Hardy believed that he had a chance to land one left hook that could elevate him to the UFC’s welterweight title.
He never got that chance.
St. Pierre put Hardy on his back seconds into the start of their welterweight title bout. Once the fight hit the ground, St. Pierre worked right through Hardy’s attempt at the rubber guard, passing to side control within seconds.
With St. Pierre in side control, Hardy tried to roll out giving up his back. St. Pierre worked for the rear naked choke, but remained patient.
Hardy managed to turn into St. Pierre and escape to his feet, but St. Pierre took him right back down to the mat again.
St. Pierre had very little trouble passing the guard of Hardy, working to full mount, forcing Hardy to roll again, giving up his back.
St. Pierre transitioned to the armbar and extended the arm of Hardy grotesquely, but “The Outlaw” managed to escape right at the end of the first round.
St. Pierre came out in round 2 and put Hardy on his back again, passing the guard just as easily as in the first round.
After dominating the action on the ground, St. Pierre and Hardy both made their way back to their feet.
St. Pierre tested the waters in the stand up game, landing some stiff jabs to the face of a smiling Hardy, before shooting in with a picture perfect single leg take down near the end of the second round.
After specific instructions from his corner between rounds, St. Pierre executed Greg Jackson’s plan to stay in the guard of Hardy and work some ground and pound.
After a triangle attempt by Hardy, St. Pierre worked on and nearly got a kimura from side control, but Hardy fought out and made his way to his feet.
The fourth round was a carbon copy of the first three until St. Pierre once again latched on to an arm and torqued the arm of Hardy behind his back. It didn’t look like Hardy would survive the submission attempt, with St. Pierre torquing the kimura attempt forcing a grimace on the face of Hardy. Amazingly, Hardy would once again survive, making it to the fifth and final round.
Despite surviving to see the fifth round, Hardy would find himself on his back once again, fighting off repeated submission attempts and ground and pound punishment from the welterweight champ for the entire round.
St. Pierre was awarded a dominating one sided unanimous decision victory, but was not all that pleased with his overall performance tonight.
“I’m not very happy with myself,” said the welterweight champion. “I made a lot of stupid technical mistakes.”
“I had a strategy for the fight,” St. Pierre said. “I wanted to avoid the fight where my opponent was the strongest, and fight him where he was the weakest on the ground. He was a lot better than I thought he was.”
The win was St. Pierre’s seventh in a row since his shocking TKO loss to Matt Serra nearly three years ago.
The night’s co-main event would end stunningly. There was a lot on the line as Frank Mir and Shane Carwin would battle for the UFC interim heavyweight championship.
At stake was not only the interim belt, but also a date with Brock Lesnar.
Mir came into this bout in tremendous shape, packing on tons of muscle in preparation to do battle with the huge heavyweights that occupy the top of the UFC’s heavyweight division.
With Mir’s marked improvement in his boxing, it was Carwin that almost immediately went to the clinch, forcing the former UFC heavyweight champ against the cage, and using some nice dirty boxing, scoring with short right hands.
After a stall in the action, Miragliotta seperated the two and Mir took the center of the Octagon. After a brief exchange with Mir coming forward, the fight would find it’s way back to the clinch against the cage.
After a call from action from Miragliotta, Carwin fired off a devastating left hook from the clinch, then four uppercuts that dropped Mir to the canvas.
Mir looked to survive, but was hurt badly, eventually getting flattened out on his stomach with Carwin firing huge shots from his back KO’ing Mir out cold.
With the win, Carwin is now sporting UFC gold as the interim heavyweight champion.
“I’m speechless,” said Carwin. “I don’t know what to say.”
The win means that Brock Lesnar is up next, in a battle of giants that is sure to be a barn burner.
“Finally baby… that fight was canceled two times,” Carwin said. “It’s destiny that we meet.”
Brock Lesnar, after making his way into the Octagon, had a few words for the newly crowned Carwin.
“It was a good fight,” Lesnar said. “But he’s still wearing a belt that’s a make believe belt.”
Carwin extends his unbeaten record to 12-0, and is 4-0 with 4 knockouts, all coming in the first round in the UFC.
Pellegrino submits Camoes, submission of the night?
There would be no laying and praying once the lightweights hit the Octagon.
