Currently: 83° | Complete forecast | Log in

Fighting:

UFC 158: A glance at the Georges St. Pierre-headlined card on deck

Nick Diaz testing Dana White’s limits once again ahead of Montreal showdown

Image

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Welterweight UFC champion Georges St. Pierre, left, and Nick Diaz pose for photos as they face off during a news conference, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, in Montreal. The two will fight in UFC 158 on March 16.

It almost happened again.

UFC President Dana White nearly pulled Nick Diaz out of a long awaited bout with Georges St. Pierre for a second time after the embattled former Strikeforce champion skipped media obligations. Speaking after UFC 157, White revealed that Diaz cost the company $50,000 by failing to show up for three separate interviews with a camera crew hired by the UFC for promotional purposes.

The elder Diaz brother completed his duties on the fourth attempt, but even then, White said the evasive 29-year-old was “close” to losing his opportunity to fight for the title.

“I hope I don’t even have to think about that,” White said. “It’s the last thing on earth I want to do.”

The clash between St. Pierre and Diaz in the main event of UFC 158 on March 16 in Montreal looks more secure with every passing day. After a year and a half of delays, the UFC is poised to stage the most significant fight available in the welterweight division.

It’s a bout lucrative enough to force Diaz, off of a nine-month suspension for testing positive for marijuana metabolites, out of an announced retirement, albeit one that was never taken too seriously.

“I didn’t think I’d be getting this fight,” Diaz said. “I figured they’d stick me with some hard fights for a while — I’ve got to work my way back into fights and things I want in life. The way I looked at it was I needed time to see things out.”

After an 11-fight win streak, Diaz suffered a unanimous-decision setback to Carlos Condit last year. He figured that dropped him far in the title queue, but Diaz got an unlikely proponent in St. Pierre.

The Canadian superstar, and the UFC’s top pay-per-view draw, asked for a bout against Diaz after enduring years' worth of trash talk.

“He’s going to push me to the edge, and that’s what I appreciate,” St. Pierre said. “He’s going to make the best come out of me.”

That’s assuming Diaz can stay out of trouble with White over the next few days.

“All the fans are like, ‘Shut up Dana; let Nick fight,’” White said. “You shut up, idiots. This is how it works. This is the job. This is what we do. Go to your (expletive) job and tell your boss, ‘I don’t want to do this or that.’ That’s not how it works. It’s part of the job. I’ve shown the Diaz brothers a ton of respect. They can show some respect back.”

Find a list of the rest of the fights scheduled for UFC 158 below and check back to lasvegassun.com for full coverage of the event.

Click to enlarge photo

Johny Hendricks, right, lands a punch against Josh Koscheck during their welterweight bout at UFC on Fox at the Izod Center in E. Rutherford, N.J., on Saturday, May 5, 2012. Hendricks won via three-round split decision.

Welterweight bout: Carlos Condit (28-6 MMA, 5-2 UFC) vs. Johny Hendricks (14-1 MMA, 9-1 UFC) The top two welterweights in the UFC rankings meet, as Hendricks looks for a sixth consecutive victory — and the elusive title shot that should come with it. Condit had won five in a row until his unanimous-decision loss to St. Pierre last November.

Welterweight bout: Jake Ellenberger (28-6 MMA, 7-2 UFC) vs. Nate Marquardt (32-11-2 MMA, 10-4 UFC) White vowed Marquardt would never return to the UFC, but the 33-year-old came over as a virtue of the Strikeforce merger and took this bout on short notice.

Middleweight bout: Nick Ring (13-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC) vs. Chris Camozzi (18-5 MMA, 4-2 UFC) Ring gets another chance to fight in Montreal after he fell ill and pulled out of his UFC 154 bout with Costatinos Philippou hours before it was scheduled to start.

Click to enlarge photo

Colton Smith hits Mike Ricci with a right during their bout at "The Ultimate Fighter 16" Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012, at the Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel. Smith won by unanimous decision.

Lightweight bout: Mike Ricci (7-3 MMA, 0-1 UFC) vs. Colin Fletcher (8-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC) These were runner-ups on recent seasons of “The Ultimate Fighter,” as Ricci fell to Colton Smith by unanimous decision in the 16th season of the American version while Fletcher lost to Norman Parke in “TUF: The Smashes,” which pitted Australia against the United Kingdom.

Welterweight bout: Patrick Cote (18-8 MMA, 5-8 UFC) vs. Bobby Voelker (24-8 MMA, 0-0 UFC) The headlining match of the FX preliminary card pits a Strikeforce crossover, Voelker, against a one-time middleweight top contender, Cote.

Featherweight bout: Antonio Carvalho (15-5 MMA, 2-1 UFC) vs. Darren Elkins (15-2 MMA, 5-1 UFC) He may have done it quietly with all unanimous-decision victories, but Elkins is undefeated at 4-0 since dropping to the 145-pound division two years ago.

Welterweight bout: Dan Miller (14-6 MMA, 6-5 UFC) vs. Jordan Mein (26-8 MMA, 0-0 UFC) Mein was one of Strikeforce’s top prospects but struggled with wrestling, which could be a problem against the bigger Miller.

Click to enlarge photo

Daron Cruickshank of Wayne, Mich. talks with the media during a press conference to announce the cast of UFC's "Ultimate Fighter" reality show at The Ultimate Fighter Gym in Las Vegas on Wednesday, March 7, 2012.

Lightweight bout: John Makdessi (10-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC) vs. Daron Cruickshank (12-2 MMA, 2-0 UFC) Cruickshank memorably knocked out Henry Martinez with a head kick his last time out. The scary part? Makdessi’s striking is just as dynamic.

Welterweight bout: Rick Story (14-6 MMA, 7-4 UFC) vs. Quinn Mulhern (18-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC) Once deemed the next great welterweight after winning six in a row, Story has since crashed by going 1-3 in his past four fights.

Bantamweight bout: T.J. Dillashaw (6-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) vs. Issei Tamura (7-3 MMA, 1-1 UFC) Dillashaw figures as a major favorite in this battle between two ascending 135-pound fighters.

Bantamweight bout: Yves Jabouin (18-8 MMA, 3-2 UFC) vs. Johnny Eduardo (26-9 MMA, 1-1 UFC) A contrast of styles presents itself in the second bout of the night, as Eduardo has 13 career victories by submission while Jabouin has knocked out 11 opponents.

Bantamweight bout: George Roop (12-9-1 MMA, 2-5 UFC) vs. Reuben Duran (8-4-1 MMA, 1-2 UFC) With the UFC continuing to focus on trimming its roster, the loser of this fight doesn’t figure to keep his job with the promotion.

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy