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UFC 154 blog: Champion St. Pierre reclaims his glory in comeback victory

Hendricks knocks out Kampmann in less than a minute

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Associated Press

Georges St. Pierre performs a cartwheel as he enters the ring for his fight with Carlos Condit on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012 in Montreal. A relentless St. Pierre celebrated his comeback by winning a five-round decision over Condit to unify the welterweight title in a bloody battle at UFC 154. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Ryan Remiorz)

Updated Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012 | 9:59 p.m.

UFC 154

Patrick Cote, left, from Canada, is knocked down by Alessio Sakara during their UFC 154 middleweight bout on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012, in Montreal. Cote won the bout after Sakara was disqualified. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Ryan Remiorz) Launch slideshow »

Note: Full results from the preliminary card are available at the bottom of the page.

MONTREAL — The octagon felt different and his timing was a little off.

That's how Georges St. Pierre described the feeling of his first UFC bout in 18 months. He said he had a case of the dreaded "ring rust."

He certainly didn't show it. St. Pierre was as dominant as ever against Carlos Condit in the main event of UFC 154, fighting his way to a unanimous-decision victory in which two judges gave him all five rounds and a third awarded all but one.

"He gave me my toughest fight," St. Pierre said of Condit. "He made me a better martial artist."

St. Pierre won his 11th straight bout in a similiar fashion to many of the others. He constantly took Condit down, showing "The Natural Born Killer" lacked the wrestling chops to keep up.

Condit made it interesting, however, with a single combination early in the third round. Condit hit the top of St. Pierre's head with a leg kick and followed it with a right hand that sent the champion crashing to the ground.

Condit jumped on top, but St. Pierre worked his way out and went on to win the rest of the round.

“I didn’t see the kick," St. Pierre said. "In one of the rounds before that, I got punched in the eye and my eye was a little blurry.”

St. Pierre immediately faced the question of what was next. Many anticipate a superfight with middleweight champion Anderson Silva, who watched the action from cageside. St. Pierre appears open to the idea, but gave no indication if he would accept the challenge.

"I need to take some vacation and think about where I’m at in my career," St. Pierre said. "I want to make the best choice for myself and all the fans."

If he stays at welterweight, his next challenger fought in the bout right before him. Johny Hendricks had the performance of the night to become the unabashed No. 1 contender, knocking out Martin Kampmann in 46 seconds with a combination.

"Please, please give me a shot at the belt," Hendricks pleaded after the win.

He'll have to wait and see like everyone else.

Francis Carmont, Rafael dos Anjos and Mark Hominick also grabbed victories on the pay-per-view card.

Check below for full results from the event, including round-by-round coverage of the main card, and stay tuned to lasvegassun.com for more later.

Georges St. Pierre vs. Carlos Condit

Fifth round St. Pierre lands a superman punch and push kick, but Condit comes back forward for a combination of his own. Condit hits St. Pierre's body with a spinning back kick. St. Pierre can't get too comfortable and coast this round. He gets a single-leg takedown, but Condit pops right back up. St. Pierre's right hook crashes against Condit's jaw. Condit swinging a lot of combinations, but St. Pierre is fresh enough to get out of the way. One of his eyes is almost swollen shut, however, and he's got a large hematoma on the side of his head. They are trading punches pretty evenly halfway through the round. St. Pierre pounces on a takedown attempt, however, and Condit finds himself on his back with 2:20 to go. Condit lets St. Pierre transition to his back, but sweeps to get out. With 45 seconds left, only a miracle finish could change this outcome. Condit is bleeding everywhere. The fans are on their feet. Anderson Silva, St. Pierre's proposed next opponent, is watching intently from the front on video for everyone to see. Bell rings and St. Pierre clearly wins, 50-45 on the Sun's scorecard. Georges St. Pierre defeats Carlos Condit by unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 49-46).

Fourth round St. Pierre now looks as beat up as Condit, but he's not letting that get in his way. A combination scores for St. Pierre and he follows it with a takedown. Condit hasn't been able to answer in the wrestling department at all. He fights from his back, but St. Pierre has the advantage with his dominant position and strong ground-and-pound. St. Pierre looks to get into mount, but Condit keeps him in half-guard. A St. Pierre elbow sends more blood oozing from the same place on the right side of Condit's forehead. Condit wants an armbar. It looks suspenseful momentarily, but St. Pierre busts out and lands another big punch. An upkick from Condit grazes St. Pierre, who gets back into this foe's guard. Condit nearly gives up his back to stand up, but they head back down. Blood stains cover the octagon. Most of it is from Condit, but St. Pierre has contributed a good bit too. The round ends with more ground-and-pound for St. Pierre, who is now up 40-36 on the Sun's scorecard.

