This afternoon UFC President Dana White put the speculation of a potential inter-promotion superfight between UFC Welterweight Champion “Rush” Georges St. Pierre (22-2) and Strikeforce Welterweight Champion “Diablo” Nick Diaz (24-8) to rest via his Twitter: “U wanted it! U GOT IT!!! GSP vs DIAZ Oct 29th UFC 137 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas (sic)”, White announced to his nearly 1.5 million followers on the social networking site.
In the largest UFC event in history, the hype riding behind one of the organization’s most stacked cards did not fall short of expectations within the Rogers Centre of Ontario, Toronto, Canada. A former champion made his debut in the UFC against a rising star. A veteran of the game proves to show that even old dogs can learn new tricks. A legend of the game made the walk to the cage for the final time with a potential UFC Hall of Famer waiting inside. A hometown hero and a fighter who destroys all in his way let their fists fly with a title on the line. In the main event, one of the world’s greatest fighters battled against a specialist who has been unfamiliar with defeat for a period of time. With all the historic events that went down at UFC 129: St. Pierre vs. Shields this past Saturday night, here is a recap of the evening as well as future match-ups that might take place for the victors.
More is on the line than the UFC welterweight title tonight at UFC 129: St. Pierre vs. Shields. The main event will be another chapter in an ages old philosophical debate akin to the combat sports version of the immovable object and the irresistible force. It is the answer to the question of who is the best fighter – the man with the longer winning streak and belts in multiple smaller promotions, or the man who has fought in the best promotion against arguably better opponents and defended his title multiple times? That answer will become glaringly apparent this evening when former top Elite XC welterweight and Strikeforce and Shooto Welterweight Champion Jake Shields (26-4) faces off against world renowned UFC Welterweight Champion “Rush” Georges St. Pierre (21-2).
Toronto, Ontario, Canada gets its first taste of UFC action when the Rogers Centre hosts UFC 129: St. Pierre vs. Shields this Saturday. In the main event, title challenger Jake Shields (26-4-1) hopes to keep his six-year winning streak going when he faces current 170lbs. king “Rush” Georges St. Pierre (21-2) for the coveted welterweight title. The headlining superfight is directly supported by “Junior” José Aldo (17-1) returning from the injured list to face “The Machine” Mark Hominick (19-7) with his featherweight title up for grabs. Nebraska’s favorite fighter “The Hitman” Jason Brilz (18-3-1) enters the cage opposite International Fight League (IFL) veteran “The Janitor” Vladimir Matyushenko (25-5) and Toronto’s native son Mark Bocek (9-3) plans to give former WEC champ “Smooth” Ben Henderson (11-2) a rude welcoming in his UFC debut. In the midst of the action, history will be made as “The Natural” Randy Couture (19-11) enters the Octagon, allegedly for the last time, against the always calm but equally dangerous “The Dragon” Lyoto Machida (16-2). While the UFC Hall of Famer Couture will always be loved and admired for his accomplishments both in and outside the sport, ending his career on the highest possible note with a victory may prove difficult against Machida, who himself looks to get back on the road towards title contention.
The following is a blog written yesterday by UFC Hall of Famer Matt Hughes (43-8) for his website, stating his stance on one of the two controversial bouts from last Saturday’s UFC 127: Penn vs. Fitch card – the main event between “The Prodigy” BJ Penn (16-7-2) and Jon Fitch (22-3-1). The three-round affair was set to determine the next contender to challenge UFC Welterweight Champion “Rush” Georges St. Pierre’s (21-2) title, but to the surprise of nearly everyone, the bout resulted in a Majority Draw and sparked outcries from the MMA community world wide. Here is what Hughes, whose most recent loss came by Penn via first round knockout at UFC 123, has to say about the judges’ decision.
Australia will get its second helping of UFC action tomorrow night as the world’s premier MMA promotion returns with UFC 127: Penn vs. Fitch. The card kicks the night off with a good ole’ fashioned slugfest as The Ultimate Fighter alums Chris Camozzi (14-3) and “KO” Kyle Noke (18-4-1) take the cage. The night follows with a rematch between “Lights Out” Chris Lytle (30-17-5) and Brian Ebersole (39-13-1) before launching into back-to-back fights with potential title implications as Dennis Siver (17-7) faces George Sotiropoulos (14-2) and “El Conquistador” Jorge Rivera (18-7) squares up with the vocal British TUF product “The Count” Michael Bisping (20-3). However, the fight on everyone’s mind is the main event clash between two polar opposites as the mercurial finishing machine “The Prodigy” BJ Penn (16-7-1) faces the consistently effective grinder Jon Fitch (22-3). Fans all seek to learn whether or not a trip to welterweight is what BJ needed to take his career seriously again and nothing would prove that better than following his brutal 21 second KO of Matt Hughes (43-8) with a win over Fitch. Fitch has other plans though as a win over arguably the most talented fighter of all time would put him right in line for a second shot at the title held by the only man to defeat him in nearly a decade, “Rush” Georges St. Pierre (21-2).
Strikeforce lights up Austin, Texas this Friday, February 18 at the Cedar Park Center with it’s ShoMMA: Challengers 14 fight card. Featured in the main event, undefeated slick submission artist “Fancy Pance” Lyle Beerbohm (15-0) steps in against the well rounded veteran that is “Bam Bam” Patrick Healy (20-15) with both martial artists looking to take a step closer to being a lightweight title contender. The co-main event for the evening features the highly regarded “Natural Light” Ryan Couture (1-0) attempting to live up to his father’s name – UFC Hall of Famer and multiple-time champion “The Natural” Randy Couture (19-10) – by taking on Lee Higgins (2-0) a practically unknown fighter who has an outstanding ground game and hails out of Houston, Texas. The main card also showcases three other bouts with the likes of Brazilian-born and current Bryan, Texas resident Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt and Judo brown belt Carlo Prater (24-8-1) versus NCAA wrestler Bryan Travers (12-2), Vale Tudo fighter “Bad Apple” Erik Apple (10-2) taking on Houston native and BJJ brown belt Ryan Larson (5-2), and Cesar Gracie Academy kickboxer David Douglas (5-2) vs. Austin’s all around fighter “The Ghost” Nick Gonzalez (16-9). All in all, Challengers 14 offers a solid night of outstanding prospects looking to make waves in the lower ranks of the Strikeforce promotion.
