Georges St. Pierre and Matt Serra square off at the weigh-ins for UFC 69: Shootout. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
After years of waiting, the Ultimate Fighting Championship finally made their first trek up to Canada official when they announced UFC 83: St. Pierre vs Serra II during a press conference earlier today at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada earlier this morning.
In attendance at the press conference were UFC President Dana White and current welterweight champions Georges St. Pierre and Matt Serra who will unify their belts in a main event rematch of their fight at UFC 69: Shootout last year, where Serra stopped St. Pierre with strikes to win the UFC welterweight title.
“I’m actually excited to go to Canada and fight St-Pierre in his hometown,” Serra said at the press conference earlier today. “I think this puts more pressure on him than it does me. I know he’s going to come at me hard, but I’m ready for that and I’m preparing for a great fight. I know that’s what I would do if a guy knocked me out like that. But I plan on staying the champ and taking my belt back home to Long Island.”
St. Pierre, a native of Montreal, will be fighting in front of his hometown under the UFC banner for the first time in his career. After originally speculating that St. Pierre would not be ready in time for the event due to his bout against Matt Hughes in December, St. Pierre came away with the interim welterweight belt relatively unscathed, allowing him to partake in the historic event.
“I am at the same point as I was last year when I fought Matt Serra, except this time I am fighting as the contender not the champion,” said St-Pierre. “It’s a dream come true to have this historic UFC event in Canada, I’ve waited my whole life for this opportunity, and especially fighting for – and winning – the world title in front of my people.”
The UFC will appeal to the locals when Georges St. Pierre takes on Matt Serra for the welterweight title in April, when the UFC goes to Montreal, the organization’s first visit to Canada according to Mike Chiappetta of NBCSports.com.
GSP was TKO’d by Serra this past April to win the welterweight championship.
The Montreal Canadiens are currently in a playoff position, but there’s still half of the NHL season left. If the Habs do make the playoffs, the entire city will most likely be in a frenzy, and having GSP on the card should ensure there’s a good turnout for the event and decent media coverage.
Hat tip to Cage Potato.
Georges St Pierre and Matt Hughes speak about their bout at the post-fight press conference. Chuck Liddell after the jump.
Photo by Ed Pollard.
Georges St. Pierre came closer to cementing his status as the top welterweight in the world when he gave future UFC hall-of-famer Matt Hughes a drubbing over the course of two rounds before submitting his idol with an armbar during the main event of last night’s UFC 79: Nemesis.
Hughes was originally slated to face fellow Ultimate Fighter 6 coach and current welterweight champ Matt Serra but Serra was forced to pull out of the bout after suffering herniated discs in his lower back during training. Hughes was then given a selective list of opponents that agreed to step in and the former nine-time champion picked St. Pierre in an attempt to try and avenge a prior loss to “Rush” at UFC 65 last year.
However it was obvious from the start of the fight that it was only a matter of time before St. Pierre was going to come away with a win. The Canadian took Hughes down at will throughout the first round, mounting his opponent and connecting with a number of unanswered punches while his opponent held on for dear life.
Hughes found his way back to his feet a couple of times but St. Pierre quickly put an end to that with wrestling skills that have made him consider possibly trying out for the Canadian Olympic wrestling squad next year.
The second round started off much like the first and after mounting and taking his opponent’s back, St. Pierre locked in an armbar that caused Hughes’ face to grimace in pain. The Hillsboro, Illinois native then verbally submitted to referee Steve Mazzagatti, ending the fight.
Many fans showed concern when St. Pierre took the fight on short notice as he would only have a little over a month to prepare for the bout. Training wasn’t an excuse for Hughes during a post-fight interview with UFC color commentator Joe Rogan.
“I came in 120 percent,” Hughes said. “I really trained hard for this fight. I brought in some of the best people and we really had a good game plan. Georges is just a better fighter.”
Hughes also acknowledged that he “had some thinking to do” in terms of continuing his career.
With the win, St. Pierre becomes the interim UFC welterweight champion. He will now wait for Serra to fully recover from his injury and the two will unify the belts at some point next year.
Even though he deserved the win with a show of complete domination, St. Pierre refused to consider himself the welterweight champion, as that distinction is held by the last man to defeat St. Pierre inside the Octagon.
“That’s why I’m going to take off this belt,” St. Pierre said after the fight. “Thanks to the UFC for giving me that; it’s a good honor, but the real champion is Matt Serra. Until I get my belt back, I’m not going to consider myself champion. Matt Serra that night beat me fair and square. He was the better man and I made many mistakes and had a lot of issues that night. Next time when I fight him, it might be a different story and people will understand what I’m talking about.”
We will be going live at 8:00 PM EST with live results of UFC 79: Nemesis, which is taking place at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The event is highlighted by Matt Hughes and Georges St. Pierre battling for the third time in their careers for the interim UFC Welterweight Title and the long-awaited matchup between Chuck Liddell and Wanderlei Silva.
Be sure to leave comments throughout the night.
Live results are shown after the jump.
The official weigh-in results for tomorrow night’s UFC 79: Nemesis are below. All fighters successfully made weight.
Things heated up really fast during the stare-down between Chuck Liddell and Wanderlei Silva. Silva empathically ripped off his shirt before approaching Liddell. After an intense stare-down between the two, Silva faked a move towards Liddell and Liddell responded by flipping his opponent the bird. Silva started to walk towards Liddell and officials and trainers all jumped in but order was quickly restored.
Matt Hughes (170 lbs) vs. Georges St. Pierre (170 lbs)
Chuck Liddell (204 lbs) vs. Wanderlei Silva (205 lbs)
Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou (205 lbs) vs. Ryoto Machida (204 lbs)
Rich Clementi (155 lbs) vs. Melvin Guillard (156 lbs)
Eddie Sanchez (239 lbs) vs. Soa Palalei (262 lbs)
Dean Lister (186 lbs) vs. Jordan Radev (185 lbs)
James Irvin (205 lbs) vs. Luis Cane (205 lbs)
Roan Carneiro (170 lbs) vs. Tony DeSouza (170 lbs)
Manny Gamburyan (155 lbs) vs. Nate Mohr (155 lbs)
Doug Evans (155 lbs) vs. Mark Bocek (155 lbs)
Among the many items that were discussed at yesterday’s pre-fight press conference for UFC 79 was the promotion’s possible trek up to Canada for an event next year.
Well it looks like hoping and guessing is not needed anymore. According to UFC president Dana White, the UFC will hold an event in Canada in April.
“I knew this question was coming,” said White when asked about the UFC coming to Canada. “Yeah, we’re coming to Canada in April and regardless of what happens Saturday night, we’d love to have Georges St. Pierre on the card.”
When asked for an official date, White stated that a date was set but he “didn’t know it off the top of his head”. The event is expected to take place at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec.
John Chandler here, breaking down UFC 79: Nemesis fight-by-fight, including detailed predictions along the way.
UFC 79: Nemesis features ten fights including the third fight between Matt Hughes and Georges St. Pierre for the UFC Welterweight Title and the most anticipated fight in mixed martial arts history when Chuck Liddell takes on arch-rival Wanderlei Silva in a fight years in the making.
Georges St. Pierre discusses his upcoming bout against Matt Hughes for the UFC welterweight title at UFC 79: Nemesis this Saturday night and what his mentality was like going into his past fights against Hughes.
Matt Hughes discusses his upcoming fight against fellow former UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre at UFC 79: Nemesis this weekend. Hughes also talks about the reasoning behind wanting to fight both St. Pierre and Matt Serra as well as the theory that a fighter is a paper champion unless he successfully defends his belt with ESPN.