Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
With Georges St. Pierre returning from a knee injury there were a great deal of questions surrounding his fight with Carlos Condit. He answered all of those questions in an instant class of a fight.
UFC Welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre looked fantastic in his return to the Octagon. He took an quick lead, controlling the first two rounds with both his strong boxing and grappling, and he opened a large cut on Condit's forehead with an elbow. Then in the third Condit landed a tricky head kick that knocked the Champion to the ground. St. Pierre rallied to take the round back on the score cards, putting Condit on his back and landing hard shots. The wind seemed to be back in Condit's sails after the third and he was very competitive in the final two rounds, even putting St. Pierre on his back, a rarity, but St. Pierre managed to finish just ahead of him in each round.
St. Pierre retained his title and now his future is in question. Welterweight Johny Hendricks won with an impressive KO of Martin Kampmann tonight and asked for the title fight, but there is also the proposed super fight with UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva. St. Pierre made it clear his mind was not made up and he would return home and clearly look at his options before making a choice.
French Middleweight Francis Carmont was awarded a tepid decision over Tom Lawlor in a fight were both fighters did very little to separate themselves. Rafel dos Anjos put on the best performance of his UFC career, beating Canadian Mark Bocek from pillar to post. It is very likely dos Anjos has now made himself contender in the lightweight division.
Pablo Garza very possibly ejected Mark Hominick from the UFC with the beating he put on the Canadian. Hominick had success early on the feet, dropping Garza with a liver shot in the first round, but Graza quickly discovered he had an advantage in the grappling department. Garza shot for take downs in the next two rounds, and was able to punish and cut up Hominick on the ground to get a one sided decision.
Alessio Sakara looked to be on the verge of getting a much needed win, but the decision was correctly made to disqualify him for strikes to the back of Patrick Cote's head. Sakara looked to be in trouble early as Cote rocked him with punches, but Sakara used some excellent standing elbows to turn the tide. It was then, while Cote was stunned and clinging to the a single leg that the offending strikes took place. Strikes to the back of the head are common in the moments after a fighter is hurt and desperately trying to survive, and represent a bit of a gray area in MMA refereeing. There is no clear system for dealing with accidental blows to the back of the head and until this is dealt with fighters will continue to have to deal with inconsistent rulings in situations like this.
The highlight of the prelims was an armbar by Ivan Menjivar, who locked in a wicked armbar against Azamat Gashimov. Menjivar worked a very aggressive guard against the young Russian and found the submission in the closing moments of the first round. Unfortunately it appeared Gashimov's arm was injured, but it remains unclear to what degree he is hurt. Also, John Makdessi and Sam Stout had a very fun striking match, in which Makdessi clearly controlled things using his wide array of kicks.