By: William Holmes
The UFC returned to the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada for the UFC Welterweight title fight between Georges St. Pierre and former Strikeforce Welterweight Champion Nick Diaz. The Bell Centre was packed from the opening preliminary bout to the much anticipated main event, a start contrast to many boxing events.
Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
The first fight of the pay per view card was between Mike Ricci (7-3) and Colin Fletcher (8-2) in the lightweight division. Both Ricci and Fletcher made their way to the UFC by way of The Ultimate Fighter, both stood over six feet tall, and both were extremely tall for the welterweight division and looked like two skeletons fighting inside of the octagon.
The undercard was filled with exciting bouts, especially the last bout of the night between Patrick Cote and Bobby Voelker. The first bout of the pay per view portion of the card was a dull and lackluster affair. Ricci connected with a few crisp straight left hands and scored a takedown in the second round. Fletcher suffered a cut under his right eye in the second round. Fletcher never really pressed the action and Ricci seemed content with landing an occasional jab or leg kick from the outside. Ricci secured the victory with a takedown in the third round and he even took Fletcher’s back and threatened him briefly with a rear naked choke and an arm bar. The finals scores were 30-27 on all three judges’ scorecards.
The next bout of the night was between two more The Ultimate Fighter alumni, Chris Camozzi (18-5) and Nick Ring (13-1) in the middleweight division. Both fighters were southpaws and Ring started off the fight strong with consistent leg kicks and counter right hands, but a cut opened up under his eye in the first round. Camozzi began to come on strong in the second round and began to land his straight left hand and knees. He did have some blood coming out of his nose, but he completely dominated the third round. Ring was visibly tiring and was eating combinations and jabs from Camozzi. It was a close fight, but Camozzi’s third round dominance helped seal the victory. The finals scores were 29-28 Camozzi, 29-28 Ring, and 29-28 Camozzi
Jake Ellenberger (28-6) and Nate Marquardt (32-11-2) fought next in the welterweight division. This was Marquardt’s first fight since losing his Strikeforce Welterweight title.
After two lackluster bouts, Ellenberger delivered an exciting knockout and woke up the crowd. Marquardt suffered an early cut under his left eye from a right hook by Ellenberger, and Marquardt appeared to focus his attack on Ellenberger with leg kicks. Ellenberger remained true to his aggressive style and landed a vicious straight left hook right hook combination that dropped Marquardt, and he followed it up with more right hooks that left Marquardt unconscious. The fight was called off and Ellenberger won by KO at 3:00 of round one.
Carlos Condit (28-6) and Johny Hendricks (14-1) met in the welterweight division for the right to be called the number one contender. This bout was by far the most entertaining bout on the undercard.
Hendricks came out early by landing his vaunted left hook several times in the first round. They set a blistering pace early and exchanged combinations with reckless abandon. Hendricks however resorted to his wrestling ability whenever he was threatened and took Condit down several times throughout the fight.
Condit was told to “apply the pressure” by his corner prior to the start of the second round and he listened to his corner. He was taken down early in the second round, but he was active from the bottom and connected with some quick short elbows. Condit landed a couple of flying knees, but again he gave up several takedowns. Condit’s best round was the third round. Hendricks complained to his corner before the start of the last round that his left hand was hurt, but he started off the round by throwing wild left hands. Condit hurt Hendricks with a beautiful right hook in the third round was able to get back to his feet immediately after being taken down.
The takedowns were the difference in the fight, and Hendricks won a close decision by scores of 29-28 on all three scorecards.
Nick Diaz (26-8) was the first fighter to come out for the main event, and to the surprise of nobody he was heavily booed. The champion, Georges St. Pierre (23-2), was the second man to come out and Montreal crowd loudly cheered on their hometown favorite.
St. Pierre executed his game plan perfectly. He took Diaz down right away and began a vicious ground and pound assault on Diaz in the first round. The crowd was chanting “Ole, Ole, Ole” and “GSP, GSP” and were extremely loud. Diaz was completely dominated in the first round and St. Pierre quite possibly won a 10-8 round.
The crowd and the action inside the octagon remained intense throughout the fight.
St. Pierre continued to dominate Diaz in the second round in both the stand up and ground game. St. Pierre began to land vicious knees to the body of Diaz and short elbows. Diaz was able to finally get back to his feet after being taken down again, but he immediately ate another superman jab.
Diaz began the third round by trash talking his opponent, and St. Pierre responded by landing two jabs. St. Pierre also landed a crisp two punch combination in the third. Diaz however stuffed his first takedown of the night in the third round. After being taken down again, Diaz showed his frustration after bell rang and swung at St. Pierre.
It was clear that Diaz needed a knockout to win the last two rounds. Diaz continued to have a moderate amount of success with stopping St. Pierre’s takedowns, but St. Pierre still dominated Diaz on their feet and when he took Diaz down.
At the end, the crowd continued to egg on Diaz by chanting expletives in his direction. St. Pierre cleanly won on all three cards with a 50-45 sweep. Diaz announced his intention to retire at the end of the fight, but this won’t be the first time he’s announced he’s announced his desire to stop fighting.