UFC 129 Georges St. Pierre vs. Jake Shields 4/30/01
This was a great night of fighting from the undercards to the pay per view portion and really lived up to it’s billing. The crowd of 55,000 in Toronto, Canada was very appreciative, supportive, and knowledgeable. During the Claude Patrick-Daniel Roberts fight, the crowd in unison would yell during a clinch for the Canadian, Patrick, “KNEEEEEEEEEE.” Great job by the crowd all night long. A retirement was declared by a legend tonight, eliciting an emotional crowd to chant his name in at thundering decibels. A “Martial Arts never left,” statement was highlighted by a crane kick. A pound for pound great met his match. UFC nailed it tonight, maybe with the lone exception of the main event.
Pablo Garza def. Yves Jabouin: In round 1, Garza starts off with a cheap quick leg kick just as the fighters high-5 each other. Garza shows great mobility and leg checks for such a tall and lanky framed fighter. Garza lands a beautiful leg kick after feinting a hand combo. Jabouin scores a looping right hand over the top and clearly needs to move in and out at great lengths based on the height disadvantage. A shin catches Jabouin on the chin. A very strong Thai-clinch from Garza enables him to control Jabouin and land hard knees to the body. Garza shoves Jabouin off from his grip and lands a front leg round kick to the head, followed by a hopping side kick to the body. At 3:30, Jabouin drops Garza with a leg kick and repeats the same thing; twice Garza goes down by a leg kick. Garza grabs onto Jabouin, but is unable to land anything nor any takedowns. Jabouin fakes a jab and crushes Garza’s jaw with an uppercut which disengages his mouthpiece to the mat. Another uppercut lands and once again, Garza falls to the mat after getting hit with a leg kick. Both fighters clash shins on a leg kick attempt. Jabouin continues to land hand strikes. Both land hard leg kicks and continue to land more. Garza is hit hard with a straight right to winging left hook. As Garza shoots in, Jabouin just misses with a jumping turn back kick to the body. Garza punishes with a clinch to hard knee to the body and then to the head. From the clinch, Garza jumps into a flying triangle. Garza throws elbows and secures the triangle choke even deeper with a mounted triangle. With :30 left in round 1, Jabouin is forced to tap. Phenomenal fight!
John Makdessi def. Kyle Watson: In round 1, Watson stays busy early, but nothing lands. Makdessi is content to dance around. Makdessi lands a hop in side kick to the body, but remains mostly inactive. Watson isn’t very sound with his standup and throws lumbering punches and kicks. Watson shoots in for a standing double arm clinch/takedown and it is shrugged off. Nice inside leg kick landed by Watson followed shortly by a superman punch. Watson lands a step through turn back kick to the body and moments later lands a step up hook kick to the cheek. Another takedown is shrugged off by Makdessi. Although Makdessi came on late, at least Watson was pushing the action for the first 3:30 of the round. Hard to give round 1 to anyone so I have it at 10-10. In round 2, Watson eats a few defensive punches as he charges in for another clinch/takedown. Makdessi lands consecutive straight rights and retreats back while Watson lunges in to score a few counter punches as he back peddles. Watson dips his upper body down to feint and lands a hard back leg round kick. Makdessi misses with a spinning hook kick, but follows with a step up side kick to the body. Watson tries the same fake low to head high kick, but misses this time. Every time Watson lunges forward with punches, he is met with retreating counters from Makdessi for points. Makdessi lands a hard looping left hook. Nice fake with his front leg to land a stiff jab by Makdessi. For a kicker though, Makdessi has some of the softest leg kicks. Makdessi wins round 2. In round 3, Watson clinches and wrestles Makdessi against the cage. They break apart and land little for the next minute, despite the blood coming from Watson’s chin. At 3:35, Makdessi scores a KO with a step through spin back fist (upon slow motion review, the strike was actually a step through spin back hammerfist). Watson is on his back and shivering.
Jason MacDonald def. Ryan Jensen: Jensen comes out charging and MacDonald goes for a takedown. MacDonald gains the back but is spun around to full guard. MacDonald secures a triangle. Jensen slams MacDonald down, but it only tightens the choke. MacDonald wins at 3:23 in round 1 via tapout. Beautiful technique on the ground by MacDonald. High level of jiujitsu displayed in that transition on the ground to secure the triangle choke.
