All Five Rounds
Welcome to another edition of “All Five Rounds”, our weekly look at a few of the biggest headlines around the world of mixed martial arts, and the only column that you need to read in order to keep pace with the sport’s biggest promotions.
Since the controversial end to UFC 167 in Las Vegas, both the MMA fan base and related sports media have been buzzing with rumors of what’s truly going on with George St. Pierre and his personal life, while the rest of the sport and more specifically, the welterweight division, waits to see if one of the most dominant champions in the company’s history chooses to return.
In this edition of A5R, will take a look at the ongoing saga of GSP, preview the main event for the upcoming T.U.F. finale, and reveal the latest rankings of the UFC’s currently chaotic welterweight division.
Where Do We Go from Here?
If you happened to be one of the many millions who witnessed UFC 167’s welterweight title fight between reigning champ George St. Pierre and the division’s top contender Johny Hendricks, there’s a strong possibility that regardless of who you believe actually won the contest, your evening ended in frustration.
There’s no doubt that his vicious combination of power punches and experience as an elite wrestler presented GSP with the most difficult challenge of his storied career, but beyond the top contender’s lethal skill-set and ability to penetrate the champ’s defense, Hendricks unleashed a beating of near-epic proportions upon the future Hall of Famer, leaving St. Pierre with the physical appearance of a man who had just been soundly defeated.
Immediately following the announcement, GSP was clearly shaken and wisely chose not to elaborate any further after stating that he needed to “step away for a while”, despite the obvious confusion that the champion’s comments had caused.
Without fully committing to retirement, GSP has only further complicated the situation in an already complex division with numerous legitimate title contenders. Whether it’s Hendricks, Carlos Condit, Rory MacDonald, Martin Kampmann, or even Robbie Lawler, there’s no shortage of 170-pounders qualified to face-off in a bout between two of the division’s most deserving combatants with the victor taking home the belt if St. Pierre never competes again.
But as any die-hard fan of the sport will tell you, it’s not that simple now that Hendricks has come so close to dethroning one of MMA’s greatest fighters. Outside of the fact that many believe GSP owes the welterweight championship and the men who hope to one day attain it more than to just walk away without a definitive timetable, St. Pierre knows that at the very least, the beating he took at the hands of Hendricks warramts an immediate rematch.
Not surprisingly, UFC president Dana White was visibly upset during the post-fight press conference at UFC 167 after hearing St. Pierre’s announcement, and since then, has spent much of his time in the media lashing out at the Nevada State Athletic Commission over the split-decision.
Meanwhile, the Hendricks camp has begun to prepare for what they feel will be an inevitable rematch, while White has made it fairly clear that he believes that the champ should accept his current situation as a of everyday part of life and fulfill his responsibilities to the UFC
Notable Winners and Losers from UFC 167
The main card at UFC 167 featured several intriguing bouts that were somewhat overshadowed by the high profile main event.
In a light heavyweight matchup, Rashad Evans (24-3-1) beat his friend and co-worker Chael Sonnen (29-14-1) with a first-round knockout, earning his second-straight win and bringing him one step closer to another shot at the 205-pound title.
The welterweights took center stage at UFC 167, and Robbie Lawler (22-9-0, 1 nc) took advantage of the spotlight, earning a split-decision upset victory over top-five, 170-pound contender Rory MacDonald (15-2-0). Not to be outdone, Tyron Woodley (12-2-0) defeated veteran Josh Koscheck (19-8-0) courtesy of a first-round knockout.
Russian flyweight Ali Bagautinov (12-2-0) was also victorious, beating fellow 125-pounder Tim Elliott (10-4-1) in a three-round unanimous decision.
On the preliminary card, lightweight Donald “The Cowboy” Cerrone (21-6-0, 1 nc) submitted Evan Dunham (14-5-0) in the second round for the victory, while Thales Leites (22-4-0) earned a three-round, unanimous decision win over Ed Herman (21-9-0, 1 nc) in a middleweight tilt.
Welterweight Rick Story clearly benefited from his recent training with GSP and company, defeating Brian Ebersole (50-16-1, 1 nc) in a three-round unanimous decision, and bantamweight Erik Perez (14-5-0) also earned a three-round unanimous decision win, defeating Edwin Figueroa (9-4-0).
UFC Welterweight Rankings
With all of the recent action in one of the UFC’s deepest divisions, what better time than now to take a look at the top-10 contenders at 170 pounds in the sport’s premier organization.
1-Johny Hendricks (15-2-0) 2-Carlos Condit (29-7-0) 3-Robbie Lawler (22-9-0) 4-Rory MacDonald (15-2-0) 5-Jake Ellenberger (29-7-0
6-Demain Maia (18-5-0) 7-Jake shields (29-6-1, 1 nc) 8-Matt Brown (20-11-0) 9-Martin Kampmann (20-7-0) 10-Nick Diaz (27-9-1)
Maynard-Diaz Next Main Event
Next up on the UFC schedule is The Ultimate Fighter finale, which will be available free of charge on Fox Sports One for fans everywhere on Saturday, November 30th in Las Vegas Nevada.
In the main event, a pair of lightweights that are in desperate need of a victory will battle it out, as the fifth-ranked 155-pound contender Gray Maynard (12-2-1, 1 nc) takes on the often outspoken Nate Diaz (16-9-0).
In his last appearance inside of the octagon, Maynard was quickly defeated by fellow lightweight contender TJ Grant with a first-round knockout on May 25th, 2013. Once considered to be a favorite to wear the lightweight belt, Maynard has dropped three of his last four fights, earning his most recent win in June of 2012 over Clay Guida.
del Rosario Hospitalized
Earlier this week, UFC heavyweight Shane del Rosario (11-2) was rushed to the hospital after suffering a heart attack and is currently listed in critical condition.
After collapsing at his home, the heavyweight was found to be in “full cardiac arrest” and was resuscitated upon arriving in the emergency room where his condition was then stabilized.
del rosario has fought in Elite XC, M-1 Challenge, Strikeforce, and most recently the UFC, where he has gone 0-2 in bouts against Stipe Miocic and Pat Barry.
A former kickboxer, del Rosario began his career on an 11-fight win streak and had recently been forced to pull out of a fight against Guto Inocente that was scheduled for UFC 168 due to a rib injury.
Currently the eighth-ranked 155-pound contender, Diaz was disposed of by Josh Thompson in the second-round of their bout this past April, and has lost each of his last two trips into the cage with his last win coming in May of 2012 against Jim Miller.