- UFC 154
GSP wins Fight of Year contender, unsure on Silva
Georges St-Pierre made a spectacular return at UFC 154, beating Carlos Condit in one of the fights of the year, but he remains undecided over a superfight with Anderson Silva.
St-Pierre returned from a 19-month absence with an explosive display against Condit, whom he dominated on the feet and outgrappled for large parts of the fight. However, he had to survive major adversity in the third round when Condit dropped him with a head kick, eventually taking a unanimous 49-46 50-45 50-45 decision.
All eyes immediately turned to Silva - present in the crowd - at the end of the bout, but St-Pierre refused to commit to the superfight that is on everybody's lips.
"I need to take some vacation and think about it," St-Pierre said. "I want to make the best choice for my career and for my fans.
"Carlos gave me my toughest fight. He's a great mixed martial artist."
St-Pierre's takedowns are, quite simply, unstoppable. Condit did not stuff one all night, and for the first two rounds he was outclassed. GSP lifted the roof off the Bell Centre with his first takedown, and by the end of round one Condit was cut badly by a razor-sharp elbow.
There was more of the same in the second, and GSP was even beating Condit up on his feet. The jab was popping and the right hand was landing, bloodying up the American as Dana White tweeted: "It looks like Friday 13th in there."
However, a turning point almost came in round three, when Condit dropped GSP with a head kick and pounced all over him. The champion did not buckle this time though - as he did in his last loss to Matt Serra - and he actually finished the round the more dominant fighter.
GSP re-asserted his dominance in the fourth, although Condit was still active with armbar and triangle attempts. But by the end, with over 17,000 fans roaring him on, GSP tore into his rival - announcing his return to the top of the welterweight food chain in style.
The most unlucky man in the building in Montreal may be Johny Hendricks, who may have to wait his turn for a title shot despite an explosive 46-second knockout of Martin Kampmann in the co-main event. Hendricks is now on a five-fight win streak, including victories over Jon Fitch and Josh Koscheck, and he will certainly walk away with another Knockout of the Night bonus.
Hendricks had told ESPN prior to fight night that he hates quick finishes, but he is making a habit of them. Having ended Fitch in 12 seconds, he this time crumpled Kampmann with only his second assault.
Leading with the right hook, it was the powerbomb left that landed, sending a frozen Kampmann sliding across the canvas. "Please, please give me a title shot", Hendricks begged in his post-fight interview, but his future will be determined by the outcome of negotiations involving St-Pierre and Silva.
In the middleweight division, Francis Carmont failed to live up to the hype as he claimed a controversial 29-28 28-29 29-28 split decision over Tom Lawlor. Carmont failed to throw in combinations and twice had to survive submission attempts as Lawlor controlled the Octagon. Neither man impressed Dana White, who tweeted: "Who cares? They both lost that fight."
A lightweight title contender may just be emerging in the shape of Rafael dos Anjos, who produced a seriously impressive display to beat Mark Bocek 30-27 on all three scorecards. On April 30, 2011, Benson Henderson dominated Bocek en route to the title, and Dos Anjos matched that effort in Canada.
Showing great hands and plenty of flair when striking, Dos Anjos messed up the eyes of Bocek, who simply could not take his man to the ground. Dos Anjos had the advantage everywhere, taking Bocek down and doing more damage on the mat, and he can expect a big fight next after making it three wins on the bounce.
In the featherweight division, Pablo Garza snapped a two-fight losing streak and inflicted a fourth straight loss on Mark Hominick, after he shut the Canadian down for a unanimous 29-27 30-26 29-28 decision victory.
The first stanza was epic as Hominick dropped Garza with a liver shot, but ate several combos as the American answered. Garza then turned to his ground game for rounds two and three, cutting Hominick up with elbows for an impressive win.
Controversy marred the middleweight battle of Patrick Cote and Alessio Sakara, which was won via disqualification by Cote after Sakara landed eight illegal strikes to the back of the head.
In a wild 86 seconds of action, Cote rocked Sakara but then got dropped by some sharp elbows from the Italian. Sakara then looked to finish but delivered eight hammer fists to the back of the head, which went completely overlooked by referee Dan Miragliotta.
"I was caught up in the moment and the adrenaline of the fight. It was unintentional and I'm very sorry," a disappointed Sakara said.
At light-heavyweight, Cyrille Diabate finally lived up to his "Snake" moniker, earning his first submission in the UFC against Chad Griggs. In a superb example of strike-hurt-submit, Diabate dropped Griggs with a right hand before working for the rear naked choke at 2.24 of round one.
England's John Maguire failed to bounce back from defeat to John Hathaway against Matt Riddle, dropping a 30-27 30-27 29-28 decision. Maguire boxed well in the opening two rounds and arguably won the second, but Riddle controlled the Octagon and maintained forward pressure for the victory.
Maguire might want to consider a future in the lightweight division, where he would find John Makdessi, who snapped a two-fight losing streak to beat Sam Stout. Makdessi landed stiff jabs all night against Stout, throwing in a few head kicks for good measure, and he walked off with a unanimous 30-27 29-28 30-27 decision.
Ivan Menjivar produced a superb contender for Submission of the Night against Azamat Gashimov, locking on a belly-down armbar that instantly popped Gashimov's arm. The pair had exchanged some heavy hooks early on, but Menjivar's finish was special at 2.44 of round one.
Elsewhere, Darren Elkins was in dominant form against Steven Siler, boosting his recent record to 4-0 at featherweight. Elkins threatened with multiple submission attempts throughout the 15 minutes, taking the bout 30-27 on the cards of all three judges.
And Antonio Carvalho beat Rodrigo Damm in a highly technical featherweight battle, marginally outstriking his man for a 29-28 28-29 29-28 split decision.
UFC 154 results:
Georges St-Pierre bt Carlos Condit via unanimous decision (49-46 50-45 50-45)
Johny Hendricks bt Martin Kampmann via KO at 0.46 of round 1
Francis Carmont bt Tom Lawlor via split decision (29-28 28-29 29-28)
Rafael dos Anjos bt Mark Bocek via unanimous decision (30-27 30-27 30-27)
Pablo Garza bt Mark Hominick via unanimous decision (29-27 30-26 29-28)
Patrick Cote bt Alessio Sakara via disqualification due to illegal strikes to back of head
Cyrille Diabate bt Chad Griggs via rear naked choke at 2.24 of round 1
John Makdessi bt Sam Stout via unanimous decision 30-27 29-28 30-27
Antonio Carvalho bt Rodrigo Damm via split decision (29-28 28-29 29-28)
Matt Riddle bt John Maguire via unanimous decision )30-27 30-27 29-28)
Ivan Menjivar bt Azamat Gashimov via armbar 2.44 of round 1
Darren Elkins bt Steven Silver via unanimous decision (30-27 30-27 30-27)