Ivan Menjivar def. Charlie Valencia: Although he fought GSP in 2002, Menjivar has the Canadian crowd behind him. In round 1, Menjivar lands a hard leg kick. Valencia hits with a spinning back kick and huge straight right. Both fighters clinch in the center of the cage. Menjivar lands elbows from the clinch. A very short range front hand elbow drops Valencia and Menjivar proceeds to ground and pound before the ref stops the fight at 1:30 in Round 1. Valencia’s nose is broken on the contact from the elbow.
Claude Patrick def. Daniel Roberts: In round 1, Roberts comes in aggressively. Patrick gets a takedown and is in half guard. Roberts grabs wrist and is setting up for a Kimura. Both south paw fighters stand at 3:40. Roberts is really awkward with his standup fighting. A clinch against the cage results in nothing but weak knees for either fighter. A left hook lands for Patrick and he advances to clinch before sweeping the legs out from under Roberts for a huge slam. In rubber guard on his back, Roberts defends an arm triangle which has little leverage from that position. Both stand and Patrick lands punches to the body and head to the retreating Roberts. Patrick wins round 1. In round 2, Patrick looks confident. Roberts lands consecutive inside leg kicks. Patrick gets tripped up and on his back gets the double butterfly guard. Both stand and get over/under clinch in the center of the cage. Patrick lands knees to the ribs and head, a 1-2, and leg kick. Roberts lands a superman and kick to the body. Patrick scores a double leg takedown and ends up with his head in a guillotine. Roberts abandons the choke and reverses his positioning to get side control. In half guard, and then in full guard, Roberts then takes the back of Patrick for a brief moment before both fighters stand. Roberts is exhausted. Patrick scores another late takedown. Patrick wins round 2. In round 3, Roberts throws punches like he stuck in molasses which are easy to block. Patrick scores a takedown after initiating a clinch. Patrick is in full mount against the cage. Roberts hip escapes from the bottom and gets butterfly guard. Both are back on their feet and Roberts tries a single leg takedown, but is way to tired to execute it. A few more takedown attempts from Roberts results in nothing. Patrick has good balance at this point, however is tripped up and attempts a guillotine off his back. The bell sounds. Patrick wins round 3. Official Judges Scorecard: 29-28 Patrick.
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Jake Ellenberger def. Sean Pierson: In round 1, there’s not much action for the first minute. Ellenberger throws a lazy left hook, but scores a powerful single leg takedown at 3:30. Pierson uses the fence to get back to his feet. In the center of the cage, Ellenberger lands a straight right. Both land punches in an exchange. Ellenberger scores a TKO with a front hand left hook off a counter which drops a frozen Pierson at 2:42. A few more follow up punches forces the ref to stop the fight.
Rory MacDonald def. Nate Diaz: The 21 year old Canadian, MacDonald is a well rounded and young prospect who faces his biggest challenge in Diaz. In round 1, Diaz paws with his strikes. MacDonald is not fazed and lands a leg kick. Both fighters have long and lean frames. MacDonald scores with a grazing back leg round kick and Diaz tries to grab it for a counter. Against the cage, MacDonald creates space by pushing off the clinch to attempt a rear handed uppercut to left hook. Diaz tries to fish his arms under for leverage. MacDonald drops for a double leg takedown and Diaz defends well, but offers his back. Both are on their feet and MacDonald lands a quick superman punch to jab. MacDonald’s back leg round kick to the head is blocked. A stalking Diaz is met with a leg kick and 1-2 head kick attempt. MacDonald lands a superman jab. After clinching, both fighters separate at 1:06. MacDonald stuffs a single leg takedown attempt and another is attempted by Diaz. MacDonald defends the takedowns well. MacDonald wins round 1. In between rounds, you can read Diaz’s lips as he says, “come on, bitch!” while taunting MacDonald, more out of frustration, rather than anything else. In round 2, MacDonald starts with a very quick leg kick to superman jab combo. After MacDonald gets double under hooks from the clinch, both fighters separate. A double leg takedown is stuffed by MacDonald. In the clinch at 4:05, Diaz lands a knee and foot stomps. MacDonald counters with a takedown from the clinch. MacDonald stands