Why UFC 158 Is Welterweight Heavy

Written by MMARecap Staff on . Posted in Dissection

UFC 158 Poster

UFC 158 Poster

When it was announced that UFC 158 would be headlined by Georges St-Pierre taking on Nick Diaz, everyone was up in arms about it. Why on Earth was Diaz getting the shot against St-Pierre instead of Johny Hendricks. The answer is because St-Pierre asked for Diaz after defeating Condit and UFC president Dana White complied.

The two were supposed to fight back in October of 2011 when Diaz became one of the first fighters to be imported from Strikeforce. Unfortunately for Diaz, he missed multiple required pr appearances and White decided to give Carlos Condit the fight against St-Pierre. Diaz then fought BJ Penn in a new main event after St-Pierre had to withdraw from the Condit fight due to injury.

This lead to Diaz fighting Condit for an interim title in February of 2012 and Diaz was the good fighter who showed up to all of the press requirements. He lost a controversial decision to Condit, many citing Condit’s game plan wasn’t that of fighting. But it wasn’t an issue anyways because Diaz tested positive for marijuana and was given a suspension.

Unlike many who have been suspended for testing positive for a banned substance, Diaz decided to fight it and even took the athletic commission to court. His attempt to get his suspension shortened or even revoked completely was denied, and now we are nearing the end of his suspension.

So when one combines the amount of injuries that forced changes to cards in 2012 with Diaz’s erratic behavior, one needs to have insurance. In this case for UFC 158, it’s back up plans. Not just a plan B, but likely a plan C and a plan D are either in place, or have been thought of just in case.

The rest of the card that has been announced so far features three other welterweight fights. The co-main event has Jake Ellenberger taking on Johny Hendricks in what is probably Hendricks’s fourth number one contender fight. Keep in mind he has knocked out two of his last three opponents and is on a five fight win streak. Hendricks is likely the first person that will get called to the main event should something happen to either Diaz or St-Pierre. Ellenberger is a good second choice being that he is 5-1 over the last two years, but Hendricks no doubt will be getting the first call up.

Also on the card is a grudge match between Carlos Condit and Rory MacDonald. In MacDonald’s second UFC fight he battled Condit and was winning on all the judges’ scorecards. That was until there was seven seconds left and Condit landed a clean punch and followed it up with more forcing the ref to stop it. Since then Condit has defeated three others before ultimately fighting St-Pierre and losing. MacDonald has stated he won’t fight St-Pierre, but should something happen to the Hendricks-Ellenberger fight, it is possible that one of these two steps up to fight whoever gets left out of the title fight.

But if the UFC decides to keep the grudge match between Condit and MacDonald, another interesting welterweight battle is on the card. Strikeforce veteran Bobby Voelker is set to take on Patric Cote in his welterweight debut. Voelker who fought only on the Challengers cards for Strikeforce amassed a 4-1 record with three finishes. Cote is coming off the DQ victory over Alessio Sakara, but realized in that fight he was too small for the UFC’s middleweight division after being away for nearly two years. And like Condit-MacDonald could replace someone, Cote and Voelker would also be interesting matchups.

Given the history that transpired not only in 2012, but with Georges St-Pierre and Nick Diaz, this move is a smart one by the UFC. It ensures that there are several options should something happen and the fighters are also prepared for it as well. It will be interesting to see if the UFC decides to add another welterweight fight to the card and make the entire PPV a single weight class much like they did in 2012 with an all heavyweight main card.

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