Posted on: March 27, 2010 11:49 pm
Edited on: March 28, 2010 12:46 am
UFC welterweight champion Georges "Rush" St-Pierre defends his title vs. Dan "Outlaw" Hardy in GSP's first fight since UFC 100 last summer.
If Hardy manages to win this fight, it will rank among the biggest upsets in MMA history. And if Hardy wins, it almost has to be via TKO or KO, since Hardy's fists are about the only way he gets out of this with a W.
The more likely scenario is that overwhelming favorite GSP takes this kid to school and leaves the cage with the gold. Place your bets.
Round 1: They each land a right jab. St-Pierre takes Hardy down with a double leg. Hardy pulls his leg up into triangle position but can't keep it there because St-Pierre is passing to side control too quickly. Hardy scrambles to his knees and St-Pierre takes his back. St-Pierre starts with a rear naked choke attempt and tries to transition to an armbar, but Hardy escapes to top position. Hardy stands up and is instantly taken back down by St-Pierre.
Hardy with a very tight closed guard. It doesn't matter. St-Pierre breaks free and passes to full mount. Hardy gives up his back and St-Pierre takes it. Hardy stands up and tries to shake free, but ends up back on the mat. St-Pierre slaps on an armbar and cranks on it, to the point where it looks about to snap. Hardy spins out of it and breaks free, surviving the round. 10-9 St-Pierre, maybe 10-8.
Round 2: Hardy is all smiles at the start of Round 2. He is loving this entire experience. Hardy lands a left jab. Inside leg kick by St-Pierre. Right hook by Hardy is dodged by GSP. St-Pierre with a very fast single leg takedown into half guard, then side control. He makes it look so easy. St-Pierre buries a few knees in Hardy's ribs.
St-Pierre tries to pass to full mount and Hardy scrambles, giving up his back again. Hardy shakes loose and ends up on top in GSP's guard. St-Pierre escapes and they're squaring off again. Hardy needs to let his hands go. Left head kick by Hardy is blocked.
Hardy lands a left hook and St-Pierre answers with a big right. Hardy smiles at him. Superman punch by St-Pierre connects, and he follows up with a double leg takedown. 10-9 St-Pierre.
Round 3: Between rounds, Greg Jackson told St-Pierre to stop trying to pass when he takes Hardy down. St-Pierre takes Hardy down again and starts throwing fists from above. Hardy pushes off with his feet and actually connects with some short punches from the bottom. St-Pierre elevates his stance and tries to throw some bombs down at Hardy, but aborts that idea when Hardy tries to take an armbar.
St-Pierre tries to work an armbar from the top, but Hardy pulls free. Hardy escapes to his feet briefly, but St-Pierre keeps a leg on the way up, and throws him back down. St-Pierre is in side control now. He takes Hardy's back but Hardy's hips are high, so he shakes him off. 10-9 St-Pierre heading into the championship rounds.
Round 4: Another takedown by St-Pierre. Hardy scrambles and gives up his back again, but he's able to re-establish full guard. St-Pierre tries to get some striking going, stacking Hardy near the cage. St-Pierre has side control. St-Pierre establishes a kimura and yanks on it, with more than a minute left. Hardy looks ready to tap, but he doesn't. Eventually, he breaks free.
St-Pierre is back in side control. Hardy is unable to do anything but survive and escape on the ground, but he's doing those things pretty well. Still, St-Pierre is just dominating him. 10-9 St-Pierre. Fifth and final round coming up.
Round 5: Hardy's corner says "You've got to hit him now." You don't say. St-Pierre with a straight left into a right leg kick, and a takedown. The crowd is booing. Hardy scrambles to his knees. St-Pierre throws some knees to the ribs. Hardy goes to his back again, holding St-Pierre in half guard. St-Pierre takes another armbar, but aborts it.
Hardy is exhausted. St-Pierre throwing short fists and elbows on the ground. St-Pierre again tries for a kimura and can't hold it. Hardy gets to his feet long enough to be slammed back to the canvas. St-Pierre tries a kneebar at the buzzer. 10-9 St-Pierre, so I score the fight 50-45 for the champ.
Winner: Georges St-Pierre defeats Dan Hardy via unanimous decision (50-43, 50-44, 50-45) after five rounds to retain the UFC welterweight title.
St-Pierre apologizes to the fans for not being able to finish the fight. Hardy says it was an honor to fight GSP, and he now understands why he's the champ.
When asked why he didn't give up to either of the ugly armbars he was caught in, Hardy tells Joe Rogan "I don't know the meaning of 'tap.'"