while Diaz is on his back. Diaz tries to stand and gets rocked before finally getting to his feet. Diaz ducks a straight right and clinches. From there, Diaz is thrown on his back with another takedown. As Diaz stands, he is hit by a right hook. Diaz lands a loud straight left flush on the chin. MacDonald counters with a straight right to uppercut. Very nice technique from MacDonald’s striking game. A single leg takedown is stuffed by Diaz. Both clinch and an advanced game of pummeling is taking place with neither fighter giving up a disadvantaged position. Diaz trips up MacDonald in the clinch, but MacDonald pops up quickly. MacDonald continues to strike well. In the clinch against the fence, Diaz lands strong knees to the leg. As they separate, MacDonald times a knee to flying knee. MacDonald finishes the round with a jab to leg kick combo. MacDonald wins round 2. In round 3, MacDonald is in good range to throw anything. Diaz attempts a single leg takedown off of a clinch, but slips to the mat. MacDonald gets his back as both are on their feet. MacDonald arches his back for a textbook suplex takedown. MacDonald holds onto Diaz and repeats the same suplex takedown. Beautiful technique! MacDonald punishes Diaz with ground and pound. Diaz moves his hips to gain butterfly guard and then to half guard. MacDonald is trying to pass and stands back up with Diaz still on his back. Diaz attempts to up kick, but nothing lands as MacDonald has good defense and lands punches from the top. MacDonald jumps to side control and lands more punches. Both fighters are on their feet for a brief moment, before MacDonald scores another suplex toss. The crowd goes nuts! Diaz attempts a single leg takedown and MacDonald sprawls. MacDonald lands an elbow from side control. Both stand in a clinch off the fence and Diaz continues to try to get MacDonald on the mat. MacDonald is the one to grab Diaz and take him down. MacDonald overpowers Diaz while standing over the floored fighter. MacDonald wins round 3 and dominates the fight in every facet. Official Judges Scorecard: 30-26, 30-27, 30-26.
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Ben Henderson def. Mark Bocek: In round 1, Henderson lands a leg kick and Bocek comes back with a straight right. In the clinch, Henderson hits with a knee and gains double under hooks. Bocek fishes out. At 3:30, the ref separates the two prematurely. Bocek knees Henderson. Henderson lands a body kick and Bocek comes back with another big straight right. In the clinch, Henderson elbows before they separate. A 1-2 to superman to leg kick combo from Henderson scores with power. Henderson shows good defense. Bocek shoots in for a single leg takedown, but it is stuffed. The 15 jiujitsu veteran, Bocek holds onto the leg and kicks out the other to off balance his opponent. From his back, Henderson lands a few elbows. Despite the takedown and relatively close round, I give round 1 to Henderson. In round 2, Henderson lands a straight left. Bocek holds onto a single leg takedown, but this time is unable to complete it. Bocek continues to grab Henderson and picks him up for a slam. Henderson uses a guillotine to leverage himself back up to his feet. In the clinch, Henderson scores knees to the leg and head. Again, the referee breaks apart the two fighters prematurely. A 1-2 from Henderson scores and he stuffs a single leg takedown attempt. Henderson scores a takedown with a leg sweep. Henderson punches from a standing position before Bocek eventually gets back to his feet. Henderson lands a knee to the body. Bocek attempts a leg lock. Both fighters clinch where Henderson is active with knees. Bocek brings Henderson to the gound with a front headlock attempt. A great escape by Henderson to avoid being submitted. Bocek goes for the anaconda choke. Henderson lands knees, elbows, and hand combinations. Bocek is bloody. Henderson wins round 2. In round 3, Henderson lands a 1-2 and leg kick. Bocek completes a takedown and is on top. Henderson attempts a guillotine, but lets it go. Henderson gains top position and lands big rights to the body. Bocek wraps his leg for a knee bar and Henderson narrowly escapes the dangerous lock. Both fighters stand and eventually clinch. Henderson lands knees and elbows. Under a minute remaining, Bocek scores a double leg takedown. In half guard, Bocek attempts a headlock. Both fighters stand and Bocek gets hit with a knee and 1-2. Round 3 goes to Bocek. I have the fight 29-28 for Henderson. Official Judges Scorecard: 30-27 Henderson.
