Georges St. Pierre made his highly anticipated return to the Octagon tonight (Sat., Nov. 17, 2012) to take on Carlos Condit in a welterweight title unification bout in the main event of UFC 154 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Condit, of course, was standing in the way of that as one of the toughest welterweights on Earth.
As the bout began and the crowd rose to its feet to chant for its champion, St. Pierre came forward, looking fearless despite everything he said pre-fight. He pressed forward with an aggressive pace and pumped a jab, avoiding kicks the whole way.
Halfway through the round, he grabbed a single leg and turned the corner, succeeding in his first takedown attempt of the fight. "GSP" was relentless, unloading punches and elbows from on top, passing to half guard and continuing the assault as time ticked down.
To punctuate his dominance of the opening frame, St. Pierre landed a short elbow that immediately opened a cut just above Condit's eye, which bled like crazy before being attended to in the corner.
10-9, with no signs of rust.
It took some time but Condit found some urgency later in the second. Instead of backing up like he was doing in the first round, he came forward unloading punches and kicks. He even broke out a spinning back fist. It missed badly but it showed he was willing to engage with offense like that.
Unfortunately for him, that resulted in the French-Canadian shooting in and earning a takedown. Once he got back on top, he reopened the cut that was closed between rounds and the canvas was painted red, Condit a bloody mess while he was trying hard to defend himself from the bottom.
Then, everything changed.
Early in the third round, Condit landed the big head kick that dropped St. Pierre. He exploded to finish the fight but "GSP" managed to survive and get back to his feet. Not only that, he pushed the action and took the center of the cage before landing a big shot of his own and picking Condit up for another big takedown.
Talk about a turnaround from the brink of defeat.
"Rush" refused to relent for the remainder of the round, never really giving Condit the opportunity to get any more meaningful offense in. The round ended and there was immediate debate on how to score it.
Come round four, St. Pierre wasted a lot less time earning the takedown and passing to half guard. Georges continued to do his thing while Condit looked for whatever submissions were available to him, from a kneebar to a triangle. He failed to lock in either and St. Pierre remained in his dominant position.
That is until Condit reversed and got on top. Oh, but that lasted for about six seconds before St. Pierre reversed him and went back to superior position.
How fun this was, even on the mat.
With one round left, it certainly appeared Condit needed a finish. Even if the judges scored him the third round, he was still likely down 3-1 through four.
St. Pierre began the fifth by unloading the superman jab and outside kick combo that he's used to such success throughout his career. He grabbed another takedown but Condit defended well and got back to his feet quickly. Once there, he ended up getting tagged with a strong right hand.
With just over three minutes left, "The Natural Born Killer" started pushing with punches, landing a few. He knew aggression would be key if he wanted to win from here.
So he turned it on.
St. Pierre hung in and took a few shots while avoiding a few others. Once he exploded forwarded in return, he popped a few nice shots of his own and earned yet another takedown. It looked like this was the end for Condit and his chances of winning this fight, this the biggest fight of his life.
With 10 seconds left, both men went all out with elbows and punches and every bit of offense they could muster, while they bled all over each other in the center of the cage, locked in a not-so-warm embrace.
It was beautiful.
The scores were announced and St. Pierre was declared the winner, 50-45, 50-45, and 49-46.
For complete results and blow-by-blow coverage of UFC 154 click here.