MATT SERRA VS. GEORGES ST. PIERRE
Undisputed Welterweight championship bout
The Welterweight belt has been in a state of flux since Matt Serra won the belt from Georges St. Pierre in UFC 69. The title shot was Sierras reward for winning the Ultimate Fighter 4 (TUF 4) competition. Serra was scheduled to defend his belt eight months later against Matt Hughes in the battle of TUF 6 coaches at UFC 79. When Serra pulled out due to a bad back, St. Pierre stepped in and the UFC threw in the interim welterweight belt to make things interesting (and save pay-per-view sales). St. Pierre won the interim belt and finally gets his rematch (and chance at the real belt) against Welterweight Champ and TUF 4 winner, Matt Serra. This is Serras first title defense of the belt he won over a year ago.
Georges St. Pierre (GSP) went for the takedown right out of the gate. Serra did a nice job of defending and tying up St. Pierre. Occasionally, St. Pierre would get some room and land a big fist or a vicious elbow. After four minutes of grappling and pounding, Serra developed a mouse under the right eye as St. Pierre began to wear Serra down. With 45 seconds left, Serra made it to his feet. GSP landed a superman punch and took Serra to the mat again with 18 seconds left. GSP manhandled Serra until the round ended.
GSP started off the second with a stiff right and swooped in for the takedown and abused Serra some more. After a minute, Serra got back to his feet but he looked spent, dropping his hands near his waist. St. Pierre flicked a few quick jabs and took Serra down. St. Pierre was in control as he chipped away at Serra, who struggled to survive. St. Pierre continued to pulverize Serras body and put knees in Serras ribs. With twenty seconds left, Sierra rolled onto his knees and lowered his head inside his arms, letting St. Pierre land knee after knee in Serras ribs. The ref, seeing that Serra was no longer defending himself, stopped the fight.
A masterful win for St. Pierre (16-2) now the undisputed welterweight champion. He manhandled Serra on the ground and dominated the entire fight. This was almost a complete shutout. Matt Serra (16-5) didnt get a chance to throw hands or showcase his ground skills. Was Serras first victory a fluke? Was St. Pierre guilty of overconfidence in their first fight? This performance only adds fuel to the fire.
Pure class was displayed by both fighters after the fight. Serra picked up GSP in victory and raised his arm. St. Pierre warned the fans to do nothing to Serra because he is a gentleman. St. Pierre told the fans that Serras trash talking was to hype the fight, as were his own comments. It worked, as the fight sold out and was the UFCs biggest audience to date. Georges also thanked Serra for fighting in his home town of Canada and if there is a third fight, it would be in Serras home town of New York.
RICH FRANKLIN VS. TRAVIS LUTTER
After losing his rematch against champion Anderson Silva in UFC 77, Rich Franklin rejected retirement even though he probably realized he had no chance of regaining his belt from Silva. Perhaps thinking he could defeat whoever eventually dethrones Silva, Franklin continues to fight on against TUF 4 winner, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu specialist, Travis Lutter. Lutter is also coming off a loss to Anderson Silva in UFC 67. The fight was supposed to be a title shot, Lutters reward for winning TUF 4. But after Lutter failed to make weight, the belt was taken off the table. Lutter felt he almost beat Anderson and wants to fight him again. But first, he has to deal with Rich Franklin.
Lutter took this fight to the ground early where he is at an advantage. Franklin did a good job of defending and not letting Lutter settle into position. With 1:55 left, Lutter got full mount and Franklin squirmed out but got caught in an armbar. Just as it looked like it was over, Franklin rolled out of it and seconds later got to his feet. Lutter went for another takedown and came away with Franklins leg. Lutter wouldnt let go despite being hit in the head as time ran out.
