Perhaps it was expected. Perhaps it was disappointing. Either way, Georges St.-Pierre put on a clinic in a rather exciting main event championship fight against UK challenger Dan Hardy.
St.-Pierre (20-2), earned his fourth consecutive title defense (unofficially 5th, see Serra rematch) by dominating Hardy in every facet of the fight.
Whether it was standing — which St.-Pierre did for about four minutes of the first two rounds — or wrestling or jiu-jitsu it was the Canadian all day and all night on Saturday.
The first round set the tone for the entire fight. Both fighters came out looking to strike early, feeling each other out a little bit. After about two minutes where each exchanged some right hands and a leg kick or two, GSP closed the distance and put Hardy on his back.
By the end of the round, GSP had achieved side control, some ground and pound, taken the challenger’s back and, when that didn’t work, secured a nasty armbar that Hardy somehow survived.
And that was the story. GSP controlling Hardy on the mat, yet the Nottingham native unwilling to quit despite the dominant tactician pressuring him for 25 minutes.
Despite not being happy with his performance, St.-Pierre and fans alike can take solace in that it was an exciting fight given how Hardy was able to continually fight back rather than succumb to submissions that every other challenger has. Meanwhile, the adversity will certainly fuel St.-Pierre’s desire to stay at 170 lbs, in the UFC (rather than compete in wrestling at the Olympics), and build a legacy as a champion that perhaps no other fighter this side of Anderson Silva will challenge.
Prior to that championship bout, the UFC gave us a heavyweight tilt of the same magnitude.
Shane Carwin took on Frank Mir in an interim heavyweight championship fight that was designed to give us a challenger for Brock Lesnar’s belt.
Did we ever get one.
Carwin (12-0), continued his streak of pure and utter dominance in notching his 12th win when he unleashed a vicious assault of uppercuts with Mir pinned against the cage — another 1st round KO to go with his other 11 in the same fashion.
No other fighter has put on quite the display the 35-year-old Colorado native has. To be undefeated with 12 victories, all knockouts, all in the first round is simply extraordinary.
Lesnar is on notice.
Meanwhile, in the other main card action Jon Fitch improved to 25-3 while earning his 12th win in 13 UFC fights. His lone loss? To GSP in August 2008. Has he earned another crack at the Canadian with his similar dominance? We will most likely find out shortly.
Also, Kurt Pellegrino secured the “submission of the night” bonus to the tune of $65,000 as he sunk in a rear-naked choke in the third round of his lightweight fight with Fabricio Camoes. Ricardo Almeida did his best to contend for that title with his own rear-naked choke victory over fellow welterweight Matt Brown, but walked away empty handed unfortunately.
Jim Miller and Mark Bocek fought to an entertaining three round decision in which Miller won unanimously. Nate Diaz, fighting at 170 lbs for the first time, overwhelmed the supremely overweight Rory Markham (was 177 lbs for the 170 lb weigh-in mark) with the Diaz-patented “punches in bunches” strategy.
The “fight of the night” went to light heavyweights Jared Hammann and Rodney Wallace for their entertaining three round war, each earning an additional $65,000 for their efforts.
However, it was the continued dominance of St.-Pierre and to a lesser extent from Carwin, that proved the story of the evening from UFC 111 in New Jersey.
For St.-Pierre, perfection seems to be his only worthy opponent in the sport of MMA.