Vladimir Matyushenko def. Jason Brilz: In round 1, Matyushenko starts with a lumbering combo, which is surprising because he normally has good hands. A heavy jab nearly misses from Matyushenko, but an uppercut to left hook combo lands and drops Brilz. 3 hammer fists from ground and pound ends the fight at 4:40. The fight lasts only 20 seconds. Brilz is heard saying, “what happened?” on is back. Brilz is respectful to Matyushenko in defeat when he finally regains his senses.
Lyoto Machida def. Randy Couture: Again, Steven Seagal walks to the cage with a marquee fighter. Will there be a similar ending to when Anderson Silva defeated Vitor Belfort via hopping front kick TKO? The crowd goes nuts for Couture’s entrance with chants of, “Randy! Randy! Randy!” In round 1, Couture circles around, but Machida misses with the first straight left. Couture lunges in and misses with a straight right. Machida counters with a defensive right hook. Couture catches Machida with a looping left hook. The knowledgeable crowd does not boo during the lack of action early in the fight after 2:00. Couture slips a straight left from Machida and is active with his head movement. Both tussle in the center of the cage but mostly miss with their strikes. Couture is struggling to find range but lands a body shot. Machida flies in with a straight left. Machida slips a straight right from the pressing Couture. Machida fakes a leg sweep and lands a straight left, but it only glances. Couture continues to miss as he lunges forward with punches. As Couture changes levels, he eats a big clinching knee from Machida to the chin. Machida does well to ward off the clinches of Couture. A half-takedown attempt by Couture is stuffed and Machida slips out of the hands of Couture. Machida, again flies in with a clinching knee and lands it to the body. Both shake hands after the round. Machida wins round 1. In between rounds, Couture is heard saying, “slippery,” and I’m assuming he’s not referring to the mat, rather the elusive style of his opponent. In round 2, Machida throws a counter punch and follows it with lunging punches, and many land. Couture falls to the mat; maybe a slip. Machida jumps on Couture, but both fighters stand back up. Machida lands a lunging rear handed uppercut to the retreating Couture. Couture is clearly having trouble with distancing at this point and has yet to find his range in the fight. At 4:00, Machida throws a short hopping front kick to the chin and knocks Couture to the mat. No ground and pound is necessary and the referee jumps in immediately. The announcers feel it was a fake left kick to flying kick to the face. I disagree and it technically was a short hopping front kick. Steven Seagal influence AGAIN??? Couture does not argue the stoppage and on his feet, waves to the crowd. Both fighters share an emotional moment together with a warm embrace and Couture says, “nice shot!” The crowd screams in passion, “Randy! Randy! Randy!” I have never been emotional watching a fight before, although this was as touching as it gets. “…It’s an honor for me and a dream to fight this guy. He’s a hero. This is a man! Thank you very much!” says Machida in his post fight interview. At age 47, Couture proclaims after this fight that this will be his final fight in the cage.
Jose Aldo def. Mark Hominick: Going into this fight, I tweeted that Hominick stands the best chance to pull of an upset over the champion, Aldo. While Aldo remains my favorite fighter (Jon Jones, Gilbert Melendez, Anderson Silva, and Wanderlei Silva/Kazushi Sakuraba round out the current list), Hominick is so comfortable in the pocket and strikes as well as any fighter out there with balance, accuracy, and power. In round 1, Aldo starts with a lead uppercut to straight right hand. Hominick stays in the pocket and gets blasted by a leg kick. Aldo lands a rear handed uppercut. Hominick bounces around and again gets kicked in the leg. Aldo moves his head and avoids getting hit and lunges in for dig to the body followed by a leg kick. This kick almost knocks Hominick to the mat. Both exchange with strikes and continue to actively move their heads. Hominick grabs Aldo’s kick and trips him to the mat briefly. After getting hit by another thumping leg kick, Hominick grazes with a left hook to straight right. Again, Aldo lands a dig to leg kick combo. Aldo shoots in for an easy double leg takedown. A rare glimpse of Aldo in guard on the mat. Hominick secures the right hand off his back and locks an arm bar with both his legs up. Aldo presses down and pops his head out of danger. Aldo pushes Hominick against the cage while still in guard, but Hominick does a good job of avoiding danger from elbows and short strikes. An elbow opens up a cut under the eye of Hominick. Aldo remains active, but no damage is done and