St-Pierre dominates Koscheck, retains title at UFC 124
St-Pierre dominates Koscheck, retains title at UFC 124
Record-crowd of 23,152 packs Bell Centre in Montreal
BY DAVE DEIBERT, THE STARPHOENIXDECEMBER 12, 2010 2:27 AM
He beaten him on the mat. He’s beaten him standing. In no uncertain terms, without any question,
Ultimate Fighting Championship superstar Georges St-Pierre has Josh Koscheck’s number.
In front of a North American mixed-martial-arts record 23,152 fans at the Bell Centre in Montreal,
St-Pierre (21-2) dominated Koscheck (17-4) for 25 minutes over five rounds.
He beat him, bloodied him and left him battered.
From start to finish, there was no doubt who the better man was.
At UFC 124, St-Pierre left the octagon just like he entered it — UFC welterweight champion.
In the main event of the evening and grudge match of the year,
St-Pierre retained his title with a unanimous decision over Koscheck.
After months of insults and goading by the challenger,
St-Pierre did exactly what he promised he would: let his actions do the talking.
“Tonight I was planning to bully the bully,” said St-Pierre, who was awarded scores of 50-45 from all three judges.
“It was a good fight, entertaining, but I wanted to finish him.”
There was little question who the fans came to see — St-Pierre — and what they wanted him to do — leave Koscheck laying.
Chanting ‘GSP! GSP!’ throughout the night, and directly more colourful chants
towards Koscheck during the bout — it rhymed with ‘Pluck you, Koscheck!’ —
the noise reached deafening levels by the time the fighters came to the octagon as the clock struck midnight.
“Every time we’ve come to Montreal it’s been fantastic.
This is a place we’ve broken records. The fans in Canada, period, are amazing,” said UFC president Dana White.
St-Pierre won their first match in 2007 by outwrestling the former NCAA champion.
On Saturday, he barely tried any takedowns, instead jarring Koscheck in virtually every stand-up exchange.
“I beat him with my wrestling because he was not expecting that,” said St-Pierre.
“This fight I wanted to beat him with the boxing. Switch the strategy.
Do something unexpected so the opponent doesn’t know what’s coming. MMA is like a chess game.”
With the Montreal fans roaring their trademark ‘Ole! Ole!’ chant,
St-Pierre scored with stiff left jabs and a takedown of Koscheck early on.
It was a sign of things to come.
In the second round, with Koscheck’s right eye bleeding and nearly swollen shut,
St-Pierre had no problem landing his jab and adding stinging leg kicks.
By the third round, Koscheck was noticeably slowing down.
He was limping on his lead left leg and was always a split second behind in exchanges.
The doctor looked closely at his right eye between rounds and let the match continue,
although it was merely another 10 minutes of the same.
As the clock wound down, every fan in the arena was standing.
After months of hostility, the two exchanged a hug and thanked each other
in the middle of the octagon when the horn rang out.
“Not making any excuses. Georges St-Pierre is a true champion,” said Koscheck,
who was taken to the hospital following the match.
“St-Pierre was the man tonight.”
White said it was another example of why St-Pierre is right up there with
UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva in the mythical pound-for-pound rankings.
“This thing was a total stand-up fight. He picked Josh Koscheck apart.
He beat him up all five rounds,” said White.
“I thought he fought a beautiful fight against a guy I have a lot of respect for.”
St-Pierre, who had fought in Montreal for UFC once before — in 2008,
when he regained the welterweight title beating Matt Serra — said it was a night he won’t soon forget.
“The atmosphere is incredible. You fight at home, the fans are pretty crazy,”
said St-Pierre, who compared the noise in the building to when you’re at a party standing next to a booming speaker.
“I feel it in every inch of my body. It’s a crazy feeling. You need to experience it to understand it.
It’s a very special feeling. When you win it’s crazy.”
In other pay-per-view matches at UFC 124:
- After surviving an early submission attempt, Stefan Struve (22-4)
used a perfect reversal to mount Sean McCorkle (10-1) and pound him out,
earning a TKO win at 3:55 of the first round in a heavyweight battle.
In the weeks leading up to the fight, McCorkle entertained his fans and annoyed Struve
with posts on his Twitter account and comments on MMA message boards and during interviews.
No worries, said Struve.
“The job’s in the octagon,” said Struve.
Though McCorkle was in a dominant position early, Struve said he was never worried.
“Not at all. You saw why,” he added with a grin.
- Jim Miller (19-2) put on a textbook display of submission work on the mat,
locking in a knee bar at 1:39 of the first round to force Charles Oliveira (14-1)
to tap out at 1:39 of the first round in their lightweight match.
“Charles is a tough kid. He’s got a ton of potential but I’m one of the best in the world,” said Miller.
“I was trying to leave my mark and really get after him and do what I know I’m capable of doing.”
- In a knockout nobody saw coming, Mac Danzig (21-8-1) landed a left hand flush on the chin
of Joe Stevenson (36-12), putting him to sleep just 1:54 into the first round of their lightweight bout.
“I’ve been landing that for years and years.
I never knew how to put power in it the right way,” said Danzig.
“I studied tape of him. I just knew he was going to walk into it . . . Hit the jaw, guy goes out.”
- Thiago Alves (23-6) used superior stand-up to dominate John Howard (14-6)
in a welterweight pay-per-view opener to vault back into title contention.
“I’m really, really happy. I worked really, really hard to get here today,” said Alves,
who has struggled making weight in recent bouts but looked to be in the best shape of his UFC career.
All three judges scored the match 30-27.
In preliminary matches at UFC 124:
- Dan Miller (13-4) was awarded a split-decision victory over Winnipeg’s Joe Doerksen (46-14)
in a hotly-contested middleweight contest.
All three judges scored it 29-28, with two siding with Miller.
- Woodbridge, Ont. native Mark Bocek (9-3) whipped the crowd into a frenzy,
submitting Dustin Hazelett (14-7) with a triangle choke at 2:33 of the first round in a lightweight bout.
- Jesse Bongfeldt (15-4-1), fighting out of Kenora, Ont., went to a rare unanimous draw
in his UFC debut versus against Rafael Natal (12-3-1) in a middleweight match.
Two judges scored it 28-28 while the third scored it 29-28 for Natal.
- Toronto’s Sean Pierson (11-4) won a hard-fought unanimous decision,
beating Matthew Riddle (5-2) in a welterweight contest. All three judges 30-27.
- Ricardo Almeida (13-4) disappointed the fans in Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia,
beating TJ Grant (16-5) in a welterweight bout. All three judges scored it 30-27.
- In a lightweight opener, Montreal native John Makdessi (8-0) made an impressive UFC debut,
dominating Pat Audinwood (9-2-1). Two judges scored the match 30-27, while the third had it 30-26.
FIGHT NOTES: While UFC 124 set a new North American attendance record,
the event did not set a new gate record as White had predicted.
The 23,152 fans paid $4.586 million . . . Jim Miller and Bocek each earned a $50,000 bonus for submission of the night,
Danzig took home $100,000 for knockout of the night,
and St-Pierre and Koscheck were given a $100,000 bonus each for fight of the night
. . . White was particularly impressed with Makdessi.
“That was a great fight. He looked good. He absolutely completely dominated him,” said the president.
“That kid’s very interesting.” . . .
White and St-Pierre were once again asked about a dream fight between GSP and Anderson Silva.
“I would love that but it depends on the boss. If that boss wants, I’m in. It’s up to the UFC,” said St-Pierre.
Added White: “The fight just got over . . . I don’t know yet. I’ve got a lot of (stuff) to do and a lot of things to figure out.”