Lutter tried two takedowns to start off the second round but Franklin sprawled both of them. Franklin kicked Lutter in the head and wobbled him. Lutter drunkenly tried for a takedown and missed but Franklin let him stand up. Franklin became adept as getting Lutter in a clinch each time Lutter shot in for a takedown. Once in the clinch, Franklin landed some knees and uppercuts that left Lutter dazed and confused. Lutter was now fighting with his hands around his waist, completely gassed. Thrice Franklin jabbed and snapped Lutters head back. With two-and-a-half minutes left, Franklin continued to land hard shots to the face. Lutter slowly went down to all fours. Franklin tried to land the finishing blows but Lutter was being evasive. It didnt matter as the ref decided he had enough and stopped the fight.
An impressive win for Franklin (25-3) against a Jiu-Jitsu specialist that many thought Franklin didnt have the ground skills to stop. Lutter (12-5) is once again, stopped just short of greatness.
KALIB STARNES VS. NATE QUARRY
TUF 1 contestant, Nate Quarry is 4-1 in the UFC, losing only to then-champion Rich Franklin, a fight which almost ended Quarrys career with back surgery. Quarry is coming off a knockout of Pete Sell during Fight Night 11 last September. Kalib Starnes hasnt been as successful, winning two and losing two since his stint as a TUF 3 semi-finalist. Starnes is coming off a loss to Alan Belcher at UFC 77 which was stopped due to a cut so bad you could see Starnes skull.
Nate Quarry came out with the high pressure and ended up chasing Kalib Starnes around the octagon. After about two minutes of this, the crowd began to boo. Quarry was forced to run and swing at the same time in order to lay some leather on the retreating Starnes. Its no wonder. As soon as Starnes staid still, Quarry put the gloves to him.
Round two saw Quarry landing 15-20 leg kicks on Starnes left thigh. Starnes had absolutely no answer for Quarry, retreating and unsuccessfully shooting in for the takedown. Starnes managed to catch one of Quarrys kicks and twist him to the ground but Quarry got up immediately. The crowd continued to boo.
Quarry kept up the same game plan in the third round. With thirty seconds left, a frustrated Quarry, tired of chasing Starnes around the octagon, mocked him by power jogging after Starnes. Starnes flipped him the bird. Starnes continued his back-pedaling and with 10 seconds left in the fight, Quarry grabbed his own head with his left hand and poked his right through to the elbow, much like a child playing elephant, and awkwardly shook his fist at Starnes. Amazingly, instead of pounding Quarry, Starnes continued to run for the entire 10 seconds while Quarry stalked him with his clumsy fist.
Quarry picked up the unanimous decision and improved his Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) record to 16-2. One disgusted judge scored three 10-8 rounds for Quarry. Kalib Starnes, whose entire game plan seemed to be to stay out of harms way, embarrassed himself with a poor showing and dropped to 10-4-1.
Quarry went to Starnes corner after the fight and did the running man again. Kalib was not amused and refused to shake Quarrys hand. The crowd booed. Quarry went back to his corner as Starnes shouted at Quarrys corner, "F@#$ you! Why dont YOU fight me, fa@@ot? F@#$ you! Both fighters shook hands at the official announcement. The crowd cheered every time Quarry appeared on the in-house big-screen and booed every time Starnes appeared. Starnes, a British Columbia Canada native, smiled and egged them on.
MICHAEL BISPING VS. CHARLES MCCARTHY
Things havent gone smooth for Michael Bisping since winning the TUF 3 competition in June 2006. After two tune-up fights, he won a controversial decision against Matt Hamill in UFC 75 by coming up big in the third round after arguably losing the first two. Bisping then went up against TUF 3 winner, Rashad Evans losing a split-decision in UFC 78. Bisping dropped down to middleweight for this fight and badly needs a win against unheralded, Charles McCarthy. A TUF 4 contestant, McCarthys last fight, due to knee surgery, was a win over Gideon Ray in TUF 4 finale November 2006.
