Georges St. Pierre. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Georges St. Pierre used superior wrestling and surprising grappling technique to dominate UFC lightweight king B.J. Penn and successfully defend his UFC welterweight belt in the main event of UFC 94 Saturday night in Las Vegas.
What was supposed to be a showdown as even as their original meeting almost three years ago, turned into a one-sided mauling as St. Pierre (18-2) controlled Penn (13-5-1) in every aspect of the fight from start to finish. Penn, renowned for his takedown defense and new-found conditioning, found himself constantly on his back and winded after only the first round.
After three consecutive rounds of dominant wrestling and grappling by St. Pierre, the tide began to really turn in the fourth stanza, when St. Pierre turned up the heat - passing Penn’s guard at will and delivering a non-stop barrage of punishment. When Penn returned to his corner after the continuation of the round, both his trainers and the ringside doctor agreed that the fight should be stopped, and it was.
“I have been training for this fight since September so there was a lot of pressure,” St. Pierre said after the fight. “Last time it was a decision. This time I wanted to take him out and I’m glad I did it. He was tough.”
While a potential showdown with fellow pound-for-pound phenom and UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva looms on the horizon, the French-Canadian will next face rising welterweight contender Thiago Alves, winner of his last seven fights inside the Octagon.
“Georges, congratulations. It was an amazing performance. I’m a fan and you looked great,” Alves said after entering the cage to speak to UFC color commentator Joe Rogan. “I’m looking forward to this fight. I’m the number one contender and I want this title shot.”
In Saturday’s co-main event, Lyoto Machida continued to build his argument for a shot at the UFC light heavyweight title with a first-round knockout of fellow undefeated Brazilian Thiago Silva.
Silva (13-1) was slated to originally face Machida (14-0) at UFC 89 in October, but was forced to withdraw from the bout because of a lingering back injury, resulting in the move to last night’s fight card. The Chute Boxe product was thought to possess a style that would force the usually relaxed Machida to finally put on a fast-paced bout.
He did just that.
Machida sent Silva to the canvas with punches on two separate occasions before eventually knocking him unconscious just as the horn sounded to end the first round. The loss was Silva’s first of his professional career while Machida picked up his fourteenth straight victory in devastating fashion.
When asked if he wanted to receive a title shot after winning his first six fights in the UFC, Machida left the answer up to those in attendance at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. The crowd responded with a resounding cheer.
Unfortunately Machida will have to await the result of former UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton Jackson’s bout against Keith Jardine in March while current title holder Rashad Evans takes a brief hiatus.
21-year-old prospect Jon Jones turned some heads after his impressive performance against one-time IFL fighter Andre Gusmao back in August. He’ll now garner even more attention after his dismantling of former “Ultimate Fighter” runner-up Stephan Bonnar on Saturday night.
Jones (8-0) used unorthodox striking and swift Greco-Roman wrestling to stifle Bonnar (11-5) throughout their three-round affair, eventually earning the nod on the judge’s scorecards in the form of a unanimous decision.
After struggling with mental and physical issues due to recent panic attacks over the past year, Karo Parisyan (19-5) returned to action and squeaked out a razor-close, and possibly controversial decision over fellow judoka Dong-Hyun Kim (11-1-1). The first televised fight of the night saw Clay Guida (25-9) escape with a hard-fought split decision win over Nate Diaz (10-3).
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