MMA: Power Ranking the 10 Best Performances of November
Georges St-Pierre returned in a big way this past month. The long-time welterweight champion regained his undisputed title by overcoming adversity to defeat interim titleholder Carlos Condit.
In the third round of the UFC 154 main event, St-Pierre was blasted with a Condit head kick. Not since his shocking loss to Matt Serra had St-Pierre been in as much trouble, but he covered up and regrouped to win the round on two of the judges' scorecards.
After more than 18 months on the shelf, St-Pierre showed he is still the best welterweight in the world. If the UFC and Anderson Silva have their way in 2013, St-Pierre will have a chance to prove he's the best fighter MMA has ever seen in any weight class.
St-Pierre's win over Condit was impressive, but was it the most awe-inspiring showing of November? Let's take a look by counting down the 10 best performances of the month.
10. Marcin Held
At Bellator 81, Marcin Held sent former UFC competitor Rich Clementi into retirement with a second-round toe hold in the semifinal round of a lightweight tournament.
With the win, Held moved himself into the 155-pound finals, where he will meet Dave Jansen for a chance to earn a shot at the Bellator lightweight championship.
A title shot for Held could mean a rematch with Michael Chandler, who is expected to defend his belt against Rick Hawn in the near future.
Chandler submitted Held in the quarterfinals of a tournament that catapulted him to a championship bout with Eddie Alvarez, whom he defeated in an instant classic.
9. Jordan Mein
With Strikeforce's future looking gloomy, Jordan Mein was able to book a fight with former UFC fighter Forrest Petz under the Score Fighting Series banner.
The promising Canadian welterweight took less than 90 seconds to dispose of Petz with a series of knees and elbows. Mein has now won eight of his past nine fights, with his only loss during that time coming via split decision against Tyron Woodley.
Since he's not currently scheduled to fight at Strikeforce's final show in January, there's a good chance this win over Petz could kick off UFC contract negotiations for Mein.
8. Tyson Griffin
After being knocked out by Bart Palaszewski in October 2011, Tyson Griffin was released from the UFC, potentially as a result of failing to make weight for the featherweight bout.
For the first time in more than six years, Griffin was going to compete outside of the Octagon. The long-time UFC fighter took more than one year to return to competition, and he decided to return to the lightweight division during that time.
At Resurrection Fighting Alliance 4, Griffin met another former UFC competitor in Efrain Escudero. Picking up his first 155-pound win in years, Griffin was able to out-wrestle Escudero and walk away with a unanimous-decision victory.
7. Marlon Moraes
The World Series of Fighting was supposed to give Miguel Torres an opportunity to resurrect his career after being let go by the world's premier MMA organization.
Marlon Moraes, Torres' first opponent in the new promotion, had other plans.
The 24-year-old hit the former WEC champion with some heavy shots in the opening round and secured an important takedown in the final minute of the fight to earn a split-decision win on the judges' scorecards.
Expected to be a sacrificial lamb for Torres' WSOF debut, Moraes ended up earning the biggest win of his career in early November.
6. John Lineker
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After losing to Louis Gaudinot in his UFC debut, John Lineker couldn't have rebounded more impressively than he did against Yasuhiro Urushitani at UFC on Fuel TV 6.
The 22-year-old matured as a fighter in his second Octagon appearance and earned the biggest victory of his MMA career by beating Urushitani on the scorecards.
Lineker still swung for the knockout, but his attacks were much more controlled than they were in his bout with Gaudinot. That allowed Lineker to out-land Urushitani in the three-round stand-up fight.
5. Dong Hyun Kim
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Coming off of a disappointing loss due to a muscle spasm in a fight with Demian Maia, Dong Hyun Kim was booked for a bout with another Brazilian grappler in Paulo Thiago.
Though there was some thought that the ground games of the judo black belts would cancel out, Kim was able to control Thiago on the canvas for almost the entirety of the three-round contest.
Kim took Thiago's back on multiple occasions and came close to finishing the fight in the closing minutes. Though he ended up winning by decision, Kim's performance was something to behold against a grappler like Thiago.
4. Rafael dos Anjos
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Much like Dong Hyun Kim, Rafael dos Anjos was matched with a fellow grappler in November and was still surprisingly dominant on the ground.
In a three-round fight with Mark Bocek, dos Anjos stuffed 11 takedowns and scored on four of his five takedown attempts.
The Brazilian battered Bocek with 90 strikes, most of which landed while on the ground, and he won every round on the scorecards.
3. Georges St-Pierre
A dangerous striker with an equally tricky ground game, Carlos Condit was expected to be one of Georges St-Pierre's toughest tests as welterweight champion, especially when considering the Canadian titleholder's long period of inactivity.
Aside from a brief scare in the third round, when he was knocked down by a head kick, St-Pierre was mostly dominant against Condit.
The long-reigning champion took Condit to the ground with frequency and faced little threat of submission throughout the five-round fight. St-Pierre opened Condit up with several elbows and won every round on two of the judges' scorecards.
2. Cung Le
After a loss to Wanderlei Silva in his UFC debut, some believed Cung Le would step away from fighting and back into his acting career. However, the 40-year-old Le has since shown that he has plenty left in the tank.
Le bounced back from his loss to Silva with a decision win over Patrick Cote in July. That win gave the UFC enough reason to book Le for a fight with another popular opponent in Rich Franklin.
In the first round of his bout with Franklin, Le landed an overhand right that folded Franklin. The former middleweight champion crashed awkwardly into the canvas in one of the more brutal knockouts of the entire year.
1. Johny Hendricks
It was almost a replay of his stunning knockout of Jon Fitch.
At UFC 154, Johny Hendricks blasted Martin Kampmann with his left hand and sent the Xtreme Couture fighter catapulting backwards onto his seat.
The knockout win separated Hendricks as the top contender in the welterweight division, but a title shot may have to wait for the former NCAA champion wrestler.
Welterweight titleholder Georges St-Pierre is currently in negotiations for a superfight with middleweight champion Anderson Silva.