The talk heading into the UFC 158 co-main event between Carlos Condit (28-6) and Johny Hendricks (15-1) was whether it would be Condit’s technical prowess and speed that would prevail, or Hendricks’ freight-train-like power.
Spoiler alert: It was the power of Hendricks.
As the Canadian faithful at the Bell Centre in Montreal looked on, “The Natural Born Killer” and “Big Rig” decided to live up to their monikers and give the fans in attendance an absolute classic that saw Hendricks defeat Condit via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
Round one saw Hendricks open with a frenetic flurry of overhand left hands, some of which made their way through Condit’s famed defensive guard. As Condit weathered the early storm from “Big Rig,” he began to work his own attack of stiff jabs and flashy high kicks. As the round came to a close, Condit dropped for a Kimura on Hendricks and briefly had his back.
The second round was more of the same as Hendricks, with a wild eyed approach, stalked Condit and swung wild hooks looking to floor Condit like he had so many opponents before. This round also saw Condit land his best strike – a jumping knee that Hendricks ate and subsequently used to power into a spectacular single-leg takedown.
And that was the story of the fight: Hendricks’ power and his successful use of well-timed takedowns.
As the final frame approached, the former two-time National Champion from Oklahoma State was on his way to an over 90-percent takedown completion rating (11/13). The two welterweights used the third round to engage in a wild back-and-forth that saw both fighters in various spots of trouble. As the fight closed out, Condit stunned Hendricks with a left hook and then engaged in a vicious clinch battle to end this classic dogfight.
Post-fight an elated Hendricks credited Condit for being one of the tougher tests of his career, “Carlos is tougher than hell, man. I told you we would steal the show, and me and Carlos did that. I thank you, Carlos. You’re one hell of a fighter.”
And when asked if he was surprised at the damage Condit was able to endure, “Hell no! I’ve seen him get hit by some tough dudes,” said Hendricks.
“I knew I wasn’t going to be able to put him out, so I tried to fight smart and get the win.”
For Condit this marks his first back-to-back losing streak in his storied career. With an impeccable championship-level resume and a star-studded camp at his disposal, they’ll be no shortage of fans wanting to see “The Natural Born Killer” back in the UFC, sooner rather than later.
Hendricks is now on a six-fight winning streak in the UFC welterweight division with wins over Jon Fitch, Josh Koscheck and Martin Kampmann. For Hendricks, he knows exactly what he wants next, “GSP, if you win tonight, I want to see you here in five months.”
As the crowd in attendance booed, Hendricks continued, “Please, Georges, give me the shot. If not, I’ll go to your house, hire a ref, and we can do something about it.”