Third round Condit raised his hands at the crowd at the end of the second, but they are chanting "GSP". Condit comes out strong in this one, though. He clips St. Pierre with a head kick and right hand after a few other strikes and the hometown hero is down. Condit swarms on top and St. Pierre is trying to hold on. What a momentous shift in a fight where St. Pierre had barely gotten touched. He's now covered in Condit's blood and may have a cut of his own. Condit stands up for a ground-and-pound strike and St. Pierre pounces on the opening, flipping back to his feet. St. Pierre throws a combination that makes Condit wince. Now St. Pierre picks up Condit and slams him on his back. The crowd is giving this round the unbelievable response it deserves. St. Pierre throws a couple elbows from the top. Condit can not get out from under. St. Pierre may just be stealing the round, as Condit hasn't done much since his one huge strike. Condit is on his feet, but the pressure is still on as St. Pierre pushes him against the fence. St. Pierre takes him down again. Condit swings from the bottom — elbows and punches. But he's getting no force behind them. Condit had the biggest moment, but St. Pierre controlled most of the round. He takes the third 10-9 and it's a clean sweep so far on this scorecard.

Second round Condit's cut looks patched up well — for now. It's his job to stop St. Pierre from jabbing it, though. He goes with aggression early, landing a combination of a punch and kick. St. Pierre lands a big left hand and fires a head kick that's off. Most of Condit's kicks have also been well off the mark. Condit has returned to moving backwards now, as St. Pierre is the one stalking and looking for any opening. He's fast enough to get away from one of Condit's advances. St. Pierre counters a Condit flying knee with his biggest punch yet — a straight left to the jaw. The crowd can't get enough. Condit is bleeding again. Looks like this one might be near the opposite eye of the first time. St. Pierre jabs Condit and takes him down. The champion is landing some huge ground-and-pound. Condit is covered in blood. There's no stopping St. Pierre, who mixes his head shots with punches to the body. Condit is bleeding profusely. St. Pierre rocks him as he gets back to his feet. This fight is nothing but St. Pierre, who leads 20-18.

First round St. Pierre got quite possibly the loudest ovation in UFC history as he entered the octagon for the first time since April 2011. He lands the first punch with a right hand to Condit's stomach. St. Pierre is coming forward with Condit retreating, much like in his last fight against Nick Diaz. It worked better for him against Diaz than it has in the first minute here. "GSP" chant sounds deafening. Condit is missing on most of his early strikes. St. Pierre's jab finds a place on Condit's face after a successful leg kick. St. Pierre then takes Condit down to roaring applause. St. Pierre's ground-and-pound is hurting Condit, especially an elbow that flings his head harder into the mat. St. Pierre works for side control. He doesn't get it, but he's really beating up Condit from the top. Condit is trying everything he can, but St. Pierre's strikes are having a major effect. Condit lands a couple punches from his back, but St. Pierre counters both. St. Pierre wins the first round in dominant fashion as Condit comes up with a huge cut on his forehead. 10-9 for St. Pierre on the Sun's scorecard.

Martin Kampmann vs. Johny Hendricks

First Round Hendricks strikes first by coming in with a combination. Kampmann is struggling to find his range, and Hendricks takes advantage. He lands his patented left hand after a right hook and knocks out Kampmann just like that. Johny Hendricks defeats Martin Kampmann by knockout 46 seconds into the first round.

Francis Carmont vs. Tom Lawlor

Third Round Carmont's kicks look awfully pretty, but they haven't accounted for much damage in the fight. It's the same story early in this round. Almost like it's on repeat, Lawlor rams Carmont into the fence.They're stuck there, with sweat dripping off of Carmont's chin and onto Lawlor's back. The crowd boos, which probably influences the referee to break them apart. Carmont lands a right hand. He's got his distance down better than before in this round, but Lawlor isn't very affected by his strikes. Once again, this fight reminds the packed crowd of "Groundhog's Day". Lawlor gets Carmont against the fence. Carmont looks for an impossible armbar. They separate. It's like clockwork. Carmont is winning the striking exchanges in the middle of the cage — barely. Lawlor foot stomps Carmont late. Carmont trips in and tries for a choke. In a round where nothing continued to happen, Carmont wins 10-9. Lawlor gets the nod in the fight 29-28 on the Sun's scorecard. The judges don't see it the same as Carmont defeats Lawlor by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29). Feels like Carmont, a Montreal native, got the benefit of a hometown decision.

