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St. Pierre is champ

Georges St-Pierre, above, of Canada, fights England’s Michael Bisping during a middleweight title mixed martial arts bout at UFC 217 in New York. St-Pierre won the fight. (AP)

Georges St-Pierre, above, of Canada, fights England’s Michael Bisping during a middleweight title mixed martial arts bout at UFC 217 in New York. St-Pierre won the fight. (AP)

NEW YORK (AP) – Georges St. Pierre peered through the blood that washed over his face and locked on a choke hold, a packed house at Madison Square Garden absolutely roaring for “G-S-P!’’

St. Pierre tightened his grip until Michael Bisping had no more fight left. Four years after he walked away from UFC for a mental breather, St. Pierre walked out of MSG a champion – a breathtaking reminder that the Canadian is still one of the best ever inside the octagon.

And he proved it in the main event in one of UFC’s all-time great cards.

St. Pierre ended UFC 217 by reasserting himself as a top star in the sport, turning his middleweight championship bout against Bisping into a mismatch Saturday night. The 36-year-old fought like he had only four months off, not four years.

“I don’t have words in my mouth right now,’’ GSP said, wiping blood from his face. He went to a hospital after the fight to get stitches on his nose.

St. Pierre’s 13th straight UFC victory made it three for three for the championship challengers in front of 18,201 fans in the promotion’s second card at the Garden in 12 months. T.J. Dillashaw won the bantamweight championship for the second time and Rose Namajunas won the strawweight title on the pay-per-view card. “It’s time for a new era in this sport,’’ Namajunas said.

UFC, a promotion at a crossroads with its box office superstars Conor McGregor, Ronda Rousey, and Jon Jones on the bench, got a breakthrough outing from Namajunas that stamped her as the face of the women’s division.

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