Despite a professional MMA career peppered with legal tribulations including most recently the California State Athletic Commission’s (CSAC) refusal to license “The Babyfaced Assassin” Josh Barnett (21-5) to fight in the State of California, Barnett is bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and ready for the inaugural Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix to get under way. He signed a multi-fight deal with Strikeforce in September 2010 and is expected to have his debut fight in the promotion in the quarter-finals of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Tournament, facing “The Grim” Brett Rogers (11-2).
For the first time in its history, Zuffa is bringing its premier mixed martial arts promotion the UFC to Ontario, Canada. On April 30 the Rogers Centre will host UFC 129, the sixth live event held by the UFC in Canada and the first in Ontario since MMA was officially legalized and sanctioned in the province in August of last year. The Toronto event was originally slated for UFC 131 but later changed as the promotion’s busy 2011 schedule fell into place.
After months of speculation and an abundance or reported candidates, UFC President Dana White finally put the rumors to rest this afternoon and announced that former UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar (5-2) and current top contender “Cigano” Junior Dos Santos (12-1) will act as the coaches for The Ultimate Fighter Season 13.
WWE-superstar-turned-MMA-powerhouse Brock Lesnar stripped UFC Hall of Famer and multiple-time UFC champion “The Natural” Randy Couture (19-10) of the heavyweight title at UFC 91 in November 2008. He made two successful title defenses, against Frank Mir (14-5) and “The Engineer” Shane Carwin (14-5), before being defeated and losing his belt to current champion Cain Velasquez (9-0) at UFC 121 in October. Many fans have a love-hate relationship with Lesnar, as the two-time NCAA Div. I wrestler’s aggressive smack talk doesn’t sit well with some. Undoubtedly the inclusion of Lesnar in TUF 13 will give the show’s ratings a boost.
Well, that was quick. Less than three weeks after “The Natural” Randy Couture (19-10) announced somewhat ambiguously via his personal Twitter and Facebook accounts that he was hanging up his 4oz. gloves for good, MMAFighting.com reported that the UFC Hall of Famer is tentatively slated to face former Light Heavyweight Champion “The Dragon” Lyoto Machida (16-2) at UFC 129 in April. When asked yesterday if the fight with Machida was in the works, Couture said that he had not yet signed a contract, but had verbally agreed to meet with Machida in 2011.
This Saturday at UFC 124 the welterweight championship belt will be up for grabs again when “Rush” Georges St. Pierre (20-2) faces off against Josh Koscheck (15-4). This match-up will be an attempt to extend a seven fight winning streak for 170lb. division king GSP which includes and would lengthen his current count of consecutive title defenses from four to five. Much of the The Ultimate Fighter Season 12 was marked by Koscheck attempting to get under GSP’s skin and GSP ignoring him completely. All of St. Pierre’s animosity for Koscheck has been channeled into his training, creating one of the most dangerous weapons on the planet – a motivated Georges St. Pierre.
UFC 123 is in the books. The evening of stellar matches answered a lot of questions, but also rendered some less-than-clear implications. Former top lightweight contender Tyson Griffin (14-5) fell to Nik Lentz (17-3-2) via Split Decision, extending his record to include a consecutive trio of defeats. Armenian Judoka “The Heat” Karo Parisyan (18-6) was TKO’d by “Superman” Dennis Hallman (45-13-2) less than halfway through the first round. “A-Train” Aaron Simpson (6-2) was derailed by “The Phillipine Wrecking Machine” Mark Munoz (7-2) via Unanimous Decision after a hard-fought battle from both men. TUF Season 7 alum “The Immortal” Matt Brown’s (11-10) record drops down to just over .500 after being submitted via Guillotine Choke by his opponent Brian Foster (15-5) in the second round, leaving his future with the UFC in question. Australia’s George Sotiropoulos (14-2) won Fight of the Night honors by tapping out submission specialist “J-Lau” Joe Lauzon (19-6) via Kimura in the second stanza. Submission of the Night winner “Mr. Wonderful” Phil Davis (7-0) remained undefeated and submitted “The Barbarian” Tim Boetsch (12-4) with a hybrid Hammer Lock/Kimura halfway through Round 2. The common misconception that “unknown” fighters aren’t UFC-worthy was disproved when UFC newcomer and Chute Box aficionado “Big Rig” Maiquel Falcao (8-1) dismantled “Hurricane” Gerald Harris (17-3) for nearly three whole rounds, earning the Unanimous Decision nod from the judges. Former two-division champion “The Prodigy” BJ Penn (16-7-1) shocked the MMA world when he knocked out UFC Hall of Famer Matt Hughes (43-8) only 21 seconds after the first bell. Penn very deservedly was awarded the Knockout of the Night bonus for his spectacular KO. In his post-fight interview Hughes said he “isn’t sure” about the next step in his MMA career, leaving onlookers to question whether or not the welterweight is considering retirement. In the main event, PRIDE veteran and former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion “Rampage” Quinton Jackson won a surprising and already highly contested Split Decision victory over fellow former champion “The Dragon” Lyoto Machida. There, folks, is the evening in a nutshell. Below are some images of the night’s highlights.