GSP has reached the point where virtually everyone is expected to lose to him, so it's no surprise that a relatively one-dimensional fighter like Hardy was expected to get obliterated. For Hardy, lasting five rounds against St-Pierre is a pretty big victory in itself. He probably should have let his hands go a bit more in the early rounds. He was clearly in all-defensive mode on the ground, but with a beast like GSP tossing you around, there's not much shame in that.
I'm not sure St-Pierre has anything to apologize for, either. Hardy simply wasn't going to tap out. Other fighters would have. When you look at it that way, the only thing GSP did "wrong" was that he couldn't break the arm and force a stoppage.
Now comes the hard part: Who does GSP fight next?
Posted on: March 27, 2010 11:21 pm
Edited on: March 27, 2010 11:39 pm
Here come the big boys. Frank Mir takes on Shane Carwin for the interim heavyweight title, and a shot at Brock Lesnar -- the actual UFC heavyweight champion -- presumably this summer.
Mir is obsessed with fighting Lesnar again and beating him, while Carwin was supposed to challenge for Lesnar's belt way back in November, before Lesnar's career-threatening medical drama unfolded.
If the winner of this fight turns up with an injury, the real winner would be Cain Velasquez, who would step in as Lesnar's challenger while Mir or Carwin heals.
Brock Lesnar is standing next to Dana White at cageside as the fight begins.
Round 1: Nobody throws a strike for about 40 seconds. Carwin forces Mir to the cage wall and tries to gets some dirty boxing going. Mir fighting to avoid a takedown now. More short punches and foot stomps by Carwin. Knees to the inside of Mir's thigh by Carwin. Referee Dan Miragliotta breaks them up. Carwin throws a combo and misses. Mir misses the counter. Mir connects on a combo of his own and forces Carwin's back to the cage wall. Carwin reverses position. Short inside punches by Carwin.
Carwin crushes Mir with a series of hard uppercuts and Mir goes to the canvas. He follows up with what must have been 15 or so punches on the ground. Mir rolls out from behind and grabs Carwin's arm, but he really doesn't have anything. Carwin keeps going Donkey Kong on Mir until he flattens out, face-first, and stops defending himself. Miragliotta allows Carwin to get in a few more free shots before stopping the fight.
Winner: Shane Carwin defeats Frank Mir via TKO due to strikes at 3:48 of Round 1.
Carwin is the new UFC interim heavyweight champion. Still undefeated, and still hasn't been taken out of the first round by anyone. This was the longest fight of his career.
Lesnar is in the cage. He tells Carwin "Nice job." Then he tells Joe Rogan that Carwin's belt is make-believe, and his is real. Carwin agrees, and says that's why he's coming after Brock's belt.
Lesnar and Carwin bump fists in a show of respect.
Posted on: March 27, 2010 11:02 pm
Edited on: March 27, 2010 11:18 pm
Kurt "Batman" Pellegrino takes on Fabricio Camoes in our next fight, at lightweight.
Pellegrino has strung together three straight UFC wins and is looking for a fourth, while Camoes made his UFC debut with a draw vs. Caol Uno at UFC 101.
Round 1: They immediately lock up and Camoes lands a nice knee to the body. Camoes tries a throw, almost an arm drag, and gets Pellegrino to the mat long enough to take his back. Pellegrino stands up with Camoes hanging onto back control with one leg hooked in. Pellegrino reaches down to try to loosen the hook and Camoes sinks in a rear naked choke.
Pellegrino stands all the way up and leans forward, trying to shake him off, and head-plants him. Pellegrino then reverses Camoes into a full mount (as the hometown New Jersey crowd erupts with cheers), then ends up in guard. Camoes traps the arm and attempts an omoplata but Pellegrino escapes. Pellegrino with side control, throwing elbows to the head. Camoes applies a D'Arce choke from the bottom but can't hang onto it.
Pellegrino's back in Camoes' full guard now. He transitions to half guard and throws more elbows to the head. Camoes turns inward to avoid a kimura attempt. The buzzer ends the round, and it's 10-9 Pellegrino, but very exciting stuff so far. Camoes is a gamer.
Round 2: Camoes shoots for a single leg and gets stuffed. Pellegrino goes to the mat with him and scrambles to his back. Camoes scrambles to full guard. Pellegrino working over Camoes' head with elbows and short punches. He passes to full mount and keeps hitting Camoes in the head with fists and elbows.
Camoes nearly escapes to his feet but Pellegrino wrestles him back against the cage wall and holds him down. As Camoes stands, Pellegrino lands a series of knees to the head. Camoes tries to break free and Pellegrino stuffs him back to the ground. Rear naked choke by Pellegrino and Camoes taps out, to the delight of the hometown crowd.
