Georges St Pierre successfully defended his Welterweight title at UFC 129 by defeating Jake Shields via unanimous decision. It wasn’t pretty by any means and was far from the dominant performance that we’ve all come to expect from GSP, but his effective jab and takedown defense carried him to victory.
The fight started off slow with both guys feeling each other out. Almost the first half of Round 1 had GSP and Shields trying to find some rhythm and establish a jab. GSP had more success, landing a few solid shots. With about 1:30 left in the round, GSP nailed Shields with a jab that sent Shields to the mat. Shields quickly recovered before he could be mounted. As the round ended, GSP seemed to have found a rhythm and had Shields in a steady back-peddle to defend.
Round 2 was much of the same. GSP attempted a few roundhouse kicks that he also attempted in round 1. Thus far, only 1 of these 5 kicks has been successful. He also found success with the 1-1-2 combo. Shields spent much of the round on the defense was again and seemed to be hesitant to push forward. I really expected Shields to want to take this fight to the ground as he has a distinct advantage in that department. While he did attempt 1 takedown, it was immediately stuffed. If this fight stays standing, it was going to end with a GSP win by either KO or decision.
Even with the fight standing working against him, the 3rd frame of the fight remained that way even though we would eventually finally see these guys leave their feet. With about 20 seconds left in the round, GSP reversed a kick attempt by Jake Shields and successfully took him down. As the round winded down, it was clear that GSP was having problem with vision in his left eye. A few replays later showed that the damage was the result of either a short, quick jab or a possible eye-poke during the takedown attempt.
If there was any eye injury, it didn’t show much in Round 4. GSP did complain after the round that he couldn’t see with out of his left eye, but he was still pretty effective even with one eye. The eye injury had worsened as a result of the right cross from Shields. At around the 2:45 mark of the round, GSP leveled Shields with a high, side kick that sent Shields to the mat. GSP pounced on Shields, but it was much to do about nothing before the fight returned to the feet. The kicked caused some blood from the nose of Shields. By the end of the round, the right cross had also done some damage to the face of GSP as he also had blood pouring from his nose and mouth.
In the championship round, the fight stayed standing once again. What we saw tonight was a fighter who finally stood pretty tall against GSP. We didn’t see the normally dominant Georges St. Pierre that we’ve grown accustomed to, but it got the job done. GSP was awarded the victory by unanimous decision.
What’s next is anyone’s guess. Jake Shields was effective enough to possibly merit a rematch, specifically with the Welterweight division all-but-ransacked by GSP. If the fight were more excited, I could see an immediate rematch being in the cards. The more pressing, fan-anticipated fight for GSP would come from Strikeforce Welterweight champ Nick Diaz. While there are rumors out there that Diaz is interested in a professional boxing career, I would be hard pressed to think that Diaz would turn down the Welterweight match that many MMA fans want to see.
In the co-main event, we saw champion Jose Aldo and Mark Hominick battle with the UFC Featherweight Championship on the line for the first time ever. The fight went the distance and saw Jose Aldo successfully defend his belt in a pretty lop-sided victory.
Aldo dominated round 1 by literally chopping the leg out from under his opponent. Aldo used his famed soccer kicks over and over that had Hominick clearly moving around quite gingerly by mid-round. Aldo also opened up a small cut under Hominick’s eye. Aldo had two successful takedowns during the round and easily owned the round.
Round 2 saw a much different Aldo as he appeared to be gassed. Joe Rogan told the story of how Aldo had to cut a ton of weight for the fight and even had to leave a special UFC Champions Q&A session with the fans due to feeling light-headed. Hominick pressed for the first half of the round and was clearly out-boxing Aldo. For whatever reason, Aldo completely forgot about the leg kicks that won him the first round. Aldo eventually got tired of being out-punched and took Hominick to the ground on 2 separate occasions but did very little with it. It was a round that could go either way.