the ref stands up both fighters with :30 remaining. Hominick scores his first significant punch, but gets taken down to end the round. Aldo wins round 1. In round 2, both fighters stay in range for striking and Hominick seems to be landing more to start the round. A beautiful head hook to body dig by Hominick lands. Aldo lands an uppercut to hook combo. Both fighters are teeing off. Hominick stuffs a takedown easily. Again with another takedown defense. Hominick lands his best punch so far with a straight right. Both fighters show good head movement and blocking of punches in this exchange. Hominick lands a few punches before getting taken down with a double leg shoot. On the mat and in guard, Hominick defends against any damage for a minute and the ref stands them up. Aldo takes Hominick down again for the points. There is speculation that Aldo may be tired at this point due to a rough weight cut. The round ends on the mat and is met with scattered boos from the crowd. Round 2 goes to Aldo. In round 3, Hominick lands a few leg kicks and jabs. Despite possible fatigue, Aldo shows expert head movement against most of the punches. Aldo lunges in for a slow takedown and it is stuffed. Hominick lands a straight right. Aldo lands a straight right and thumps with another hard leg kick. A left hook-straight right combo scores for Aldo. Hominick keeps hitting with his jab. Just as quick as his jab is a straight right from Hominick. Hominick lands a body hook to jab. Both fighters are scoring with strikes and equally demonstrating timely head movement. Hominick gets up quickly after being taken down by a single leg. Hominick is in range for multiple strikes landed. Surprisingly, Hominick looks to get wobbly after absorbing short right and drops to one knee before shooting in for a futile single leg takedown attempt. On his back, Hominick tries to avoid hammerstrikes from Aldo. This moment might have won the round for Aldo. Aldo is in guard and is inactive; only throwing lumbering punches. Aldo wins round 3. In round 4, Hominick continues to land punches from his lead hand. Thundering leg kick from Aldo rocks Hominick. Aldo pops Hominick’s head with a straight right and follows it with a soccer style kick to the body which glances the groin. Hominick doesn’t stop, yet Aldo apologizes just in case. Both pause for a second to shake hands…I love this sport. Aldo lands a left hook to straight right to leg kick and goes for a takedown, but nothing there. In a rare moment, both clinch briefly for a few seconds. A glancing knee to the groin of Hominick stops the action briefly, but clearly there was no illegal intention on Aldo’s part. Hominck strikes, but is caught with consecutive leg kicks. A leg kick by Hominick is checked brutally by Aldo. Aldo presses forward and it looks like Hominick is FINALLY showing affects from absorbing so many leg kicks. A dig to leg kick is thrown by Aldo. Hominick has shaken off what I perceived as having damaged legs and is moving around again with confidence and landing jabs. Aldo floor Hominick with a straight right. In guard, Aldo looks reenergized and throws many elbows. The crowd reacts to the close up of the golf ball sized knot above Hominick’s eye. “That looks like he has an extra head” says the announcer. Hominick does a brilliant job of avoiding excessive damage, although the ref and doctors stop the fight. After evaluation, the fight continues. Hominick does not back away from staying in the pocket and continuing to trade shots with Aldo. Aldo scores a takedown with 0:18 left. Aldo wins round 4. In round 5, the doctor begins by checking the hematoma, but allows the fight to continue. Hominick lands a straight right and eats a leg kick. Aldo slips a punch and lands a short left hook. Aldo hurts Hominick with a winging rear handed uppercut, but Hominick recomposes for a double leg takedown. In half guard, Hominick is landing multiple punches from the top and the crowd approves. Hominick is bleeding profusely from a cut under his eye. Again, Hominick lands more heavy punches against the wiggly Aldo who tries to control his opponent’s hips with his leg movement and wrist control. More punches continue to rain down from the top. Aldo is content to lay on his back and eat punches to the head and body from both hands. Aldo doesn’t answer at all. The crowd continues to roar. The fight ends on the mat. Both fighters embrace with respect and admiration as Hominick helps Aldo up. Both fighters engage in a push up contest and a bow. Hominick wins round 3. Phenomenal fight and in my opinion deserves, “fight of the night” bonuses. I have it 49-46 Aldo. Official Judges Scorecard: 50-43, 48-46, 49-46 Aldo. I have no Idea what the first judge saw. I can see the second judge’s score with Hominick winning round 5 and possibly round 3.
