GSP vs. Diaz: What Went Right for Georges St-Pierre at UFC 158
Welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre can breathe a little easier now that his UFC 158 fight against Nick Diaz is in the books. The champion retained in what was one of the classic fights of his career, earning a five-round unanimous decision victory over the challenger.
So what went right for GSP in the fight?
Well, as you can imagine based on the 50-45 judges' scorecards across the board, the answer to that question is pretty simple—just about everything went right for him.
St-Pierre was able to implement his wrestling throughout the fight, landing a total of nine takedowns in the five round fight. Although the 56 percent takedowns he had against Diaz was lower than his career UFC record 76 percent takedowns, St-Pierre was still able to control the fight by keeping Diaz uncomfortable and on his heels.
Not only did the takedowns themselves score points, but Diaz was noticeably worried about being taken to the mat throughout the contest. This allowed St-Pierre to land his now famous left jab over and over again. The speed in which it lands makes it almost undefendable in an MMA bout and allowed St-Pierre to do what many thought was impossible by also controlling the standup against one of the best boxers in MMA.
We saw Diaz actually stuff a few of GSP's shots, which was certainly impressive, but it also prevented the Stockton, Calif. native from implementing much of his own boxing style. When Diaz did finally get something going on the feet in the fourth round, St-Pierre simply shot in and dragged him to the mat, stealing the round away yet again.
St-Pierre also stayed very solid in his base from the top, utilizing his ground-and-pound to smother Diaz while remaining very safe and away from any potential submissions.
Although Diaz looked for submissions from his back many times throughout the fight, GSP was simply too fluid in his transitions to allow any opportunity for something to be locked in. At no point did it even look like Diaz was coming close to an armbar, a triangle or any other submission from the bottom.
In the post-fight interview in the cage with Joe Rogan, Diaz even spoke of St-Pierre's ability to know what Diaz was going to do before it happened. Diaz recalled a moment late in the fight when he was attempting to roll through a position and end up with a knee bar, but St-Pierre scouted it perfectly and stopped it before it got anywhere.
I said before the fight that Nick Diaz would have to fight the perfect fight to beat Georges St-Pierre. As it turned out, it was St-Pierre himself who turned in a near-perfect performance and one that will keep the UFC gold around his waist for at least a few more months.