UFC

UFC 158: St-Pierre, Hendricks shine

Watch: St-Pierre vs. Diaz Highlights
Watch: St-Pierre vs. Diaz Highlights
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A.J. Perez

A.J. Perez previously worked at USA Today, AOL and CBSSports.com, covering beats ranging from performance-enhancing drugs to the NHL. He has also been a finalist for an Associated Press Sports Editors award for investigative reporting. Follow him on Twitter.

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MONTREAL

Georges St-Pierre probably didn’t give Nick Diaz the worst beating he’s ever seen as promised.

But it was still a victory — and an overwhelming one at that — as St-Pierre defended the welterweight title he’s held since 2008 with a unanimous decision (50-45 on all three cards) at UFC 158 early Sunday morning.

“There was some animosity before the fight,” St-Pierre said. “It’s true that we hugged. But I guess we are back to where we were.”

FIGHT GALLERY

If you missed any of the face smashing in Montreal we've got you covered.

That’d be more Diaz trash talking. He was a late arrival at the post-fight news conference, but had plenty of time to demand a rematch.

“He hits like a girl,” Diaz quipped.

Diaz also said claimed he could beat Anderson Silva, boasted that he’s never paid taxes and offered a few reasons (including the time change) why he didn’t perform up to par.

Whatever the reasons, St-Pierre had Diaz on his back within the opening seconds of the first round and kept Diaz there a large portion of the five-round fight at Bell Centre.

Even when the two were upright, Diaz got the worst of it.

St-Pierre landed 105 of 167 punches, according to FightMetric. Diaz landed 41 of 136 attempts, including only four over the first two rounds. But this was a vintage St-Pierre fight, a calculated one where the longtime champ kept an eye on the clock as he earned the win.

“I thought Georges fought great fight,” UFC president Dana White said. “What did you expect him to do? Did you expect him to go out there and stand toe-to-toe with him for five rounds?”

FIGHT BLOG

Every punch, kick and takedown from UFC 158 is sitting right here.

Maybe, but it was clear that wasn’t happening from the opening seconds of the first. That didn’t stop Diaz from making further attempts to get into St-Pierre’s head, just as Diaz had for the last several months.

The usually reserved St-Pierre was put on the defensive as Diaz’s verbal onslaught attacked everything from St-Pierre’s apparel, to his upbringing, to whether he’s on steroids.

St-Pierre, who denied ever using performance-enhancing drugs, called Diaz an “uneducated fool” and “crazy” in various media functions as Diaz pressed the normally stoic GPS’s buttons.

The capacity hometown crowd took up St-Pierre's defense, chiding Diaz with a chant that included a certain four-letter expletive. And Diaz wasn’t on his best behavior during the first three rounds.

Diaz had to be separated by the referee for walking toward St-Pierre and talking trash after the first and second rounds. After the third round, it looked like he hit St-Pierre after the buzzer had sounded.

THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER

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“I didn’t try to take that shot,” Diaz said. “I just went across his face. I know it sounds (expletive), but I wasn’t going to hit him. I was just really mean out there. I wanted him to hurt me and finish me.”

Exactly who will get the next welterweight title shot was settled in the co-main event in a bout that didn’t lack in action. Johny Hendricks, who was already tagged as the No. 1 contender by the UFC’s official rankings, earned a unanimous decision victory (29-28 on all cards) over Carlos Condit.

Hendricks was originally scheduled to fight Jake Ellenberger at UFC 158. But Condit’s first opponent, Rory MacDonald, was injured in training and Hendricks lobbied to fill in. Hendricks found a worthy competitor in Condit, who was looking to rebound from a loss to St-Pierre in November.

Hendricks said he broke his left hand during the fight.

“I’m banged up, but I will be ready whenever he (St-Pierre) is,” Hendricks said. “He can fight me here in Montreal, or any arena anywhere in the world. That, or I grab Dana White, I hire the Octagon myself, I hire a ref and I show up at his house, ring the door bell and we fight right there on his porch. He’s got nowhere to hide now.”

“I wish Johny the best of luck in his title shot,” Condit said. “He’s earned it. I will be back.”

Jake Ellenberger had the first knockout of the main card, setting up the TKO with a left hook that caught Nate Marquardt on the side of the head. Ellenberger followed it with an overhand right that crumpled Marquardt. Ellenberger finished the fallen Marquardt with a few final, well-placed punches, winning with two minutes left on the clock in the opening round.

On a fight card loaded with the UFC’s top welterweights, the fact that Ellenberger made short work of Marquardt is a good argument for him to be considered among the stacked division’s elite.

“This is no doubt the biggest KO of my life and it puts me right there for a title fight or No 1. contender fight,” Ellenberger said.

Mike Ricci eased to a unanimous-decision victory over Colin Fletcher (30-27 on all cards) in the first bout on the main card. It was Ricci’s first fight since he lost to Colton Smith at the finale of The Ultimate Fighter 16 in December.

“I grew up wanting to win in the Octagon and I’ve spent six years on a road of blood and sweat to make sure I got here,” Ricci said.

Chris Camozzi ran his UFC winning streak up to four consecutive fights with a split-decision win over Nick Ring (29-28, 28-29, 29-28).

“It was a tough fight,” Camozzi said. “He fought in a weird style, which was hard to figure out. I did more damage and I think that’s what the judges went on.”

And notable yet not on the main card, Patrick Cote, a hometown favorite, got some very favorable judging in the final fight broadcast on FX.

After it appeared the fighters split the first two rounds, Bobby Voelker — a former Strikeforce fighter making his UFC debut — completely dominated the third. He had Cote on his back, taking strikes against the cage for much of the third.

No matter. The judges gave the fight to Cote, by unanimous decision no less (29-28 on all cards).

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