Johny Hendricks and Carlos Condit put on a show at UFC 158. In doing so, the welterweights put together the newest candidate for 2013 Fight of the Year.
Hendricks' wrestling made the difference in the three-round bout, but Condit did an excellent job working his way back to his feet and getting into striking exchanges. Though it wasn't enough on the scorecards, Condit showed he's still an elite welterweight by hanging tough against the top 170-pound contender.
While the fight between Hendricks and Condit was a great one, it still fell short of taking the lead for 2013 Fight of the Year. Let's take a look at where it sits on the list of likely candidates for the award.
Event: UFC on Fox 6
Official Result: Johnson defeated Dodson by unanimous decision (48-47, 49-46, 48-47).
With the opportunity to headline a Fox-televised event, Demetrious Johnson and John Dodson moved the flyweight division a step forward by putting on a highly entertaining title fight at UFC on Fox 6.
Dodson brought rare finishing ability for the 125-pound class into the bout and gave Johnson a scare with knockdowns in both the first and second rounds. Despite his early troubles, Johnson was able to keep his senses about him and rally back in the later rounds.
Because Johnson had more recent experience in five-round fights, the champion was more capable of continuing at the incredible pace that was set early on.
Although Dodson made it difficult for Johnson to keep the fight on the ground, "Mighty Mouse" did have success controlling "The Magician" against the fence and keeping the center of the Octagon throughout the final three rounds.
In the end, the flyweights combined for 184 significant strikes landed and six takedowns. Despite all the back-and-forth action, the contest was decided by only a slim margin on the scorecards.
Given that three of Johnson's past four fights have now been decided by narrow decisions, it is starting to look like the flyweight division will have many more competitive title fights in its future.
Event: UFC 158
Official Result: Hendricks defeated Condit by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
On an outstanding run through some of the best welterweights in the world, only Carlos Condit stood in Johny Hendricks' way for a shot at the 170-pound championship.
While he couldn't put Condit away in the same devastating fashion that he did Jon Fitch and Martin Kampmann, Hendricks separated himself as the clear No. 2 welterweight in the world by outwrestling the former interim champion and even landing some big shots when standing.
The tough and talented fighter he is, though, Condit certainly made things interesting.
The Jackson's MMA product had holes in his takedown defense, but he consistently worked his way back to his feet after being taken down and gave Hendricks some tense moments in the striking department.
Still, the entertaining fight went the distance and the scorecards favored Hendricks, who is finally next in line for a shot at St-Pierre and his UFC belt.
Event: UFC 156
Official Result: Aldo defeated Edgar by unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 48-47).
Just when it looked as though Jose Aldo was running short on serious challenges in the featherweight division, former lightweight titleholder Frankie Edgar decided to make the move to 145 pounds for an immediate shot at the Brazilian champion.
Early on in his bout with Edgar, dubbed a superfight, Aldo appeared to be on a whole other level than an opponent who was expected to be his toughest test to date. The featherweight champion battered Edgar's legs with kicks and landed his jabs with incredible precision.
In typical Edgar fashion, though, the challenger did not go away easily.
Edgar made things interesting in the championship rounds, utilizing his excellent conditioning to overcome the lack of spring remaining in his legs as a result of the damage he had taken from Aldo's leg kicks. Although his late rally was too little, too late on the scorecards, Edgar's performance at UFC 156 was another great display of heart from the real-life Rocky Balboa.
Although Aldo wasn't able to put Edgar away, he picked up one of the biggest wins of his career in the matchup and solidified himself as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport.
Event: UFC 157
Official Result: Bermudez defeated Grice by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28).
Had Dennis Bermudez and Matt Grice met in a bout of more importance instead of the UFC 157 preliminary card, their fight probably could have topped this list for all of 2013.
After being dropped in the first round, Bermudez battled back and rocked Grice in the third. Though he was essentially out of it on his feet, Grice refused to be finished. Even more surprising, the staggered Grice began to willingly engage Bermudez in wild exchanges throughout the final round.
Grice somehow survived to hear the judges' scorecards read, but he came out on the wrong side of a controversial decision.
Regardless of the official outcome, the fight between Bermudez and Grice was one that yielded no loser. Both fighters received Fight of the Night honors and bonus checks for their efforts.
Event: UFC on Fuel TV 8
Official Result: Silva defeated Stann by knockout (punches) at 4:08 of the second round.
Heading into UFC on Fuel TV 8, many wondered how long Wanderlei Silva would put himself through unnecessary punishment with nothing left to prove in MMA. However, "The Axe Murderer" proved he still has the ability to create memorable moments in an amazing fight with Brian Stann.
From start to second-round finish, Silva went blow for blow with the powerful Stann. While his aggression left him staggered on more than one occasion, Silva and his oft-questioned chin stood tall at the fight's conclusion, which was brought about by a wild left hook to Stann's head.
Though many had been calling for his retirement, Silva now has wins in three of his past five fights, and all of those wins came against high-level opposition in Stann, Cung Le and Michael Bisping.
However his career eventually ends, Silva is one of the greats. His win over Stann furthered his already outstanding MMA legacy.