In most cases, the collective majority of fans will make the correct judgment, inference, or conclusion in their MMA opinions; tonight was not one of those cases. The Main Event, featuring Georges St. Pierre vs. Josh Koscheck, on December 11, 2010, was awarded “Fight of the Night” honors. The fight of the night should always go to the most evenly matched and most evenly fought fight of the night. This fight was anything but evenly matched and fought. As with GSP’s last seven fights, this was just another dominant performance.
Georges St. Pierre probably landed two jabs for every smart remark that Koscheck has made toward him over the past two months. On the other hand, Koscheck seemed to put more energy into two months of trying to get under GSP’s skin than he did in their 25-minute fight.
St. Pierre dominated the fight from start to finish. He hasn’t lost a single round in the past 30 rounds he has fought. Saturday, he began the fight flashing quick bounding jabs in Josh’s face and kept on with that theme the entire fight. It’s often been said that the jab is the most under-utilized weapon in MMA; not in this fight. GSP may have thrown upwards of 120 to 150 of them in their five round bout.
As hyped as this fight was, St. Pierre’s recipe for disaster was rather simple: jab, keep the left hand up to defend any wild hooks that Koscheck throws, jab some more, shoot for the takedown when Koscheck attacks aggressively with combos, jab some more. When he was done with that, he decided to jab a little more for good measure.
By the end of the first round, Josh’s eye was nearly swollen shut from simple straight punches. He was wiggling his lower jaw suggesting that it may have been broken as well. At the end of the third round the doctor wanted to stop the fight, on the grounds that the eye was too bad to continue, and he had already lost enough rounds to lose a decision. However, you have to give “Kos” credit for showing the heart to want to continue. Herb Dean also helped encourage the doctor to allow his beating to continue. By the end of the fourth round, after another brutal series of jabs with a few straights and hooks tossed in to keep Josh guessing, Koscheck wouldn’t allow his corner to apply the “No Swell” bar to his face, leading some to believe he may have a fractured orbital bone at this point. After the fifth and final round, Josh’s slurred speech and swollen face seemed to look and sound more like a very good impression of Sloth, from the Goonies.
What’s more is GSP’s graciousness in victory. He could have stooped to Koscheck’s level and returned the trash talk after his one-sided victory, but no. Leave it to the ultimate “good sport” to bail Koscheck out and dismiss all of his trash talk as just a way to build up hype around the fight. This is why we love GSP; he has the skill to dominate anyone for any length of time; he is the most humble fighter in the history of the UFC; he is the ultimate “Good Guy”.
So, what comes next for GSP? This man has pretty much run the gauntlet of the entire Welterweight divison. Jake Shields didn’t move to the UFC from Strikeforce for nothing. He seems most likely to be the next worthy opponent, even though he showed that the cut to 170 is very difficult for him. Beyond that, there is up-and-comer Carlos Condit. Paul Daley, currently in Strikeforce, is out there as well, but he may need to put a couple more wins together after Koscheck abused him earlier in the year. Knowing this is all GSP has left, we can assume that the fans are going to be applying the pressure to see a “Superfight” between him and Anderson Silva. That’s the one we are all waiting for, and as far as we are from seeing it, it still seems inevitable that it has to happen.
As for the rest of the UFC 124 fight card results:
Stephan Struve weathered another storm before turning the tide on his opponent, in this case Sean McCorkle, and pounding him into a referee stoppage in the first round. Struve is a freak of nature who finds ways to win, but it will be interesting to see how he fares against the elite Heavyweight fighters once he starts getting upper level fights.
Thiago Alves showed that he is back to his old self, if not much improved upon his old self. He poured 15 minutes of leg kicks and vicious combos onto John Howard, and earned a unanimous decision victory. Look for him to keep feeding on the welterweight class in an attempt to earn his rematch with GSP.
Jim Miller was shocking in his fight against Charles Oliveira. The fact that he won the fight is not shocking; it’s the fact that he caught a very good Brazilian Jiu-jitsu fighter in a straight ankle lock and transitioned it to a knee bar. I had Miller winning this fight, but I was thinking KO or TKO. With this win he most likely moved himself up somewhere close to just behind Gray Maynard in the line to fight for the Lightweight title.
We may have seen two fighters put in the UFC graveyard this past Saturday night. Joe Stevenson came out looking good for the first minute or so of the fight, until Mac Danzig caught him with a left hook while retreating from one of Joe Daddy’s flurries (a la Chuck Liddell). Both men needed to win this fight. Stevenson has now lost 5 of his last 8 UFC fights; I can’t see him getting any more than one last shot to prove he still belongs here.
In the prelims we also saw what may have been the demise of Dustin Hazelett. He hasn’t been the fighter he was before taking an extended injury leave. He’s now lost three fights in a row, and four of his last six. The thing is, in the last three losses he hasn’t gotten out of the second round and on Saturday he got submitted by Mark Bocek by a triangle that started from the mount in the first round. If we haven’t seen the last of these two fighters, you can bet the house that if they are given another shot, it will be their last if they can’t be productive.
In other Preliminary bouts:
Lightweight bout: Pat Audinwood vs. John Makdessi [(Makdessi defeated Audinwood via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)]
Welterweight bout: TJ Grant vs. Ricardo Almeida [(Almeida defeated Grant via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)]
Welterweight bout: United States Matt Riddle vs. Canada Sean Pierson [Pierson defeated Riddle via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)]. This was a great fight. It should have won “Fight of the Night”; however, the fans were so excited about seeing their favorite villain getting pounded by GSP that they awarded the Main Event with “Fight of the Night” honors.
Middleweight bout: Canada Jesse Bongfeldt vs. Brazil Rafael Natal [Bongfeldt and Natal fought to a majority draw (28-28, 28-28, 28-29)]