MONTREAL – With the world's best fighter looking on, Georges St-Pierre didn't show any ring rust in his return after more than 18 months away from the Octagon.
He was slightly more aggressive, but otherwise the same old Georges St-Pierre in taking apart Carlos Condit before an unbelievably loud crowd at the Bell Centre to retain his welterweight title in the main event of UFC 154.
St-Pierre, who hadn't fought since April 30, 2011, because of a major knee injury, looked superb. He repeatedly took Condit down and was aggressive from the top, throwing punches and elbows.
He won a unanimous decision by scores of 50-45 twice and 49-46. Afterward, he wouldn't commit to the fight with middleweight champion Anderson Silva.
"I need to take some vacation and think about it," St-Pierre said.
Silva traveled to Montreal from Brazil to challenge St-Pierre and hype a potential fight. His reaction in the cage was a letdown, as the crowd was incredibly amped and hoping for him to challenge Silva.
He did not, but that was probably the only mistake he made. Condit was tough and knocked St-Pierre down with a kick to the head in the third, but ultimately couldn’t stop St-Pierre’s takedowns.
After the bout, St-Pierre walked to Condit and said, "You're the best fighter I ever fought."
But St-Pierre proved why he's one of the best two or three fighters in the world, pummeling Condit with punches and elbows and defusing his great offense.
If St-Pierre decides to forgo a fight against Anderson Silva, he’ll have at least one man with legitimate claim to a title shot waiting for him.
Johny Hendricks used to get beaten up regularly by Martin Kampmann when they trained together at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas. But when it counted, Hendricks got revenge in a massive way.
He landed a right hand and followed it with a crushing left that knocked Kampmann down and out. Referee Dan Miragliotta stopped it at 46 seconds of the first.
The win should cement Hendricks as the No. 1 contender at welterweight. He had a similar knockout against Jon Fitch in 2011.
"Kampmann is a tough dude and I knew he had a chance to beat me," Hendricks said. "But I am the No. 1 contender now. Please, please give me a [title] shot!"
Tom Lawlor seemed to get the short end of a bad decision in a three-round middleweight fight, dropping a split card to Francis Carmont.
It was a slow fight highlighted by battling for position against the cage. It prompted the crowd to boo frequently, but most of the offense that occurred seemed to be initiated by Lawlor.
Lawlor finished both the first and second rounds by catching Carmont in guillotine chokes. The choke at the end of the first seemed particularly tight, but Carmont wiggled out as the bell sounded.
Rafael dos Anjos outgrappled Mark Bocek, taking a clear unanimous decision victory in their lightweight bout. Dos Anjos had an advantage on both the feet and the ground en route to winning a 30-27 decision on all three cards.
Bocek was unable to mount much offense, as dos Anjos repeatedly controlled the positioning. Bocek's left eye was mangled from punches and elbows by dos Anjos.
"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."
In the pay-per-view opener, the UFC career of Mark Hominick may have come to an ignominious end on Saturday when he lost a unanimous decision to Pablo Garza.
Garza controlled the fight throughout and didn't allow Hominick to get his hands untracked. Garza ripped him several times with good knees and cut him over and under the left eye.
Hominick has now lost four in a row over the last 18 months, putting himself in jeopardy of being cut.
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