UFC 154 Superlatives: The Best and Worst from the Entire Fight Card
Georges St-Pierre made a successful return to the Octagon at UFC 154, beating Carlos Condit after more than 18 months away from competition due to a knee injury.
However, fellow welterweight Johny Hendricks stole some of the champion's spotlight with a first-round knockout of Martin Kampmann, possibly setting himself up for a championship bout against St-Pierre in 2013.
While Hendricks has separated himself as the top welterweight contender, it seems there's a good chance St-Pierre's next fight could come against middleweight champion Anderson Silva. If that is the case, Hendricks has said he's willing to wait for his shot at St-Pierre.
Without a doubt, St-Pierre and Hendricks were the big winners of UFC 154, but there were a number of other great performances in Montreal, Canada on Saturday. Let's take a look at the best and worst from the entire fight card.
Best Performance: Johny Hendricks
Known as one of the most durable welterweights in the world heading into UFC 154, Martin Kampmann hadn't been stopped since September, 2009.
Nonetheless, Hendricks did what Jake Ellenberger and Thiago Alves were unable to do before him by putting the Xtreme Couture fighter away in under one minute.
It was one of the most impressive welterweight showings in recent memory, so the consideration Hendricks is receiving as the next 170-pound title challenger is well-deserved.
Worst Performance: Chad Griggs
There was nothing positive for Chad Griggs to take away from his UFC 154 loss to Cyrille Diabate.
After being submitted by the French kickboxer, Griggs is probably looking at being released from the UFC after first-round losses in his first two appearances with the organization.
Griggs' move from heavyweight to light heavyweight doesn't seem to have made much of a difference in his ability to be competitive at the highest level.
Best Fight: Georges St-Pierre vs. Carlos Condit
Georges St-Pierre's frustrating streak of being unable to finish opponents continued at UFC 154, but that doesn't mean his fight with Carlos Condit lacked in excitement.
In addition to pounding Condit with elbows on the ground, the long-time welterweight champion survived a knockdown after being kicked in the head in the third round.
Both St-Pierre and Condit have been criticized unfairly for their fighting styles recently, but the elite welterweights silenced some of their detractors on Saturday.
Worst Fight: Francis Carmont vs. Tom Lawlor
In three rounds, middleweights Francis Carmont and Tom Lawlor combined for only 54 significant strikes landed.
That figure was matched by Rafael dos Anjos alone in his three-round grappling match with Mark Bocek, who added 19 more significant strikes of his own to that bout's total.
The fight between Carmont and Lawlor wouldn't have been as disappointing as is was had there been as much activity in the grappling department as the was in the bout between Dos Anjos and Lawlor.
However, Carmont and Lawlor found themselves in stalemate after stalemate on the ground and against the fence.
Ultimately, Carmont took a controversial decision victory. UFC president Dana White had little sympathy of Lawlor, though, stating that neither fighter really deserved to win the uneventful bout.
Best Striking: Johny Hendricks
Former NCAA champion wrestler Johny Hendricks could still make some slight improvements in his striking technique, but his power may be unmatched by anyone in MMA right now.
Hendricks went untouched in his UFC 154 bout with Martin Kampmann and only needed to land three strikes to turn the lights out on his opponent's night.
After throwing a right hook, Hendricks came down the middle with his left hand and sent Kampmann timbering backwards in similar fashion to his 12-second knockout of Jon Fitch.
Worst Striking: Chad Griggs
No matter how he approached his fight with Cyrille Diabate, Chad Griggs was going to have a difficult time standing with the French kickboxer. That being said, literally running straight at an opponent with your hands down is often not advisable.
Nonetheless, that is precisely what Griggs did in the early moments of his UFC 154 bout. Predictably, that led to a knockdown that the former Strikeforce heavyweight was never really able to fully recover from.
Best Grappling: Rafael dos Anjos
A bout between jiu-jitsu black belts Rafael dos Anjos and Mark Bocek was expected to be a highly competitive grappling match, but the Brazilian dominated the action from start to finish.
Though Bocek scored four takedowns against both Benson Henderson and Jim Miller, Dos Anjos was able to stuff all 11 of the Canadian's attempted takedowns. Additionally, Dos Anjos was successful on four of his five takedown attempts and controlled his opponent with relative ease on the ground.
Worst Grappling: Chad Griggs
It just wasn't a good night for Chad Griggs on Saturday.
After being knocked down by Cyrille Diabate, Griggs looked sloppy on the ground as well. There was a brief moment where Griggs reversed Diabate, but the man with the best sideburns in MMA quickly found himself in another precarious position and was forced to tap due to a rear-naked choke.
Known almost exclusively for his striking, the submission was Diabate's first inside the Octagon and his only one against a notable opponent.
Best Moment: Georges St-Pierre
After suffering a knee injury that kept him away from competition for more than 18 months, welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre himself wondered whether or not he would ever be the same fighter.
To the dismay of 170-pound fighters everywhere, St-Pierre looked as good as ever in his UFC 154 title fight against Carlos Condit and continued his reign as champion with a decision victory.
It's a shame that fans missed out on witnessing greatness for more than one-and-a-half years, but it appears St-Pierre still has some history-making performances left in him.
Worst Moment: Patrick Cote vs. Alessio Sakara
Patrick Cote and Alessio Sakara delivered the slugfest fans were hoping to see from them, but it didn't result in the desired ending.
After being rocked with elbows, Cote dropped to his knees for a single-leg takedown attempt. That's when Sakara delivered a number of illegal blows to the back of Cote's head, results in a disqualification of the Italian and empty win for the Canadian.
All signs point to a rematch between the middleweight veterans, which is cool, but it would've been nice to have had a decisive finish the first time around.