Second Round Lawlor jabs to start. Carmont lets a leg kick fly. A soft right hand from Lawlor hits Carmont on the chin. They clinch up for a second and Carmont lands the biggest strike of the round with a knee. Lawlor would still like a takedown, but Carmont's defense is solid. He breaks out from against the fence and hits Lawlor with a combination. A big left hand hits Carmont. The pace of this fight is plodding, which is probably in Lawlor's favor. Lawlor follows an exchange with a takedown attempt. He stalls against the fence before eventually placing Carmont on his back. Carmont flails his legs as one of Lawlor's ground-and-pound strikes connects cleanly. Carmont is back to his feet, but he doesn't have much to work with. The crowd boos as Lawlor deposits Carmont on the ground again. Carmont tries for an armbar, but Lawlor transitions to side control. Lawlor's got another guillotine attempt. Once again, it's at the very end of the round and not quite enough. Carmont survives with another lost round. Lawlor leads 20-18.

First Round Carmont is down one notable cornerman this fight. Georges St. Pierre is usually by his side on fight night, but the welterweight champion obviously has his own things to think about right now. Lawlor clinches up with Carmont immediately. Carmont looks significantly bigger, so it's no surprise when Lawlor can't take him down. Carmont reverses for a second, but it's right back to Lawlor pressing him against the cage after a slight intermission. The referee steps in and puts them back in the middle. Carmont starts to find his range with kicks to the body. Lawlor catches one and almost takes Carmont down. Instead, Lawlor has him against the fence yet again. Carmont grabs a hold of Lawlor's left arm and tries to crank for a submission. Lawlor isn't having it. He backs off before unsuccessfully shooting for another takedown. Lawlor lands a couple strikes when they're inevitably separated. Carmont is still focusing on kicks. Lawlor gets Carmon'ts neck and pulls guard. He's looking for the guillitone, but he may not have it deep enough with 20 seconds to go. Bell rings and Carmont survives. Lawlor wins the first round 10-9.

Mark Bocek vs. Rafael dos Anjos

Third Round The crowd seems uninterested at this point, chatting over a so far uneventful and uncompetitive lightweight contest. Dos Anjos works his kicks in the opening minute, showing he's now less weary of Bocek being able to take him down. They lock up against the cage, and Bocek really wants this double-leg takedown to go through so he can play jiu-jitsu on the ground. Dos Anjos is no slouch in that department either, though he's fine to keep the fight standing. They go to the ground for a short while, but dos Anjos initiates getting back up by heading to the middle of the octagon. Dos Anjos, what a surprise, starts picking him apart there with punches and a flying knee. Bocek's face is even more swollen now. They're in the clinch with neither Bocek nor dos Anjos being terribly active. The referee breaks them apart with 50 seconds to go. Even that creates no urgency for Bocek. Or maybe he's just got nothing to turn to as dos Anjos fires a couple front kicks. Bocek does chop dos Anjos down with a leg kick and then hurts him with a right hand. Dos Anjos comes back with a spin kick and a combination to close the round. Dos Anjos wins every round to take the fight 30-27 on the Sun's scorecard. The judges are in agreement, as Rafael dos Anjos beats Mark Bocek by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).

Second Round In their initial exchange, Bocek inadvertently kicks dos Anjos in the groin. The referee separates the fighters and warns Bocek as dos Anjos recovers. Dos Anjos takes less than the five minutes he's granted. The fight restarts and dos Anjos knocks Bocek with an uppercut. The Brazilian then clocks the Canadian with a right hand. Bocek shoots for a takedown, but he's the only one who winds up on the ground. Dos Anjos eventually follows on his knees. Bocek, one of the better lightweights at Brazilian jiu-jitsu, looks for an armbar but dos Anjos defends by the book. He's back on his feet with his arms around Bocek's neck. Dos Anjos knees Bocek to the side. Bocek gets back up with 2:16 to go and a lot of ground to make up. He has one bloody eye and one that's black. Another takedown fails for Bocek. Dos Anjos throws him into the fence. They grapple against the cage before dos Anjos loads up a bunch of punches to the side of the face. He's working for Bocek's back. Bocek prevents that, powering back to his feet when dos Anjos makes a move. Dos Anjos takes Bocek back down. When they get back up, dos Anjos hits Bocek with a couple elbows. This was a borderline 10-8 round, but the Sun will score it 10-9 in favor of dos Anjos to make the score 20-18.

