Credits: QMI AGENCY/PHOTO
Welcome back, Georges (Rush) St. Pierre.
The Montreal native unified the welterweight titles, winning an exciting unanimous decision over interim champ Carlos (Natural Born Killer) Condit in the main event of UFC 154 in Montreal Saturday.
After a brief feeling-out process in the first round, St. Pierre took Condit to the mat. He then delivered big punches, but Condit used head movement to avoid taking the brunt of the blows early. But St. Pierre continued to chip away, landing punches and elbows from inside Condit’s guard. St. Pierre tagged Condit with a series of jabs in the second. As Condit jumped in for a sloppy flying knee, St. Pierre responded with a straight-right. St. Pierre took Condit down after the half-way point of the second and began unloading with punches as Condit frantically returned shots from the bottom.
Condit dropped St. Pierre with a high kick in the third and unloaded with punches, but couldn’t put him away. A bloody St. Pierre returned to his feet and slammed Condit to the mat, where he continued to deliver punches. St. Pierre immediately secured a takedown in the fourth and transitioned to half-guard, but couldn’t hold the position. Condit managed to return to his feet before taking St. Pierre down, but his time in top position was fleeting. The frame came to a close with St. Pierre striking from within Condit’s guard.
Condit defended a takedown attempt early in the fifth before landing a stiff straight right. Later in the frame St. Pierre tagged Condit with punches to set up yet another takedown. He briefly secured back control, but Condit rolled out. St. Pierre went back to striking within Condit’s guard as the fight ended.
After five rounds, the judges scored it 49-46, 50-45 and 50-45 for St. Pierre.
“People talk about ring rust — I definitely know what it is now,” St. Pierre said. “Carlos gave me my toughest fight.
“Give it up to Carlos Condit, ladies and gentlemen.”
St. Pierre admitted he didn’t see Condit’s high kick in the third coming.
“I didn’t see the kick,” St. Pierre said. “In the (second), I got punched in the eye and my eyes were blurry. I didn’t see the kick and what you don’t see is dangerous.”
A disappointed Condit said he though he had St. Pierre finished.
“I though I had him,” Condit said. “He did a good job of recovering, staying close to me and hitting me with an up-kick.
“He was able to hold me down better than expected. I expected to create more scrambles, but I couldn’t. I feel I did well and left it all in there. But I need to go back to drawing board.”
The victory for St. Pierre marks the end of a lengthy hiatus from active competition.
His last outing saw him pick up a lacklustre unanimous-decision victory over Jake Shields at UFC 129 in Toronto April 30, 2011. He was set to meet Nick Diaz at UFC 137 seven months later, but Diaz no-showed two press events. Condit stepped in as a replacement, but St. Pierre suffered a knee injury. Diaz stayed on, defeating B.J. Penn via unanimous decision before calling out the Montreal native.
Condit was then thrown to the wayside so St. Pierre could face the former Strikeforce welterweight champion at UFC 143 in February. However, it was soon announced St. Pierre would require surgery to repair a torn ACL. As a result, Condit was paired with Diaz in the main event, winning a unanimous decision to capture the interim title.
St. Pierre said his knee didn’t bother him during the fight.
“I would never have fought if my knee bothered me,” St. Pierre said. “I knew I was good for the fight.”
Following the win, St. Pierre said he plans on taking some time off to plan his next move.