Bisping came out with a barrage of fists and knees, all of which landing on McCarthys arms as he covered his head. Twice when the barrage was over, Charles came out laughing and sticking out his tongue. Bisping got Charles up against the fence a third time for another barrage of knees. This time, Bisping slipped a knee between McCarthys arms, right on the forehead and Charles dropped to the canvas. Bisping pounded him until time ran out.
But Charles didnt get up off the canvas when the bell rang. He laid there until the ref waved his arms that McCarthy could not continue and the fight was over.
A decisive, dominating win for Bisping (16-1), exactly what he needed. He looked very good, very strong at his normal weight of 185 lbs. Better to have a middleweight Bisping kicking-tail than a light-heavyweight Bisping losing/winning these close decisions. Charles McCarthy drops to 10-5.
MARK BOCEK VS. MAC DANZIG
Some fighters grouse that TUF winners get coddled. This is Danzigs first fight since winning TUF 6 and his first at lightweight. He goes up against Ontario Canada native, Mark Bocek, a man who is 1-1 in the UFC and hasnt quite yet made a name for himself. So Danzig is not exactly getting thrown to the wolves here.
Boceks wrestling and jiu-jitsu dominated most of the first round and kept Danzig on his back in a defensive position. Then, with just under a minute left, Danzig got the top position and meted out a little ground-and-pound of his own.
Bocek kept up the pressure in the second and thirty seconds into the round walked into a Mac Danzig knee right on the jaw that knocked him backwards and down on one knee. Danzig pounced but was unable to end the fight. After three minutes of wrestling and pounding, Danzig suddenly stood up and beckoned Bocek to do the same. Bocek got the best of striking and shot in to take Danzig down. The round ended with Danzig on top beating Bocek.
The third started out with Bocek on top dealing out some leather. Danzig escaped and stood up. Mac then landed another knee that opened up a vicious cut on Boceks left eyebrow. That seem to sap the fight from Bocek and Danzig stalked him and tagged him with a shot that made Bocek turn his back and run. The ref called time out to check the cut. The cut was bleeding profusely into Boceks eye but fight continued. Danzig was able to land hard shots at will. Then Danzig took him down and pounded him until Bocek rolled onto his stomach. Mac sunk in a rear-naked choke and the fight was over.
Danzig wins his lightweight debut by submission to improve his MMA record to 19-4-1. A very tough Bocek drops to 5-2. A great win for Danzig but a bit of a struggle against an opponent who isnt exactly top of the food chain.
JONATHAN GOULET VS. KUNIYOSHI HIRONAKA
Another French-Canadian Jonathan Goulet went up against Japans Kuniyoshi Hironaka. Goulet did an excellent job of defending Hironakas take-downs and controlling the fight. Goulet kept pressing forward unafraid of Hironakas take-downs. Late in the round Hironaka dropped Goulet with a left hook and Hironaka went nuts trying to pound out a stoppage. Goulet was saved by the bell.
In the second Hironaka staggered Goulet with another left hook. Goulet rocked Hironaka with a big right hand. Moments later, Goulet knocked Hironaka flat on his face with a big overhand right. Goulet pounced to finish him off but Hironaka got up and ran. Goulet caught up with him against the fence and swung away until he dropped Hironaka with another big right hand. End of fight.
Goulet improves his record to 22-9. Hironaka drops to 11-5.
ED HERMAN VS. DEMIAN MAIA
Ed Herman got punked by Demian Maia and knocked unconscious. That ends a three fight win streak for Herman and evens his UFC record at 3-3. Demian Maia wins his second UFC fight.
JASON MACDONALD VS. JOE DOERKSEN
MacDonald defeats Doerksen by TKO (strikes) at 0:56 of the 2nd round.
JASON DAY VS. ALAN BELCHER
Day defeats Belcher by TKO (punches) at 3:58 of the 1st round.
SAM STOUT VS. RICH CLEMENTI
Clementi beats Stout by split decision.
BRAD MORRIS VS. CAIN VELASQUEZ
Velasquez beats Morris by TKO at 2:10 of the 1st round