Georges St. Pierre def. Jake Shields: First off, as a fan of the SF Bay Area and Strikeforce, I enjoyed seeing Nick and Nate Diaz with El Nino following Shields in the entourage. I predicted that GSP would get his first non-decision victory since 2008 over the one dimensional, Shields. In round 1, Shields starts with an inside leg kick to lead head kick. Both are throwing strikes and landing nothing. Shields catches a kick from GSP and holds on. With GSP against the cage, Shields lets go of the leg. Shields postures with throwing knees and GSP spins him around before both continue in the center of the cage. Both continue to land little. The pro-GSP crowd reacts to a badly missed spinning hook kick from GSP. Another spinning kick misses from GSP. GSP misses with another spinning kick and misses with a superman jab. Shields continues to throw jabs and lands little, but shows good blocking ability against any of GSP’s attacks. GSP misses with a back leg side kick; a technique the announcer called a, “front leg side kick” which would be fine to throw in a fight if it really was off the front leg. Shields gets pummeled off balance by a stiff jab from GSP. GSP lands a superman jab and this time it was powerful. Shields tries to catch a leg again. Shields continues to to pump the jab from the pocket but lands nothing. GSP wins round 1. In round 2, both continue to miss many strikes at the center of the cage. Shields lands his biggest punch yet with a straight right. This is becoming an ugly boxing match with off balance punches and little landed. GSP is resorting to looping right hands and the last one finally lands. Shields blocks another looping straight right. A spinning back kick lands flush to Shield’s body. In the clinch, nothing from both fighters as they separate quickly. A spinning back kick is caught briefly by Shields. Another round of posturing and little action from both fighters. Round 2 goes to GSP. In round 3, Shields presses early and doesn’t land anything. Back in the center of the cage, GSP wildly throws looping punches which are blocked easily by Shields. GSP lands a looping right hand and is met with a double leg takedown attempt which doesn’t surprise him. Great change of levels by GSP to nullify the takedown attack. After missed punches, both fighters clinch and GSP shrugs Shields off with brute strength. A single leg attempt by Shields is warded off. GSP lands a hard leg kick. Again, GSP looks wild with his swing and misses with the “straight” right hand. GSP telegraphs a missed turn back kick. Shields lands a leg kick and GSP explodes through for a powerful double leg takedown with 0:15 left. GSP wins round 3. In round 4, Shields robotically throws combinations which don’t land and GSP counters with a double leg takedown. With Shields on his back, GSP lets him up. Still little more than jabs land from both fighters. Shields presses tentatively, possibly looking for a takedown. At 2:40, GSP drops Shields with a front leg round kick. GSP doesn’t jump in for the finish and Shields holds onto his front leg, before both fighters continue fighting in the center of the cage. Again, another moment not capitalized by the champion’s lack of aggression in this fight. Shields wakes up a little bit after a small taunt to wake up the crowd. Still though, nothing is landed with significance. GSP’s face is bloody. GSP lands a looping right hand. Both land jabs to end the round. Round 4 goes to GSP. In round 5, Shields looks game and encourages the crowd to make noise. Shields continues to press. GSP lands a superman jab. Shields is in range for a takedown, but doesn’t attempt any thus far in the round. GSP lands a looping right hand. It’s funny how with little action in a fight, the announcers tend to hype up the previous stats and accomplishments of the fighters. With 2:00 remaining in the round and fight, NOTHING happened in this championship fight. The crowd actually starts to boo. More posturing and no damage done in the entire round 5 by both fighters, but especially by GSP. Round 5 goes to GSP by 1 jab. Official Judges Scorecard: 50-45, 48-47, 48-47. This fight sucked! GSP always apologizes for not giving the fans what they wanted after his fights. The guy has so much talent and athleticism, yet lacks the leave-it-all-in-the-cage instincts. I am truly disappointed yet again by a fighter I once regarded as the best in the world pound for pound. This main event fight does not diminish an otherwise great card. Great job, UFC!