts of the PPV. Seriously, why the hell were Mike Ricci and Nick Ring featured on the main card when they were so many solid FX fights that could have been used in their place? Who knows. Anyway, lets move onto the real winners and losers from last night's card in the Bell Centre.
Georges St. Pierre - Sure, some will say that he didn't get the finish and he's gone six fights in a row without one. But GSP deserves a ton of credit for engaging Diaz on the feet for over half of the fight when most expected him to spend about 24 of the 25 minutes on top of Stockton's Finest. His jab was good enough to totally disrupt Nick's pressure game on the feet, and it's obvious that he had Diaz scouted well on the ground as well. That's what good tacticians do, and GSP is one of the best in the world at sticking with a gameplan. Props to him for that.
Johny Hendricks - Wow, what a war. Yes, he did get a dozen takedowns and that might have annoyed striking purists, but he sat right in front of Condit for a lot of the fight and took everything he had while dishing out the same in return. Hell, he broke his left hand in the first and still fired away with it for the rest of the fight anyway. There's no way that he can have a title fight taken from him now, and he 100% deserves it. I can't wait for the fight either, because he might present the best stylistic challenge to GSP since Jon Fitch back at UFC 87.
Carlos Condit - I know what you're going to say - 'How can Condit be a winner? He has lost two in a row and is out of the title picture!' Well, sometimes there's a bigger picture than that. Condit has proven time and time again that he will give every contender (or champion) a hellacious scrap, and fans are finally starting to notice it. Sure, Condit got taken down 12 times. But he also got up 11 times and got right back in Hendricks' face immediately every time. That was one of the best fights I've ever seen, and it was awesome because of Condit's tenacity. That kind of thing sticks with fans and Condit is quickly turning into a real draw for the company. Sure, he's not going to be in the title hunt for a while. But he's a guy the UFC can count on for entertainment every single time he gets into the octagon, and that might turn out to be just as lucrative in the long run.
Jake Ellenberger - Marquardt had only been finished once in the UFC, and it was by the best fighter in the world. Ellenberger didn't care though. After giving him a bit of space after Nate started strong, he just stepped up and dusted the guy with some huge shots. That kind of power is rare, and it's a great selling point. He has his faults, but the UFC can still push him as a true contender and he can definitely hold up his end of the bargain. I can't wait to see who they put him against in his next bout.
Jordan Mein - I won't deny that I can be a Canadian homer at times, but I figured Miller was a really tough challenge for Mein's debut. Miller's been in there with the best of the best at middleweight and never got finished. But after surviving an armbar that I thought he'd have to tap to for sure, Jordan busted up Miller and blew up my betting world with an awesome finish. I feel bad for ever doubting the Alberta product, mostly because I've been one of his biggest fans for years. It won't happen again, sir. You are most definitely for real.
Nick Diaz - Believe it or not, I considered putting Diaz in the winners column for a while. But after weighing the good and bad, I came to the conclusion that he probably belongs down here. The amount of press he garnered for himself in the leadup to this bout will make him a ton of the money down the road if he wants to continue fighting. He even kept it up at the post-fight conference. But his fights prove that he's a relatively limited fighter that goes back to the same few tactics when he's not in control. Those things are easy to see on tape - how he always uses the same kimura threat to try and stand up, or the same kneebar attempt to attempt a sweep. And honestly, he's just as predictable on the feet. I'm not gonna lie - Nick Diaz is the most fascinating guy in MMA in my eyes. But his stubbornness will prevent him from ever being a real world champion. And his inability to round out his game will keep him at the bottom of these types of posts as long as he stays in the fight game.
Nate Marquardt - That's the last time the UFC will take his calls when they need a main card replacement. Nate started strong, but the facts are pretty obvious - he has lost two fights in a row now and getting knocked out is never good for your career. I don't think he's done or anything, and he can probably take out 75% of the UFC's welterweight division. But that was his chance to make a quick splash at 170 in the UFC and he got toasted. He's almost 34 and has 46 fights under his belt. That's not a good sign for his upward mobility in an organization where he's already clashed with the boss.
Joe Rogan - I always hesitate to go after Rogan and Goldberg, because they're such easy targets for angry fans. Despite what some would have you believe, they really are very good at their jobs. But like any other job, sometimes employees have off nights and last night was one of them for Rogan. Announcers paint pictures for fans, especially casuals, and Rogan wasn't exactly Van Gogh at UFC 158. It started on the undercard, but his constant insistence that Nick Ring was easily winning the bout with Chris Camozzi when that wasn't true at all really brought it to light for me. Then he decided to give Diaz credit for every single thing he did to GSP whether it was significant or not, and he straight up ignored some of what GSP was doing in the process. It really felt like he had a story to sell from a script before the fight ever started, and what was happening in front of him was secondary to the storyline. It was one of the few times that the announcing really soured me on a good fight.
Dan Miller - I really hope the UFC doesn't cut the elder Miller brother for this loss, but fighting is a cutthroat business. I've always been a big Miller fan and the stuff he has had to go though outside the cage is enough to touch the heart of the biggest cynic. But the hard truth is that he's 3-6 in his last nine and now he's getting finished? As long as Dan (and Jim) Miller want to fight for a living, they will have my complete support and I hope I'm not alone in that. But sometimes companies have to make heartless decisions, and I fear that Dan Miller might fall into that category for the UFC.