Round 3 came and gone with much of the same as round 2, but with an exciting portion of the fight that seemed to be the conclusion. Hominick once again out-boxed Aldo again for most of the round before Aldo caught him with a left hook to the temple which sent Hominick crashing to the mat. Aldo mounted for the finish but simply could not get it done. Hominick recovered and even gave the thumbs-up to his corner while in the guard. Hominick’s right eye, however, was badly damaged and would be a problem going forward.
The 4th round almost ended the fight prematurely when Hominick was tagged with a serious elbow while in the guard. The elbow opened up a massive knot over the right eye on the forehead that prompted ref “Big” John McCarthy to get a doctor in the octagon. After a brief examination, the doctor permitted the fight to continue much to the surprise of the announcers and most of the viewing audience. Round 4 was pure domination by Aldo and barring a miracle from Hominick, Aldo had a pretty substantial lead going into the final round.
That miracle almost came in round 5. Hominick scored a takedown on an extremely tired Aldo and spent most of the round in mount with punches raining down on his face. A stoppage never seemed to come close, but it was obvious that the champ had very little left in the tank and was pretty much in survival mode. He survived the round and was awarded the victory on the scorecard of all three judges.
Up next on the horizon for Aldo could be the undefeated Chad Mendes. Mendes defeated Michihiro Omigawa at UFC 126 and has been pegged as the number 2 featherweight in the world by most of the MMA media.
We also saw the expected final MMA match in the storied career of “The Natural” Randy Couture. The ending of the match was rather brutal, so here’s to hoping that the fans remember him for the path he created as opposed to being the guy that got knocked out by a move showcased in a famous movie.
Round 1 of the fight was rather uneventful. Both Couture and Machida exchanged strikes the entire time. Machida spent most of the fight doing his normal back-peddling and counter routine. Randy looked noticeably since the last time we saw him and unsuccessfully attempted to get Machida in the clinch on two separate occasions. Aside from a knee that caught Randy pretty flush at the end of the first round, it was rather boring. From my standpoint, it seemed to be a round that would go to Machida.
Round 2 was pretty much the same for the first minute until Machida nailed Randy with a highlight-reel knockout straight out of the movie “The Karate Kid”. If you’ve seen “The Crane” from that movie, then you saw the exact same move that knocked Randy Couture out cold. The match was stopped instantly and “The Dragon” knew it was over the second the kick came. Machida credited Steven Seagal with teaching him the move. It was quite a surreal ending that can be compared with the front-face kick that Anderson Silva used to defeat Vitor Belfort just months ago. Ironically, Silva also credited Seagal with being the driving force behind his front kick.
After the match, Couture confirmed that he was indeed retiring as Eric mentioned right here on this blog days ago. The crowd roared and saluted Randy as he left the octagon. If this is indeed the last time we’ve seen Couture, we have each witnessed one of the trailblazers of the sport. But, whatever you do, don’t make the mistake of calling him a legend. I won’t get into that as I’ve crossed that path before, but (cheap pop time!) read the story anyway: Randy Couture is Not a Legend!
If there was a match that could possibly change Couture’s mind, it could be the Fedor Emelianenko fight that Couture has lusted for many years now. After all, Dana White did promise Randy Couture that if he were to ever acquire “The Last Emperor”, Couture would get the first crack at him. Couture did seem sincere this time when saying he was done, but let’s not forget that he’s told us this twice before.
Never say never.
UFC 129 St. Pierre vs Shields Quick Results
Pablo Garza def. Yves Jabouin via submission (triangle choke)
John Makdessi def. Kyle Watson via knockout (spinning back fist)
Jason MacDonald def. Ryan Jensen via submission (triangle choke)
Ivan Menjivar def. Charlie Valencia via TKO (strikes)
Claude Patrick def. Daniel Roberts via unanimous decision
Jake Ellenberger def. Sean Pierson via KO (punch)
Rory MacDonald def. Nate Diaz via unanimous decision
Ben Henderson def. Mark Bocek via unanimous decision
Vladimir Matyushenko def. Jason Brilz via knockout (punches)
Lyoto Machida def. Randy Couture via knockout (kick)
Champ Jose Aldo def. Mark Hominick via unanimous decision
Champ Georges St Pierre def. Jake Shields via unanimous decision