Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Rocktagon Recap of UFC 154: St-Pierre vs. Condit

Featuring horrible ring attire (resulting in even more horrible scoring), overweight referees, a knockout for the ages and quite possibly the best MMA fight of 2012!

Merry Thanksgiving, folks! Tonight’s shindig is emanating from Montreal, Quebec, Canada, while I am calling it LIVE from the quaint and cozy Bailey’s in K’Saw. Tonight marks the long-anticipated return of GSP after 19 months of rehabbing, and this evening, he takes on quite possibly his most dangerous opponent since…will, probably, ever, really…in Carlos “The Natural Born Killer” Condit. It’s legit champion vs. interim champion in a Welterweight unification bout, and we might just see St-Pierre’s four year-long plus reign as WW champ come to an end a little after midnight tonight. Well, that, or GSP will just dry hump his way to another five round decision. Probably that second thing, after some deliberation. But that ain’t all, folks, as we also have Martin “The Anthropomorphic Corndog” Kampmann taking on Johny “The Beard” Hendricks in a fight which may very well determine the next challenger in line for the Welterweight strap. And also…well, looking at the card, that seems to be just about it. But hey, Mark Hominick IS fighting tonight, so there is the offhand chance that his head will explode for our entertainment again.

With the pleasantries out of the way, who amongst you is ready for THE ROCKTAGON RECAP OF UFC 154: ST-PIERRE VS. CONDIT!

As always, our hosts are Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan. In case you missed it, the UFC posted the single most amazingly horrible Photoshop job of all time to promote the show, which I’ve lovingly reproduced for you right here.

Folks, this isn’t a joke. If you checked out the official UFC YouTube page around Halloween, THIS WAS WHAT WAS GREETING YOU ON THE FRONT PAGE. And for the rest of the show, if you’re not thinking of the main event in terms of Team Edward vs. Team Jacob, you’re a much, much better soul than I.

Featherweight Bout
Mark Hominick vs. Pablo Garza

Hominick has dropped three in a row in the UFC, and you know what happens if you go on a 0-4 skid. Garza is an absolutely massive featherweight; at 6 feet tall and 145 pounds, I have NO idea why they call him “The Scarecrow,” either.

Short striking exchange to begin, with the Canadian crowd going nuts for Hominick. Hominick hooks Garza with a right. Garza shoots in for a takedown and looks for an armbar, but nada. Hominick sneaks his way out. Hominick drops him with some body shots. Garza firing back. Garza cuts Hominick open with an uppercut, and concludes the round with a couple of jabs to that gooey red eye on Hominick.

Garza begins the second round by trying to bicycle kick his opponent like Liu Kang. Hominick with some punches, but Garza ends up getting the takedown. Garza is just teeing off on Hominick, who’s a bloody mess now. Hominick trying for an armbar. He’s throwing some punches from the bottom, and now Garza’s bleeding a bit. Garza rains elbows to conclude the second. 20-18 Pablo, if you ask me.

Garza throwing kicks like crazy, while Hominick tries to sneak in a body shot when he can. The reach advantage is really, uh, advantageous, for Garza here. Hominick looks for another armbar, but Garza maintains dominance. Garza with another takedown, and more elbows.

A unanimous decision victory for Garza.

Lightweight Bout
Mark Bocek vs. Rafael dos Anjos

Knee exchange city to begin the first round. Dos Anjos with an uppercut and a front kick. Bocek slips. Bocek has dos Anjos up against the cage, working for a takedown. He doesn’t get it.

Dos Anjos gets kicked in the crab apples, so a time out just a few seconds into the second round. Bocek looking for a takedown, and dos Anjos ends up wrestling him to the ground. Dos Anjos can’t get a kimura, so he just rains shots on his opponent instead. Bocek bleeding pretty bad now. Dos Anjos with another takedown, and more dominance from the top. Dos Anjos concludes the round with another takedown. Easily 20-18 for the Brazilian here.

Bocek looking for a takedown in the opening seconds of the third. Not happening. Dos Anjos with a monster slam. Dos Anjos has Bocek’s back. Bocek looking for a kimura, but it’s a null effort. Both guys standing. We get a clinch, dos Anjos nails some kicks, and this one is all over.

A unanimous decision victory for dos Anjos, in what has to be the most impressive performance of his career thus far.

Middleweight Bout
Francis Carmont vs. Tom Lawlor

Tom Lawlor comes out to “Pretty Fly (for a White Guy)" and looking sort of like the bastard amalgamation of Booger from “Revenge of the Nerds” and Spike Dudley. Looks like the spirit of Jason Miller is alive and well in Zuffa-Land!

Carmont, by the way, is noticeably larger than Lawlor. Tom bullies his foe into the cage, and tries to clinch for a bit. Carmont keeping Lawlor at bay with his longer reach. Lawlor bullies him back into the cage, and looks for a kimura. The round ends with Lawlor desperately trying to lock in a guillotine.

A pretty equal exchange to begin the second, and Lawlor shoots for a takedown. And he lands it. Carmont back up almost instantly. Lawlor with another takedown, and another guillotine attempt to end the round. Should by Tom’s fight, 20-18.