First Round That didn't take long. The two lock up against the fence. Bocek briefly looks for the takedown, but gives up on that when a dos Anjos uppercut hits him squarely between the eyes. They're back in the middle and exchanging strikes now. Bocek presses for another takedown after a dos Anjos leg kick hits him in the side. Bocek knees dos Anjos against the fence. Bocek continues doing everything he can to get dos Anjos down, but he's staying on his feet. Bocek eats about four powerful knees. Dos Anjos ducks under a lazy jab from Bocek, who can't seem to get much going but comes forward anyway. Dos Anjos throws a Superman punch. It misses, but the ensuing right hand is on the mark. Bocek falls after attempting a head kick and dos Anjos comes in. Bocek tries to get him down. It's once again unsuccessful. Dos Anjos abandons a half-hearted guillotine choke and stands back up, where he's largely dominated. Bocek presses dos Anjos against the fence, but his offense is severely lacking. Dos Anjos breaks out and fires a couple kicks at Bocek. Dos Anjos wins the first round 10-9.

Mark Hominick vs. Pablo Garza

Third Round They're both swinging early with Garza slightly getting the better of the exchanges. Hominick clinches up with Garza against the fence, but nothing comes of it. After they break out, Garza shoots for a double-leg takedown. He's successful. Hominick has a hold of his hands so Garza can't do much damage, but he's getting closer to winning with every moment that passes on the ground. Garza elbows Hominick a few times once he finally gets loose. Hominick finally gets to his feet but Garza greets him with a knee to the chin. And then it's right back down. Garza works for side control, but Hominick isn't allowing it. Garza stands back up after pressure and Hominick peppers him with upkicks. None hurt Garza. Hominick tries an armbar from the bottom as the final 15 seconds tick off, but it's not there. It's a clear 29-28 victory for Garza on the Sun's scorecard. Pablo Garza wins a unanimous decision (30-28, 30-26, 29-27).

Second Round Garza flies into Hominick with an attempted flying knee, but it's off. Hominick lands the first meaningful strike with a left hand to the chin. Fight goes to the ground where Garza wants it and he looks for a body triangle. He can't get that, but he puts Hominick on his back and starts ground-and-pounding the body. Garza starts mixing up with his strikes with punches and elbows to the still trapped Hominick. The Canadian is trying to slide to the fence so it can help him get back on his feet. Garza uses the opening to punish Hominick with hammerfists. Hominick looks for an armbar, but Garza is clearly the superior grappler in the cage. The crowd is trying to will Hominick to a comeback in the round, but Garza keeps smothering the former No. 1 contender. Hominick hasn't come close to getting back up for nearly four minutes. Garza is working from the top, too, giving Hominick a steady helping of elbows in the final seconds. It's all tied at 19 after Garza wins the second round.

First Round Garza rocks Hominick in the opening seconds with a right hand. Hominick comes back forward, though, leaving any anxiety about a second quick knockout in three fights behind him. Garza uses his considerable reach advantage to keep Hominick at bay with front kicks and jabs. Hominick hits Garza clean with a right hand. Hominick scores with one particular combination around the 1:30 mark. Garza charges back with a leg kick and right hand. Hominick blocks a Garza head kick about 20 seconds later with no significant action in between. Garza works his leg kicks, but they are landing high on the thigh of the much taller Hominick. Hominick strikes Garza into the fence with a straight right. Garza looks hurt and tries to take Hominick down a few seconds later. Hominck reverses and gets on top. Garza grabs an armbar from his guard. It looks like he's got it locked in, but Hominick grimaces and fights free. He's now landing to the body and chin from top position. Hominick lets Garza back up. In the middle of the octagon, Hominick tests Garza's chin with a right hand. He drops him with a shot to the body followed by an uppercut. Garza gets back to his feet safely. Hominick's eye is now bloody as Garza throws an uppercut. Garza looks for another takedown, but Hominick is up against the fence. A wild round of action ends, one that Hominick will take 10-9.

