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RICH HANSEN, MMATORCH COLUMNIST: (9.0)
It is REALLY easy to be generous in scoring a card with a less than memorable undercard when the top two fights pay off so handsomely. Let's be real here, they paid off like a ten-team underdog parlay that hits. This was a two fight card, and the two fights delivered two of the most memorable fights of the year.
Did you doubt Georges St-Pierre? Go stand in the corner, you fool. He looked Exactly. The. Same. As. Always. Nineteen months off, and not one second of rust or indecision. I thought he was going to finish Condit in the 4th or 5th after being a little rusty in the first. I was wrong on both, but wound up more impressed with him after the systematic destruction of the UFC Interim Welterweight Champion number one contender than I thought I would be if he did in fact get that finish. From the moment he entered the cage, he was the exact same guy. This is so astounding. Nothing stops the guy, not even the awesome Carlos Condit. I desperately hope that his next fight is against Johny Hendricks, because if you were to design a welterweight with the skills to beat GSP, you design Johny Hendricks. But more about Hendricks later.
OK, it's later. Johny Hendricks is officially the baddest fucking man in the division (non-GSP contender). Were you like me in saying that the Fitch KO was a flash-KO fluke? That if they fought ten times total that Fitch would win seven of them? Were you like me, underwhelmed with the Koscheck fight? Well, all doubts have been removed. Hendricks is a fantastic wrestler, who knows how to use his wrestling to keep the fight standing, and he has more power in his hands than anyone in the weight class, and probably more than most middleweights. Johny Hendricks is a dilemma for GSP, who loves to force his opponents to fight where they are weakest. GSP might not be able to force Hendricks to his back, and GSP sure as hell doesn't want to stand with anyone who has that much dynamite in his hands. GSP is savvy on his feet that he might be able to use his feints, footwork, and head movement to avoid the left hand, but one mistake and we have a new champion, one who makes Movemberites proud.
Oh, and a bunch of other guys did things against a bunch of other guys, but, whatever.
ERIC HOBAUGH, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR: ()
The under card on FX was very good. Several highly entertaining fights. This under card was one of the better ones I have seen in recent memory. Mark Hominick vs. Pablo Garza was great. Both fighters were in trouble in the first round and it was too close to call. Nice bloody battle. Hominick was cut multiple times on both eyes. Garza was dominant after the first round and won a lopsided decision victory. Garza is ready for a top ten fighter in his next fight.
Mark Bocek vs. Rafael Dos Anjos started fast and did not slow at all. Boecek tried repeatedly and failed to get the take down. He was bloodied up in the second round and Dos Anjos looked great everywhere. Dos Anjos won by majority decision and all three judges had it correct when the scored it 30-27. If he can put together a few dominating fights like tonight he could make title run in 2014.
Francis Carmont vs. Tom Lawlor started slow and neither fighter was able to gain an advantage in the early stages of the first round. The second round was more of the same until Lawlor was able to take Carmont down, but only momentarily. Lawlor was able to finish another take down in the second. Lawler easily won the second round. Round three was slow and boring with neither fighter having an obvious advantage. Carmont eeked out a decision victory. I scored the fight a victory for Lawler, but neither one of these two were very impressive in this fight. Lawlor will need a much better showing in his next match up if he wants to stay in the UFC. The same can be said for Carmont as well.
Johny Hendricks vs. Martin Kampmann was the fight I was most looking forward to. The 46 second knock out of Kampann by Hendricks was a bit of a surprise. He asked for a title shot after the fight and he should get it. This is an all-time great knock out and I underestimated Hendricks. I was wrong about his power, but I will never make that mistake again. He will be handful for whoever he fights next. It is likely that the UFC will give him a title shot in his next fight. GREAT FIGHT.
The title fight between Georges St-Pierre vs. Carlos Condit was of course one of the most anticipated fights of the year. GSP was able to land a take down early in the first and maintained control for the rest of the round. We did not see the gigantic cut that Condit suffered from the ground and pound of GSP until the end of the round. Round two was a duplicate of round one. GSP took Condit down and was a bloody mess from some great ground and pound. At the end of the round one side of Condit’s face was totally covered like a horror movie. GSP also suffered a small cut in the round. The start of round three found GSP on his back from a nice head kick. This was an unbelievably amazing round and fight. Back and forth and both fighters were rocked and bloody in the third round. Early in round four GSP smartly took Condit down and controlled the round. Bloody and tired Condit never stopped striking from the bottom. Condit reversed late in the round and but GSP reversed right back. Round five was more of the same. GSP eventually took Condit down and controlled the rest of the way.
This was easily the best fight if the year. Condit never gave up and never stopped trying to win. I am impressed with the way Condit fought, but I am more impressed with GSP. He was rocked in the third and almost lost this fight. He held on and after he shook off the cobwebs took control of the fight and showed why he is one of the all-time great fighters in our sport. GSP wins by decision and now awaits Anderson Silva.
This was the best PPV of the year. Great night of fights from start to finish.
JASON AMADI, MMATORCH COLUMNIST: (7.0)
I don't really want to cover the whole card here. If I was really factoring in the Dos Anjos-Bocek fight, the Carmont-Lawler fight, and most of the prelims, my score would be a lot lower.
There were fights on this card that were not good in any way. But the main event, co-main event, and a couple of other fights delivered in spades.
I've said for years that Carlos Condit was the welterweight best equipped to defeat Georges St-Pierre and I even went as far as to pick him to win. Condit of course, didn't win, but did come damn close. GSP and Carlos Condit had one of the best welterweight title fights in the history of the UFC, and it was because Condit was so game in every facet of sport.
Pound-for-pound, Johny Hendricks might be the biggest puncher in MMA right now. Jon Fitch and Martin Kampmann are two of the most durable guys at 170 pounds, and Hendricks put them both out in the first round. I don't think his wrestling is where it needs to be to stay off the mat against GSP and I don't think he's got a good enough boxing game to even land the big left on St-Pierre.
However, that fight does intrigue me, and if for some reason the super fight between Silva and St-Pierre doesn't happen, that fight is really a fine consolation.
JAMIE PENICK, MMATORCH EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: (7.5)
This event is all about the top two cards. They were the most relevant, they delivered the best action, and that's what the card should be judged on. Sure, there were a few slow moments getting to where we needed to get on Saturday night, but once we got there...
Look, Georges St-Pierre hasn't lost a step, which is incredible given the layoff he had and the injury he came back from. Carlos Condit was always going to be one of the more difficult opponents for him to face because of his dynamism in the striking game, and he nearly pulled off the upset with that head kick in the third round.
We got drama, we got excitement, and we got St-Pierre toughing it out with a dominant top display against one of the toughest S.O.B.'s in the welterweight division. It was an excellent main event, and a fantastic return to the top from St-Pierre.
Before that, Johny Hendricks erased any conversation of his Jon Fitch victory being a fluke or a "lucky punch" by adding another sub-one-minute KO against the historically hard to stop Martin Kampmann. Obviously the GSP-Anderson Silva fight will get the most discussion, but Hendricks is absolutely the No. 1 contender in the welterweight division.
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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