For whatever reason, Joe Rogan is just ragging the hell out of the ref during this fight. Carmont with some knees, and Lawlor has to backpedal. Carmont with some kicks and a takedown. Lawlor back up, and the final round ends rather unspectacularly.

Hoo boy, we’ve got ourselves a split decision for CARMONT, somehow. Just how bad is the call? Carmont’s a Frenchman, and a FRENCH CANADIAN crowd is chanting “le bullshit.”

Welterweight Bout
Martin Kampmann vs. Johny Hendricks

Hendricks with some short range punches, and he murder death kills Kampmann with a knockout blow less than a minute into the fight. In the post-fight, Hendricks said that he DIRELY wanted the winner of tonight’s main event, and wished his wife “happy birthday.” Remember, guys: nothing makes a girl’s heart melt more than punching a Norwegian dude, and hard.

UFC Welterweight Championship Bout
Georges St-Pierre (Champion) vs. Carlos Condit (Interim Champion)

Condit comes out Rage Against the Machine’s cover of Springsteen’s “The Ghost of Tom Joad,” while GSP comes out to some hippity hoppity stuff that I don’t know nothing about. GSP does cartwheels and the Triple H water-spitting thing as soon as he gets into the cage. Condit throws a kick, and GSP gets a takedown. Well, didn’t see that coming. Condit on his back, looking for a sub attempt. GSP just raining shots on his adversary. GSP with some elbows, and Condit is already a bloody mess before the first round concludes.

Condit, with a nice crimson mask, is throwing kicks like crazy. GSP counters with a jab. Now GSP throwing some high kicks. We have ourselves an excellent striking match-up going on now. GSP with a superman punch, and another takedown. Condit trying to land some elbows form the top, but GSP is just smothering him. All GSP so far tonight.

Third round begins with Condit throwing some looping kicks. AND CONDIT WITH A HEAD KICK THAT SENDS GSP TO THE CANVAS. Condit hops on GSP and is throwing everything he has at him. This is really the first time we’ve seen GSP in trouble since the first Matt Serra fight. GSP scrambles back to his feet, and lands a takedown. Well, shit. GSP is starting to look a little worse for wear now. Condit with elbows from the bottom, but they’re not doing much. Things get vertical. Condit looks for a standing kimura, but GSP responds with another takedown. The third ends with GSP dominating from the top.

Fourth round, and both guys are trying to land some head kicks. There’s a picture-in-picture box in the lower left hand corner of the screen, showing Anderson Silva watching the bout with rapt attention. GSP with a takedown, and he’s moving into side control. Uh-oh. Condit looking for a triangle, while GSP pops him from up top. Both guys back up, Condit trips up GSP, and GSP responds in kind with another takedown. Condit HAS to finish GSP in the fifth.

Condit throwing more kicks and short range punches. GSP looking for a takedown, and he ends up connecting with a big right. Now it’s jab central. GSP with another takedown, and I think that’s all she wrote. Condit looking for an armbar, but it isn’t happening. As far as I’m concerned, this is our 2012 Fight of the Year right here.

A clear unanimous decision victory for St-Pierre. In the post-fight, he said he was open to a mega-fight against “The Spider,” but only after he talked things over with his agent. And like that, the hype train for the long, LONG awaited GSP-Silva “Fight of the Ever” is officially on track…

So, Where Do We Go From Here? Well, it looks like GSP vs. Silva is FINALLY going to happen, which leaves Johny Hendricks, the clear #2 welterweight on the planet, just kinda’ “there” until at least mid 2013. Why not give him the winner of the upcoming Rory MacDonald/ B.J. Penn fight and have ourselves a bona-fide, 100 percent legitimate #1 contender’s match in the downtime? Even in defeat, Carlos Condit solidified himself as easily one of the top five welterweight fighters on the planet. How about giving him another bout against Nick Diaz when his suspension is finally up come February? And as far as Kampmann goes, it was a pretty crappy loss, but  he’s still a top-ten welterweight, no matter how you slice it. Why not put him in the cage against Demian Maia and see what shenanigans ensue?

The Verdict: Well, the first couple of fights were mildly disappointing, but the Kampmann/Hendricks bout gave us a legitimate knockout of the year contender and the St-Pierre/Condit main event probably IS the best MMA bout of 2012. I can understand a few squabbles here and there, but on the whole? It was a pretty memorable show, and the last two bouts DEFINITELY delivered.

Show Highlight: GSP/Condit was one of the best title fights in recent memory. Hendrick’s super-awesome KO of Kampmann is a close runner-up.

Show Lowlight: Well, that Carmont decision call was pretty lackluster, I’d say.

Rogan-ism of the Night: “How fat can you be and still be a referee?”

Five Things I Learned From Tonight’s Show: 

- If you’re at least partially French and fighting in a French speaking territory, odds are, you’ve already won the fight.

- Whatever Mark Hominick’s face is made out of is probably reverse Adamantium - the weakest substance in the known universe.

- You can almost kill a dude in the cage and STILL lose a round in the score cards.

- On your third anniversary, be sure to get your gal a knocked out European.

- Apparently, fat rolls interfere with your ability to efficiently officiate a contest.

Well, that’s all I’ve got for you tonight. Crank up “Supernova” by Liz Phair and “Lip Gloss” by That Dog, and I will be seeing you in a few.


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