Winner: Kurt Pellegrino defeats Fabricio Camoes via submission to a rear naked choke at 4:20 of Round 2.
Posted on: March 27, 2010 10:35 pm
Edited on: March 27, 2010 10:59 pm
Jon Fitch fights Ben Saunders in a welterweight bout thrown together with about two day's notice.
Fitch's original opponent was supposed to be Thiago Alves, but Alves wasn't cleared to fight due to some concern over his pre-fight CAT scan. At first, it was thought that Fitch was off the show due to the UFC having no time to find a suitable replacement, until Saunders -- scheduled to fight Jake Ellenberger on the undercard -- contacted Dana White and asked for Fitch.
Round 1: Saunders with a leg kick. Saunders with a counterpunch as Fitch lunges forward. Saunders takes a clinch but his first knee attempt is blocked, as Fitch takes double underhooks. Fitch with a takedown, and now he's hammering at the body with ground and pound. Saunders trying to push off and escape from the bottom, but Fitch is staying active with strikes. Saunders takes half guard.
Fitch elevates his hips and throws more strikes, then settles into Saunders' full guard. Saunders walks the cage wall and tries to take a limb, but no dice. Fitch still peppering Saunders with elbows and fists from within his guard. The round ends, and it's a no brainer for Fitch, 10-9.
Round 2: Inside leg kick by Fitch. Head kick by Fitch, but it's blocked. Saunders with a lunging left hand into a Muay Thai clinch attempt, but Fitch sees it coming and bodylocks him against the fence. Saunders is known for those Muay Thai knees from the clinch, but he's totally telegraphing that game plan tonight.
Takedown by Fitch, and he goes right back to ground and pound. Fitch spends the next several minutes tenderizing Saunders' head with elbows and fists, bloodying his face and controlling the action entirely. The crowd boos the groundfighting, so referee Dan Miragliotta stands them up, even though Fitch is staying active. That was a bad call. The end the round with some standup, and it's 10-9 Fitch again.
Round 3: Fitch tags Saunders with a straight right, then bodylocks him against the fence again. They separate after a brief struggle. Leg kick by Fitch. Fitch with a boxing combo, then a Muay Thai clinch of his own. A knee doesn't land, so Fitch moves back to the body lock. Miragliotta separates them. Fitch with a nice combo of fists and knees. Saunders applies a clinch briefly before going for a standing kimura. They break, and Fitch lands a nice uppercut on the separation.
Fitch with a takedown. Fitch working his ground and pound. Saunders throws a fist here and there from the bottom, but otherwise, he's just being worked over. Fitch throws elbows and fists until the final buzzer. The audience boos, but hey, this is MMA. You want all-standup fights, try K-1. That's gotta be a 30-27 win for Fitch.
Winner: Jon Fitch defeats Ben Saunders via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) after three rounds.
Posted on: March 27, 2010 10:10 pm
Edited on: March 27, 2010 10:33 pm
Next up is Jim Miller vs. Mark Bocek at lightweight.
Bocek has won four of his past five UFC bouts. Miller has fought six times in the Octagon, with the only loss coming at the hands of Gray Maynard, whom he took to a decision.
Round 1: Both men find the mark with punches up the middle. Bocek shoots for a takedown. Miller stuffs it at first, but then pulls guard as Bocek persists with the attempt. As they scramble, Miller gets up and starts throwing Muay Thai knees in the clinch. Bocek answers with one to the ribs, but he definitely got the worst of that exchange. They separate. Leg kick by Miller.
Bocek connects with a right hand and then takes Miller down with a double leg. Miller instantly applies an omoplata but Bocek slips out of it. Miller's got a very active guard right now, trying to sweep. Bocek's in half guard now as Miller works the arm for a kimura. Miller gets it and cranks on it hard, using it to sweep.
Miller keeps cranking the arm and Bocek actually appears to tap for a split second, but thinks better of it. That was close. Miller works ground and pound from the top to end the round. 10-9 Miller.
Round 2: Miller with a couple of light jabs before Bocek takes him down with a double leg. Miller takes half guard. Bocek passes to side control, but Miller scrambles back into full guard position. Bocek applies an arm triangle and tries to pass guard, but Miller defends well. Bocek tries to pass to the other side and Miller traps his leg, rolling into a heel hook. He can't sink it in far enough and Bocek winds up back in Miller's guard.
