After a beautiful performance by Jake Ellenberger in the bout before, co-main event participants Carlos Condit and Johny Hendricks were determined to keep the momentum of the night on an upward trend as they were hoping to show the UFC’s welterweight division is among the most talented and deepest divisions in the world.
The winner of this bout would earn themselves a shot at the winner of the UFC 158 main event between Georges St-Pierre and Nick Diaz for the 170-pound title, so there was a lot on the line.
Condit vs. Hendricks was a match up of Reach vs. Power and it was a fan-favorite pick to be fight of the night heading in to the pay-per view. Did the bout deliver?
Hendricks came out in his typical fashion pushing forward and swinging to land his wild, powerful bombs. The pressure overwhelmed Condit early, before Hendricks picked up his opponent and slammed him to the ground. Hendricks continued to come forward with his pressure and took the fight to the ground looking to light up Condit with some ground-and-pound.
While the two were on the ground, Condit was active off of his back and keeping Hendricks in his guard. Condit controlled Hendrick’s posture as he was throwing elbows and looking for some submissions from the bottom.
Hendricks was very aware of what was going on and he let Condit back to his feet, where the pace slowed down. Condit was hanging in there on the feet before a scramble led to “The Natural Born Killer” being on Hendrick’s back near the end of the first-round before the two exchanged a flurry of punches before the bell sounded.
The second-round picked up where it left off with the two welterweights swinging for the fences and exchanging heavy blows. Hendricks was using his bombs to open Condit up for the takedown attempts. He was six-for-six midway through the second-round, however, he couldn’t seem to keep Condit on the mat.
The two kept up the furious pace throughout the second round as they entered the final frame in a close fight — though Hendricks appeared to have the edge with his takedowns.
Between rounds, Hendricks informed his corner that he had an injured left hand.
The hand injury altered Hendricks plan in the final round as he aborted the heavy strikes in favor of shooting for a takedown and controlling Condit on the ground. While Hendricks was attempting to grind out the third-round, Condit stayed very active and was throwing elbows and working for submissions. Condit created some space and the two men worked their way back to the feet with two minutes to go.
Condit landed a solid punch that stumbled Hendricks who unsuccessfully looked to tie up the clinch. Condit was getting the better of the exchanges as the round was coming to a close, but Hendricks was able to hang on and score one final takedown.
The crowd was out of control and on their feet after the Fight of the Year candidate that they had just witnessed.
When the scorecards were read, all three judges scored the bout 29-28 in favor of the No. 1 contender, Johny Hendricks.
Be sure to stay tuned to FanSided.com all night long as we keep you up to date on the news and results from UFC 158: St-Pierre vs. Diaz. For those looking for a way to watch the pay-per view online, we have you covered with these live stream details.