UFC 154: St. Pierre vs. Condit Review – The Champ Is Back

My review of UFC 154: St. Pierre vs. Condit, which featured the greatest welterweight of all-time and the guy he’s now afraid of.

Georges St. Pierre def. Carlos Condit: GSP IS BACK! No really, he’s back, and maybe he’s not quite better than ever, but he definitely didn’t show signs of ring rust or injury worries. For the better part of 25 minutes, St. Pierre dominated Condit with his superior wrestling and grappling. It would’ve been a clean sweep for the champ had he not gotten lazy on a reset and caught with a well placed headkick by Condit. The kick dropped GSP, but he showed great instincts to recover, and not only survive, but to come back and steal the round with a takedown and top control. It looked like GSP slowed down a bit in the 5th round as Condit started to land some good strikes, but as he did throughout the fight, GSP got a takedown and busted up Condit with punches and elbows. Given the circumstances, this was a fantastic performance from GSP. He came back from an 18 month layoff and one of the worst injuries in sports to pretty much dominate the second best fighter in the weight class. Even the scare in the third round showed just how much heart he has. If GSP was ever going to be caught, this would’ve been the fight. Instead he looked like nothing had changed. And now, as long as GSP agrees to it, we should get St. Pierre vs. Anderson Silva in what is the biggest fight of all-time. We’re this close to that fight, and while I still have my doubts that it’ll happen, I can’t help but to get excited. As for Condit, he’s still one of the best in the division. Hurting GSP showed just how dangerous he can be and earned him a lot of respect. There are a number of good options for Condit, including Josh Koscheck, the winner of Jon Fitch vs. Demain Maia or BJ Penn if he beats Rory MacDonald.

Johny Hendricks def. Martin Kampmann: If nothing else, Hendricks hits really hard. He landed a beautiful right-left combo that put Kampmann out cold. That’s really all there was to this fight, which didn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know. Obviously if Hendricks connects with his left hand, it’s lights out for most guys, but I’m still not sure how good he is outside of that. I will say that he closes the distance extremely fast and doesn’t let guys react, but it’s not like Kampmann is known for his footwork and head movement. Don’t get me wrong, Hendricks should be the #1 contender following victories over Mike Pierce, Jon Fitch, Josh Koscheck, and now Kampmann, but I don’t favor him over St. Pierre at this point. If he lands that one punch, obviously it could be over, but St. Pierre is the more skilled fighter. This was a big loss for Kampmann, not because of who he lost to, but because of how he lost. He’s always relied a lot on his chin to carry him, but it was significantly cracked in this one. Kampmann’s always had the same striking defense problems, but if his chin is starting to fail him, he could be in some serious trouble.

Francis Carmont def. Tom Lawlor: This fight sucked. Carmont threw a bunch of blocked kicks. Lawlor did a bunch of clinching and went for a guillotine that was never really close. The crowd boo’d. I nearly fell asleep. The fact that Carmont didn’t starch Lawlor says a lot about his future. This should’ve never been on the main card in the first place.

Rafael Dos Anjos def. Mark Bocek: Bocek was being touted as one of the best wrestlers in the division heading into this fight. So I guess that means Anjos has the best takedown defense in the division. Every time Bocek went for a takedown, Anjos easily stuffed them and made him pay with punches and knees. On the feet Anjos pretty much had his way with Bocek, who looked extremely slow and couldn’t get anything going. Simply put, Anjos was too fast, too technical, and too powerful for Bocek in all areas of the game. This may have been the best performance of Anjos’ career. Bocek is no joke in the grappling department and Anjos handled him with relative ease. He didn’t dominate him to the level that Rogan made you think, but he did dominate him. 155 is so talented that it’s tough for anyone to climb the ladder and Anjos could just as easily lose his next fight, but for tonight, he was on his game and is now in the mix at 155. Bocek is turning into a bit of a gatekeeper at 155. He’s lost to two champions and a guy who was one fight away from getting a title shot. So he’s fighting good competition, he’s just not beating them. We’ll just ignore his loss to Mac Danzig. He’s a good test for guys at 155, but it appears as that’s all he’ll ever be.

Pablo Garza def. Mark Hominick: This first round of this fight was one of the best rounds of the year. They traded solid strikes with both guys mixing things up with kicks and punches. Near the end of the round, Hominick dropped Garza with a body shot and looked the finish him with more body shots on the ground but, not only did Garza survive, he got up and cut Hominick badly both above and below the eye. It was a back and forth round with both guys showing some great skills on the feet and heart in surviving some tough moments. After the first though, Garza decided to make things easy on himself by taking down Hominick and cutting him up with elbows. Hominick kept trying for an armbar or omaplata instead of getting to his feet and they were never close. This allowed Garza to just stay in guard, posture up, and rain down elbows for the majority of the final two rounds. The second round in particular was all Garza, scoring a 10-8 on two scorecards. This was a big win for Garza, who was pretty close to a title shot before he lost to Dustin Poirier. Granted Hominick, who has lost four straight, isn’t where he used to be, but he’s still a guy who fought for the title 18 months ago and had people believing that Jose Aldo was human. I still think Garza is a talented fighter who, if he learns how to use his reach better, could be a contender in the division because he’s so lanky and strong for 145. As for Hominick, four straight losses is never a good thing, but given that he’s Canadian and has exciting fights (certainly more exciting than Dan Hardy ever had), I’m going to assume that he’ll be given one more shot in the octagon.

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