UFC 158 Results: Grades for Every Main Card Fighter
UFC 158 went down Saturday night from the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Maybe you heard something about the main event: Champion Georges St-Pierre vs. trash-talking challenger Nick Diaz.
As I learned when I flipped on the pay-per-view and felt an initial twinge of disappointment, there were actually five fights on the main card Saturday. The card began somewhat sleepily, but it came on at the end in a very big way.
So how did they all pan out? How did the performers perform? Here are grades for every main card fighter.
Mike Ricci: C
Result: Mike Ricci def. Colin Fletcher by unanimous decision
It was kind of an uninspired start to the pay-per-view card.
Ricci outlanded Fletcher and scored a few takedowns, but there was not a lot to suggest either man as a serious threat in the UFC's 155-pound division.
Ricci got his W in front of his countrymen, but he probably didn't win a ton of new fans in the process.
Colin Fletcher: D-
Before the final round, Fletcher's cornermen told him he had to submit Ricci. Shoot in if you have to, they said. Fletcher didn't.
He also didn't land any strikes of consequence at any point. At the end, it was easy to imagine we were getting a final look at an entertaining personality who is not long for the UFC.
Chris Camozzi: C
Result: Chris Camozzi def. Nick Ring by split decision
Camozzi is tough and has a deep gas tank, but he's not especially athletic. He's kind of the Forrest Griffin of middleweights.
This was not Camozzi's finest hour. For much of the fight, he pawed helplessly at the air as Ring ran circles around him.
But like the tortoise and the hare, he caught up to and passed his opponent late, landing enough heavy strikes on a gassed-out Ring at the end to sway the judges.
Nick Ring: D
Ring, a Canadian, heard a smattering of boos from the Montreal faithful Saturday night.
That should tell you all you need to know about his performance, which mainly involved darting in and out and dancing away from Camozzi's power strikes.
His hands were down and his head was up, but real engagement (from either man) never really materialized.
Jake Ellenberger: A
Result: Jake Ellenberger def. Nate Marquardt by KO, 3:00, Round 1
The fight went back and forth for the first few minutes, but it tilted unequivocally for "The Juggernaut" when he landed a hard combination on Marquardt's face.
Marquardt fell, Ellenberger swarmed, he threw more punches, Marquardt lost consciousness and there's your ballgame.
Ellenberger, who probably owns the division's most dangerous fists outside Johny Hendricks, is now 8-2 in the UFC. With this spectacular knockout, he has put himself on the short list of welterweight title contenders.
Nate Marquardt: C-
It was part sad, part amusing when Marquardt protested the stoppage. I think he just blacked out the part where he blacked out.
Marquardt didn't fight poorly; he landed a few nice leg kicks and wobbled Ellenberger a bit with a punch of his own. But at the end of the fight, he was just another victim of Ellenberger's tremendous power.
Johny Hendricks: A+
Result: Johny Hendricks def. Carlos Condit by unanimous decision
What a tremendous fight between Hendricks and Condit. Two cream-of-the-crop fighters at the absolute height of their powers, using every trick in their bags and just about every calorie in their systems.
Hendricks threw his lethal left with reckless abandon (even after he appeared to hurt that hand) and converted, by my count, 12 of his 13 takedown attempts. Condit weathered Hendricks' bombs, but Hendricks came right back, absorbing Condit's razor-sharp combinations.
After the fight, Hendricks told broadcaster Joe Rogan that "I earned it." Meaning, of course, that elusive welterweight title shot. If there was any room for argument before, there isn't anymore.
Carlos Condit: A-
I've never seen anyone handle that Hendricks left the way Condit did Saturday night.
Condit was a bit overmatched on the ground against the champion college wrestler but was far from helpless, hunting for submissions and consistently popping back to his feet.
He also landed plenty of combinations and had Hendricks on his heels more than once. Condit may have lost the fight, but he further cemented his status as one of the very best mixed martial artists on the planet.
Georges St-Pierre: A
Result: Georges St-Pierre def. Nick Diaz by unanimous decision
If you were hoping for a cathartic bloodbath in which Nick Diaz played the part of every childhood bully Georges St-Pierre can remember, well, keep hoping.
Georges St-Pierre has never been more classically Georges St-Pierre than he was at UFC 158. Perhaps that, in a way, was GSP's true revenge. He didn't get sucked into a brawl, which is of course what the savantish Diaz wanted more than anything else.
Instead, GSP landed takedown after takedown, jab after jab. Methodical, workmanlike, dominant. St-Pierre didn't do any major damage, and that's partially a testament to the good defense of Diaz, but the 50-45 sweep was never in question.
Nick Diaz: C-
It could have been worse for Nick Diaz.
He only took, by my count, two of those brutal GSP knees to the rib cage. He stuffed a few of St-Pierre's takedowns, and when he found himself on his back, he controlled wrists and rolled out from the bottom often enough to mitigate big damage. He even landed some combinations on the feet.
But it just wasn't enough. St-Pierre was too much in every phase, and that's all there was to it.
In his post-fight interview in the cage, Diaz appeared to retire, saying, "I think I'm done with mixed martial arts."
Who knows whether that will pan out. Either way, he has to realize after UFC 158 that he's not UFC championship material, at least not as long as GSP's around.
Scott Harris likes to assign grades to lots of things. Find him (and grade him) MMA" target="_blank">on Twitter.