Pellegrino and Camoes came flying out of the gate, both looking to get the fight to the ground. Camoes would end up on Pellegrino’s back, getting both hooks in, and looking to finish the fight with a standing rear naked choke.
Pellegrino defended nicely, getting one of the hooks out and shaking Camoes off of his back, dropped him on his head, stunning Camoes briefly.
Pellegrino would then get the back of Camoes and attempt a rear naked choke of his own before nearly getting caught in a triangle once Camoes reversed the action.
The sweeps and reversals would keep coming with Pellegrino getting top position with just under a minute to go in Round 1.
Pellegrino went to his corner smiling after the end of Round 1, following a blistering start to the fight.
It would be Pellegrino controlling Round 2, retaining top position, and advancing to full mount, dropping big elbows to the face of Camoes.
Pellegrino would continue to dominate the round from the top until Camoes gave up his back with just under a minute to go in the round.
Pellegrino locked up a tight rear naked choke forcing Camoes to tap. With the victory, Pellegrino moves 15-4 overall, and has won his last 4 fights inside the Octagon.
Fitch decisions Saunders with a smothering and stifling top game
There were no secrets coming into this one that Saunders wanted to stand, and Fitch wanted the fight on the ground.
Within a minute and a half, Fitch got what he wanted, taking the fight to the ground. Fitch used his trademark ground and pound, and dominant top control to ride out the rest of Round 1, to a chorus of boos as the bell sounded.
The second stanza was a carbon copy of the first, with Saunders unable to defend the take down, or get off of his back once he was put on the mat.
The “boo” factor seemed to affect the judgment of referee Dan Miragliotti after about 4 minutes of some more Fitch ground and pound, as the fighters were stood up with Fitch in a dominant position.
After the reset, it was a clinch fest against the cage unti the bell sounded on Round 2.
Miragliotti would seperate the fighters again with about 3:20 left in the fight after a stall in the action from the clinch. Fitch then came forward and set up the take down again with a nice combination.
Fitch got yet another take down and rode out the rest of the fight from top position, landing grinding elbows to the face of Saunders.
It was a dominating performance by Fitch, as he totally neutralized the superior stand up skills of Saunders en route to the unanimous decision victory.
Saunders has to be given a lot of credit for stepping up and asking for Fitch with less then a week to prepare, after Alves was pulled from the card after having an abnormal CT scan.
Miller grinds out a decision victory over Bocek
Bocek came out and earned some early take downs in the first round, and used his black belt jiu jitsu to maintain top position.
Miller was able to rip out an arm, and executed a beautiful sweep with a kimura, and continued to torque on the arm from half guard. Miller continued to wrench the vicious kimura attempt and almost ended the fight, nearly eliciting the tap from Bocek.
It was Bocek looking for the submission in the second stanza after getting full mount, then locking up a body triangle that not only secured the body of Miller, but also his right arm.
Miller appeared to be in trouble, with only one arm to defend the rear naked choke. The gritty Miller, fought off the submission for over a minute, surviving until the bell sounded.
The 3rd round turned into a boxing match for the first three minutes, with Miller getting the best of the stand up game, stuffing the take down attemps of Bocek in the process. The last two minutes turned into a clinch fest with both guys looking to gain some points with a take down, and Bocek got one with just over a minute to go.
Despite the take down, Miller scrambled with seconds remaining in the fight to take the back of Bocek as the bell sounded.
The fight went to the judges, and all three agreed that Miller won the fight, 29-28.
- Welterweight Championship – Georges St. Pierre def. Dan Hardy by unanimous decision (50-43, 50-44, 50-45)
- Interim Heavyweight Championship – Shane Carwin def. Frank Mir by knockout (punches) Rd 1 (3:48)
- Kurt Pellegrino def. Fabricio Canoes by submission (rear-naked choke) Rd 2 (4:20)
- Jon Fitch def. Ben Saunders by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Jim Miller def. Mark Bocek by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Nate Diaz def. Rory Markham by TKO (strikes) Rd 1 (2:47)
- Ricardo Almeida def. Matt Brown by submission (rear-naked choke) Rd 2 (3:30)
Prelims (may not be televised)
- Rousimar Palhares def. Tomasz Drwal by submission (heel hook) Rd (0:45)
- Jared Hamman def. Rodney Wallace by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Matthew Riddle def. Greg Soto by disqualification (illegal upkick) Rd 3 (1:30)