MONTREAL — The UFC is taking a bolt cutter to a lock at the front of a prison tonight at the Bell Centre.

That prison contains the Las Vegas-based promotion’s entire welterweight division, which has unwillingly found itself in lockdown for the last 18 months.

The 170-pound class’ championship belt hasn’t been at risk since April 2011, when Georges St. Pierre defeated Jake Shields by unanimous decision at UFC 129.

The UFC staged an interim title bout in February at UFC 143 but even Carlos Condit, who beat Nick Diaz at the event, doesn’t consider himself a true champion.

Condit says he needs to beat St. Pierre to earn that distinction. After more than a year’s worth of delays, he finally gets his chance tonight in the main event of UFC 154.

Condit’s powerful striking and dangerous ground game make him a prime candidate to upset St. Pierre, especially considering the Montreal native is coming off of ACL injury.

Oddsmakers see St. Pierre as a 3-to-1 favorite, the lowest price that’s accompanied the Canadian superstar in three-and-a-half years. The last time St. Pierre was this short of a favorite came at the historic UFC 100 card when he faced Thiago Alves.

St. Pierre won every round on every judges’ scorecard in the bout to take a unanimous decision victory. It was a snapshot of what St. Pierre does best.

Four of his last five fights have come through the decision variety, as no one seems to know how to counter St. Pierre’s wrestling. That’s also the lone area Condit has struggled with throughout his career, meaning a St. Pierre victory tonight will likely come heavy on wrestling. Welcoming

In the co-main event, the next welterweight challenger will emerge. Martin Kampmann and Johny Hendricks are both on extended win streaks and get a chance to show they are the true No. 1 contender tonight.

It’s uncertain, however, when they would receive their title shot especially if St. Pierre proves victorious. A long-rumored mega-fight with middleweight champion Anderson Silva appears on the verge of happening for St. Pierre. Silva arrived in Montreal earlier today to sit cageside at the event.

Three other bouts fill the main card, though one just got promoted a couple hours ago. A lightweight affair between Rafael dos Anjos and Mark Bocek bumped up to the pay-per-view with Nick Ring, who was supposed to face Costa Philippou, getting so sick he had to pull off of the card.

Featherweights Mark Hominick and Pablo Garza open the main card, with St. Pierre’s teammate Francis Carmont meeting veteran Tom Lawlor before the two headlining fights.

Stay tuned to lasvegassun.com for a live round-by-round blog and scoring of the action and check out the undercard results below.

The final fight on the preliminary card was probably the best, but it also had the most controversy. Patrick Cote won by disqualification after Alessio Sakara threw a handful of illegal strikes to the back of his head. Sakara knocked Cote down with a series of elbows to the temple, but said he got caught up in the moment and accidentally started swinging to the back of the head when the hometown middleweight crashed to the ground.

They weren't in the octagon long, but Cyrille Diabate just plain beat up Chad Griggs in a light heavyweight fight. Diabate submitted Griggs with a rear-naked choke at 2:21 of the first round. The 39-year old French kickboxer knocked the Tucson, Ariz., fireman down with a right hand to set up the submission.

John Makdessi defeated Sam Stout by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28) in a lightweight bout. Both fighters had their moments in a contest that turned into a boxing bout, but Makdessi noticeably rocked Stout a couple times in the early going.

Antonio Carvalho beat Rodrigo Damm by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29) in a featherweight bout. Carvalho left a long red streak and series of welts on Damm's thigh with 15 minutes worth of leg kicks.

Matt Riddle defeated John Maguire by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28) in a welterweight bout. Riddle, a Las Vegas-based fighter, won the striking exchanges and stayed off of the ground, where Maguire is adept with his Brazilian jiu-jitsu game.

Broken bones came early at the Bell Centre. In the second fight of the night, featherweight newcomer Azamat Gashimov couldn't tap out before appearing to dislocate his arm. Ivan Menjivar submitted Gashimov at 2:44 of the first round.

Darren Elkins dominated in what appeared to be an even bantamweight bout before on paper. Elkins won every round on every judges' scorecard to earn a unanimous decision over Steven Siler.

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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