Georges ‘Rush’ St-Pierre successfully defended his welterweight title for the eighth straight time by capturing a unanimous-decision victory (50-45, 50-45, 50-45) over Nick Diaz in Saturday’s main event at UFC 158 in Montreal at the Bell Centre.
BrianEdwardsSports.com scored it 50-45 for GSP, who hooked up his betting supporters as an enormous -500 ‘chalk.’ Gamblers taking ‘over’ 4.5 rounds cashed tickets with the risk in the -220 range.
It was a typical GSP fight. St-Pierre took Diaz down 10 seconds into the first round and 40 seconds into the second. In both of those stanzas, GSP smothered and covered, landing several big elbows in the first round. Diaz was unable to mount any offense off of his back but did a decent job of avoiding major punishment.
Between rounds, Diaz was heard saying, “Win or lose, he hits like a bitch.”
In the third round, Diaz was able to finally stuff a takedown. When GSP did execute a takedown about a minute in, Diaz was back to his feet within 30 seconds. The last few minutes of the stanza were mostly spent on the feet with St-Pierre winning the boxing exchanges.
The fourth round was Diaz’s best when GSP seemed to a tire a bit and looked at the clock several times. Diaz started stuffing his takedown attempts and landing some good shots of his own.
Diaz drew blood from GSP’s nose and landed a hard body shot. Finally, he had a little momentum.
But any momentum Diaz might have had wasn’t enough to win the round, and it didn’t carry over to the fifth round. St-Pierre’s jab continued to find Diaz’s face. Diaz landed plenty of strikes as well and the evidence was on GSP’s face, which looked as busted up as Diaz’s.
But there was no doubt about the decision. The real intrigue was what we would hear from Diaz in the aftermath.
He did not disappoint. In the post-fight interview with Joe Rogan in the Octagon, Diaz talked about retiring from mixed martial artist (again).
The real fireworks came at the post-fight gathering with the media. Diaz dropped opinions galore when he showed up 40 minutes late. Some of his gems are listed below:
1- Diaz wants to retire from MMA because the rules favor wrestlers.
2- Diaz wants a rematch with GSP.
3-Diaz thinks he would give Anderson Silva a better fight than GSP.
4-Diaz thinks GSP punches like a girl.
5-Diaz has never paid taxes in his life.
6-Diaz wasn’t prepared for the fight because he couldn’t afford to pay guys to spar with him. His usual sparring partners, Jake Shields and Gilbert Melendez, have fights coming up and therefore couldn’t go full speed.
The co-main event was the highlight of the show. Johny ‘Bigg Rigg’ Hendricks won a unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) over Carlos ‘The Natural Born Killer’ Condit in a thriller that had the raucous crowd in a frenzy for the entire 15 minutes. Hendricks prevailed as a -140 favorite, while ‘over’ 2.5 rounds cashed at a -180 price.
BrianEdwardsSports.com also had it 29-28 with Hendricks winning the first two rounds.
Hendricks came out throwing haymakers and landed several power lefts like the ones that put Jon Fitch and Martin Kampmann to sleep in early first-round KOs. The strikes certainly backed up Condit, but his incredible chin was on full display.
In fact, Condit twice countered a dangerous flurry of shots from Hendricks by catching ‘Bigg Rigg’ with a flying knee that stunned the Texan. At one point midway through the round, Condit’s diverse offense shifted the momentum his way.
But Hendricks won Round 1 with several takedowns and the punishment he dealt out in the first two minutes.
The second round was the closest. I believe it correctly went to Hendricks thanks to more takedowns, but Condit got up every time and got the better of several stand-up exchanges. Therefore, it wouldn’t have been shocking for a judge to have given Round 2 to Condit.
Both fighters swung for the fences in the third round, especially in the final two minutes. This was another razor-tight round that I had for Condit, who put on another great fight and remained the welterweight’s No. 2 contender in the UFC’s new rankings released Monday.
Condit’s next opponent could be Rory MacDonald or Jake Ellenberger. He has beaten both guys already but he had to rally for a late KO finish over MacDonald and beat Ellenberger by split decision.
MacDonald and Ellenberger are now ranked No. 3 and No. 4, respectively, in the 170-pound division.
‘The Juggernaut’ took home $50,000 for KO of the Night honors when he needed only three minutes to trounce Nate ‘The Great’ Marquardt. Ellenberger stalked Marquardt throughout the fight, patiently delivering heavy punches. When he rocked the former Strikeforce champ with an uppercut, Ellenberger pounced and finished with a violent flurry.
Ellenberger hooked up his backers as a -175 favorite. Gamblers taking ‘under’ 2.5 rounds were winners of +150 tickets.
Brian Edwards can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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