GSP retains title in win over Nick Diaz
As pointed out during the broadcast by Joe Rogan, this was a fight fans have been craving for quite some time. Diaz, known as the villain of MMA for his trash talking and some would say outright disrespect of his opponents; was thought by many (including yours truly) to present the most difficult challenge for GSP since Matt Hughes.
However, on this night GSP once again proved why he is the best in the world at his weight class and arguably the greatest welterweight of all-time. I think the debate between the aforementioned Hughes and St-Pierre is the most intriguing of any weight class in the history of MMA. GSP just passed Hughes for title defenses and tied Hughes with 18 wins in the UFC; I just think Hughes was more dominant in his prime.
While GSP controlled Diaz for most of the fight with his wrestling, in route to a dominating 5 round unanimous decision (50-45), it was GSP's ability to neutralize Diaz's standup that was a huge factor in winning the fight. After St. Pierre successfully pulled off takedown after takedown for the better part of two rounds, Diaz was able to stuff multiple takedown attempts in the final 3 rounds. However, as even Diaz pointed out to Rogan in the post fight interview, GSP threw off Diaz's timing by landing several superman punches.
St-Pierre displayed a quality jab and got the better of Diaz in multiple exchanges. Diaz never looked comfortable with his jab, as he is known for constantly landing an insane amount in the majority of his fights. While Diaz did land several quality body shots, none appeared to have any real impact on GSP. There was never a time in the fight in which St-Pierre was in any danger.
GSP did a phenomenal job of avoiding another one of Diaz's strengths--his jiu-jitsu. Diaz repeatedly worked for a kimura from his back and while against the cage on his feet. GSP was always one step ahead, and that's no easy feat against a skilled BJJ practitioner like Diaz. This was a hard fought win for St-Pierre despite the dominance on the scorecards.
Love him or hate him Nick Diaz is a draw for MMA, and it would be sad to see him hang it up. Diaz teased retirement to Joe Rogan-- this fight fan hopes that doesn't happen.
GSP's next challenger should be Johny Hendricks, who won a fight-of-the-year candidate against Carlos Condit via unanimous decision. This fight was the epitome of excitement personified. Hendricks just doesn't stop coming forward and landed with so many solid overhand lefts, but to his credit Condit couldn't be stopped. Hendricks did an amazing job of attacking with strikes and then taking Condit down at will. Condit worked hard for submissions but to no avail. Condit did a great job of staying in this fight and absorbed a great deal of devastating left hands that may have dropped other men. While Condit landed several good punch combinations and flying knees, I felt being the taller fighter he could've done more damage utilizing a muay thai clinch and more knees to the body.
Johny Hendricks is the real deal and should be considered a legit threat to GSP's title. With Hendricks' striking and wrestling, he may be the guy to give GSP a little of his own medicine. The only flaw in Hendricks style, as Rogan pointed out during the broadcast, is becoming susceptible to getting caught with a counter while coming forward. It's one thing to be aggressive, it's another to walk towards a top fighter with your chin up.
Only two negatives were that this fight wasn't 5 rounds, and that Hendricks broke his hand in the process. The UFC needs to do the right thing here and make sure Hendricks doesn't lose his title shot. Nobody is more deserving, and a broken hand shouldn't take too long to recover from.
Jake Ellenberger went through veteran and former Strikeforce champion Nate Marquardt. Ellenberger dropped Marquardt in the first round and earned knockout of the night. Marquardt looks like his best days are behind him. You just never know when father time will get you; it happens overnight and then you try to compensate for the lack of speed, and by doing so ultimately lose the mental edge by over-thinking everything. Nate has had a great career, but now he may be nothing more than a mid level fighter. Well, unless he leaves the UFC for Bellator or the World Series of Fighting.
Still no idea how Nick Ring lost via split decision to Chris Camozzi. Ring was clearly manhandled in the final round, but what were the judges watching the first two rounds? Camozzi was a punching bag for Ring. Another one the judges got wrong. The loss hurts Ring a lot more than it helps Camozzi. Neither guy is what you would consider a title contender.