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UFC 158 Results: Fighters Who Took Huge Step Forward with Big Performance

Mar 16, 2013; Montreal, Quebec, CAN;  Johny Hendricks (blue) celebrates after his main card bout against Carlos Condit (red) at UFC 158 at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
Alex BallentineFeatured ColumnistMarch 17, 2013

Georges St-Pierre's title defense against Nick Diaz was the main attraction at UFC 158, but plenty of other fighters did well for their careers on Saturday night.

From highlight-reel knockouts to decision wins against an elite opponent, it takes a great effort to really stand out as a fighter that needs to take the next big step.

UFC 158 had its share of fighters that are in line for bigger fights after impressive performances. Here are three that set themselves up for even greater success with big wins.

 

Johny Hendricks

The bearded wonder didn't put Carlos Condit away, but he did enough to earn his title shot against Georges St-Pierre.

While many would have liked to see him set up the fight with a knockout, the adversity he faced against Condit could be a positive. There's an argument to be made that Condit won, but it showed that Hendricks can go the distance and win fights with his wrestling when he doesn't get the stoppage.

Hendricks really didn't need to have the most impressive performance in the world. Truth be told, he should have been in the main event against St-Pierre. His credentials were better than Diaz's before tonight and a win over Condit only makes his case that much stronger.

Dana White wasted little time in deeming Hendricks the No. 1 contender in the welterweight division, and at this point, he deserves that distinction.

 

Jake Ellenberger

The Juggernaut was somewhat of an afterthought in light of the four welterweights at the top of the card. After his knockout win over Nate Marquardt, he's officially back in the top tier of the division.

Ellenberger looked every part the legitimate contender we thought he was when he reeled off six straight wins before his upset loss to Martin Kampmann.

After his less-than-dominant split decision win over Jay Hieron, it appeared Ellenberger may have lost it. Marquardt was a much more credible opponent and Ellenberger looked as dominant as ever.

He shouldn't vault Hendricks for the next crack at GSP, but he certainly made the case to be placed in a title eliminator.

 

Darren Elkins

Before the main card got started, Elkins made a huge statement on the FX broadcast of undercard fights.

The 28-year-old entered the fight on a four-fight win streak but still felt a little under appreciated. That could be owed to the fact that all four of those wins were by unanimous decision.

Elkins put away any talk of him being a one-dimensional wrestler with his knockout win over Antonio Carvalho. With the win, he's proven that he can not only out-grapple opponents for three solid rounds, he has the power to put on exciting fights and put people away.

There's a good chance that the UFC won't be keeping Elkins on the undercard much longer.

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