Its finally over, the hype, the rave, and the talks, with Montreals welterweight champion leaving a mark not only in the UFC but an everlasting impression on his opponent.
The biggest fight in UFC history took place in Las Vegas on this past Saturday night in the celebrated MGM Grand. Voted as one of Canadas top athletes, George Rush St. Pierre scuffled with lightweight champion and Hawaiian native The Prodigy BJ Penn in UFC 94s main event.
The first televised fight on the card saw Nate Diaz and Clay Guido in an all-out wrestling match. In the first five-minute-round, Guido placed Diaz in a full-nelson and converted it into a body slam that shook the sticky ground through the auditorium. A shaken Diaz gave the thumbs-up to his corner with 20 seconds left in the first round indicating to his fans and management that it was all under control. As Guidos hair flung around three rounds of precisioned exchanges and great takedowns, the verdict was a split decision awarded to Clay Guido.
Karo Parisyan and Dong Hyun Kim were up next, with Kim exploding out of the gate with quick submission attempts and a flurry of punches, overwhelming a defensive Parisyan. Yet the flair of Karos skilled Judo throws dominated the second round and won the audience over. The men spent the final against the fence making it a tough call for the judges, but another split decision was extracted to award Parisyan victory.
Next on the card were American Psycho Stephan Bonnar and young, newcomer Jon Jones. Jones was the first to launch a strict offensive when he landed a beautiful spinning back fist that in the replays looked more like an elbow to the back of Bonnars cranium. The 21-year old followed that with a knee to Bonnars chin which brought the crowd out of their seats. Shaken, Bonnar was not able to recover and Jones capitalized with aggressive wrestling throws and calculated takedowns. This time the judges unanimously voted Jones as the defeater.
The night simply got better and better, and the next bout featured two perfect 13-0 records colliding in the octagon — Lyoto Machida versus Thiago Silva. At the end of the five-minute mark, Brazilian p o w e r h o u s e Machida floored his opponent with an amazing strike from fist to chin, knocking him out cold, thereby ending and deciding the fight.
Despite a number of great fights already in the bag, the crowd was hungry for the main event. Like a drum roll, you could hear the excitement in Bruce Buffers announcement. (Is it just me, or are his jerky movements and broadcasts getting more and more eccentric?)
The UFC had built this fight to extreme volume through three half hour shows on Spike TV that followed the men through their hometown regimes and routines preparing for the rematch. GSP was highlighted as the hard working specialist who fought for everything that he has with the champion belt and Penn as the silverspoon brat and a machine build for MMA.
The two locked up at the bell and pushed the clinch for the entire fight. GSP was able to bully his smaller foe into the fence while throwing the occasional short-range strike. As we have heard in past fights, chants of U.S.A. bled into G.S.P. as the crowd witnessed the fierceness and accuracy of the Montrealers fury.
Within no time, Penn completely gassed, and with no steam left he allowed GSP to beat him about the head exposing multiple cuts and an angry mouse under one eye. Right before the bell for the fifth and last round, the Octagon-side physician William Berliner, as well as Penns cornermen threw in the towel declaring St. Pierre the remaining champion.
Note: In closing I would like to acknowledge the passing of an icon. The Gracie family monarch Helio Gracie recently died at the age of 95 leaving behind an infallible legacy that has changed the face of mixed martial art. His teachings and dedication to the discipline will not be forgotten and will surely live on in the sport.