UFC 154 in Montreal certainly lived up to the hype. Interim welterweight champion Carlos 'The Natural Born Killer' Condit gave champion Georges 'Rush' St. Pierre everything he could handle despite dropping every round to all but one judge.
GSP utilized his mastery of distance through footwork to dominate with crisp stand up, and then took the fight to the mat where he repeatedly passed from guard to half guard to deliver punches in bunches and elbows. Early in the fight GSP opened a big gash on the side of Condit’s head. From that point on, Condit looked less enthusiastic about engaging.
GSP’s movement, distance and jab---which he used far less than he should have---made a very fast fighter with excellent footwork of his own look slow and lethargic. But in the third frame a combination punch-punch-high kick to the temple put GSP down, and Condit got top control and nearly finished the fight. The Quebecer’s wrestling saved him from the brink of losing in the first fight he's had in over 18 months.
Condit has recently beaten top contenders like Rory MacDonald, Jake Ellenberger, and Nick Diaz, in fine fashion too. Despite fans wanting a finish from the champion, and despite a close shave in the third, the fight was an impressive shutout for the Canadian.
Middleweight champion Anderson ‘The ‘Spider’ Silva was in the house, and had stated publically that he may enter the cage and challenge GSP to a superfight. That didn’t happen. It may, in time, according to UFC president Dana White, but it’s difficult even for hard-core GSP fans like myself to imagine him having a chance against the world’s pound for pound king, who also weighs at least twenty pounds more than GSP, especially considering the challenge he had with Condit.
Speaking of a possible super fight GSP said, “I need to take a vacation and think about what’s the best decision for me, my family, fans, and the UFC.”
Welcome back, GSP.
In a welterweight contender bout, Johny 'Bigg Rigg' Hendricks won via brutal KO early in round one, against a tough technical striker, Martin 'The Hitman' Kampmann. Kampmann recently beat Thiago Alves, a powerful Muay Thai fighter who gave the Dane everything he had before losing via submission. For that reason, some doubted Hendricks ability to finish Kampmann. Doubt no more.
Hendricks also finished John Fitch, something no one else had done---not even GSP---and poses a serious threat to GSP. The American is a two time NCAA champion wrestler to boot, and although he’s not the best technical striker around, packs an incredible Wallop.
“You may be the heaviest puncher in the UFC,” Joe Rogan told him. Pound for pound, Rogan might be right.
“It’s funny,” Hendricks said after the fight, “I just started hitting that combo a week ago. It came to me in a dream. I was like, ‘What if this works?’ Sure enough, it did.”
Kampmann has had hot and cold streaks before, so it’s hard to say if Hendricks beat a hot Kampmann, or one starting another cold run. It was an impressive win, though, one that should set him up with a shot at GSP, unless GSP takes the super fight.
Either way, GSP has his work cut out for him, and won’t be able to vacation for long.
Click here for all the results.
Follow me on Twitter @RenkoStyranka