Georges St-Pierre came back with a vengeance tonight at UFC 154, gaining a unanimous decision win over Carlos Condit, the toughest challenger he has faced in his career to date. GSP came out looking fresh early, landing a few jabs before taking Condit down with his unstoppable takedowns and landing an elbow that cut the challenger immediately.
The scene was similar in the second when GSP opened up the cut and blood poured out of Condit's hairline. It looked like it was going to be a typical domination from St-Pierre until Condit landed a devastating head kick to GSP's temple in the third and nearly had the champ out and finished. St-Pierre recovered and ended the round on top, but it was two rounds to one heading into the fourth.
St-Pierre was able to fully recover and continually get top position on Condit in rounds four and five, but despite wearing a crimson mask, a game Condit did not give up or go away. It was an incredible comeback for GSP, as he looked fresh, unpredictable and hungry to finish more than he has in many of his fights before his injury.
St-Pierre remains the undisputed champion and salvaged what could have been an otherwise disappointing night for the faithful in Montreal and throughout the rest of the country.
It was another tough night in the cage for Thamesford, Ontario featherweight Mark Hominick as he lost his fourth fight in a row with a tough loss to Pablo Garza. The first round was one of the best of the night and Hominick won it using his precision striking to knock Garza down with a liver shot. Garza landed a heavy shot at the end of the round to cut Hominick badly and turn the tide. He scored takedowns early in rounds two and three and battered Hominick from the top. The veteran Canadian looked a bloody mess at the end and it may be a while before we see The Machine in the cage again.
It was the best Rafael Dos Anjos we have seen to date in his unanimous decision win over Mark Bocek. Dos Anjos used incredible takedown defence and pinpoint striking to shut down Bocek at every turn but the Canadian pushed forward throughout the fight. In the end, Dos Anjos was just too physically superior for Bocek and he should be in line for a big fight in the near future.
“I watched Mark’s previous fights and he always comes with the same combination," Dos Anjos said. "I could tell he got frustrated, but I was prepared for him. This has been a good year for me. I got three wins and I’m ready to keep going and improving.”
Tristar's John Makdessi put on a counterjabbing clinic against Sam Stout on his way to a unanimous decision win. Stout was the aggressor all night, but Makdessi was quicker and smarter in his approach as he caught Stout coming in and was able to successfully defend all takedown attempts. It is Makdessi's most impressive and prominent win of his career.
“I trained very hard for this fight. It’s a roller coaster ride of emotion, but I’m very happy to be here," Makdessi said. "I train and I fight, and I’m so thankful I can do that. I’ve been working on my wrestling and striking. Striking is second nature to me. My game plan was to counter and focus on my footwork. I saw him rushing and I knew he was getting desperate so I played it smart. I feel very fortunate right now.”
In one of the most bizarre finishes in UFC history, Patrick Cote defeated Alessio Sakara via commission disqualification. The fight was a flash war, with Cote hurting Sakara early with his right hand before Sakara turned the tide and landed some vicious elbows, dropping Cote to the canvas. He went in for the finish, and proceeded to land nine consecutive illegal hammerfists to the back of Cote's head ending the fight. Referee Dan Mirgliotta mistakenly did not step in and issue any type of warning before the fight was stopped.
In a bizarre turn of events, the decision was announced as a disqualification, giving Cote the victory. It was a very controversial decision no matter which way you look at it.
“I was expecting a war with Alessio and that’s exactly what he gave me, but there are rules for a reason," Cote said.
Ivan Menjivar was his calm, cerebral self in his matchup against debut fighter Azamat Gashimov. Gashimov showed a strength advantage early in taking Menjivar down to his back and getting top position. He could not do any damage though, and Menjivar used beautiful defence and jiu-jitsu to set his opponent up for a deadly Russian armbar submission at 2:44 of the first round.
Menjivar payed homage to the legend Royce Gracie in his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan.
“I did it like Royce Gracie," Menjivar said. "I let him punch me and then I submitted him. He had the takedown and landed a few punches. I saw his mistake and grabbed his arm.”
It wasn't his best or prettiest fight, but Antonio Carvalho used effective leg kicks and good defence to take out veteran Rodrigo Damm in a tight split decision. Both fighters fought from the outside all night with only one exchange in tight and there were spattering boos from the Montreal fans.
Despite the win, Carvalho was critical of his performance.
“I didn’t execute the stuff we worked on in the gym," he said. "It just didn’t happen tonight. I got the win, but I wasn’t happy with my performance. I was being efficient with some things, like my leg kicks, but couldn’t get my hands going. My footwork was off and I was very stiff."
Francis Carmont was on the lucky side of a somewhat bad decision in his fight with Tom Lawlor as the judges scored a split-decision win for the French fighter turned Canadian. Lawlor seemed to control the fight using his wrestling throughout, snuffing Carmont against the cage or on his back for a lot of the fight. Carmont did land the better strikes and get some reversals in the fight, but the decision was definitely questionable.
“Tom was a very good wrestler," Carmont said. "It wasn’t an easy fight. I’m happy with the win, but I’ll need to go back work on a few things.”
Once again, it was a very successful night for the UFC in Montreal and most of the credit goes to Georges St-Pierre.
Dwight Wakabayashi is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report MMA and guest blogger for Sportsnet.ca UFC. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand.
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