Miller tries to scramble into a better position and winds up with Bocek taking his back. Bocek applies a body triangle and traps Miller's right arm in the triangle. Bad news for Miller here. Bocek trying for a rear naked choke. That's a tight body triangle. Bocek hammers away at Miller's head, then goes to a neck crank. With 10 seconds remaining, Miller stands up with Bocek hanging off his back, and slams him to the mat. Incredible display of guts by Miller, but that's Bocek's round, 10-9.
Round 3: Miller with an uppercut. Bocek is bleeding from the top of his head. Straight right by Miller. They're boxing each other now, with neither landing much to speak of. Bocek goes for a single leg as Miller grabs a guillotine. Both men let go. Miller now with a takedown attempt of his own. Not happening.
Bocek takes a leg this time. Bocek throws Miller to the mat and tries to take his back again, but Miller avoids it. Miller's back up, and Bocek fights for another takedown. Bocek tries for a guillotine and Miller slips out, then spins to Bocek's back and tries for a rear naked choke. Time expires, and this round's close. I might give it to Bocek, 10-9, so I have Bocek winning 29-28. We'll see what the judges think.
Winner: Jim Miller defeats Mark Bocek via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) after three rounds.
Posted on: March 27, 2010 9:43 pm
Edited on: March 27, 2010 9:58 pm
Nate Diaz vs. Rory Markham is next, in a 177-pound catchweight bout.
This was scheduled to be a welterweight bout, but Markham missed weight by a whopping seven pounds. He informed the UFC ahead of time that he wasn't going to be able to make weight, and cut a deal with Diaz to still accept the fight in exchange for a portion of Markham's purse. The New Jersey State Athletic Commission also fined Markham $1,000 for coming in overweight.
Diaz greeted fans at the weigh-ins yesterday with a one-finger salute. Hard to believe, I know, but true story.
Round 1: Diaz right a trio of soft right hands to start. Markham answers with a leg kick. Markham throws a head kick and misses. They're both slugging away without much hesitation. Diaz is throwing lots of hands and Markham decides to cover up. Knee to the head by Diaz and Markham is on the ground. Diaz takes his back. Diaz hammers away at Markham's head while holding him in a body triangle from behind. Diaz abandons the body triangle to flatten Markham out, and he's just punishing Markham's head at this point. Total domination, with Markham doing nothing but covering his head. The referee waves it off.
Turns out, the extra weight did nothing for Markham other than cost him money.
Winner: Nate Diaz defeats Rory Markham via TKO due to strikes at 2:47 of Round 1.
Markham has a big mouse under his left eye. Diaz gives a few shout outs into the mic, including plugs for his brother Nick ("Number One in the World!"), Jake Shields, Gilbert Melendez, and others.
Posted on: March 27, 2010 9:05 pm
Edited on: March 27, 2010 9:21 pm
Ricardo Almeida takes on Matt Brown in the welterweight division to kick things off.
Brown is on a three-fight winning streak in the UFC, and he finished all three opponents. Almeida's looking for his third straight win here.
Round 1: Almeida forces Brown to the cage wall with a takedown attempt. Brown fights it, but eventually gets tripped down. Brown's on his backside and Almeida is trying to move him away from the cage. Brown uses the fence for leverage to get back to his feet. Brown throws a couple knees to the thigh. Almeida answers with a close-range left hook. More clinchwork before referee Dan Miragliotta separates them.
Almeida shoots for a single leg takedown. Almeida is fighting for it, but Brown's defense is solid. Almeida with a left elbow and a right fist, trying to soften Brown up to complete the takedown. Another short elbow to the jaw by Almeida. And another. Almeida with a three-punch combo before the buzzer. 10-9 Almeida by my scorecard.
Round 2: Almeida completes a double-leg takedown right away. Brown scoots back to the cage wall and uses it to get upright again. Brown reverses Almeida's back to the fence. These guys are technically sound, but Almeida's strategy doesn't make for an entertaining fight. A smattering of boos from the Jersey crowd before Miragliotta separates the clinch again.
Brown with an outside leg kick and gets tagged with a countering elbow. Almeida goes to the mat with him and takes mount, looking to finish. Brown scrambles to his knees as Almeida puts the hooks in and secures his back. Body triangle, rear naked choke, and it's all over. Brown taps out. Excellent technique by Almeida.
Winner: Ricardo Almeida defeats Matt Brown via submission to a rear naked choke at 3:30 of Round 2.
Posted on: March 27, 2010 8:53 pm
Here are the undercard results so far from UFC 111 in Newark, N.J.:
Seven fights remain, including the two title bouts. I'll have live round-by-round coverage of the remaining fights right here on this blog beginning at around 9 p.m. ET.
Refresh the main blog link for the latest fights (each will have a separate blog entry).