Heading into the main event, UFC 129 made a serious case for not just the greatest fight under the Zuffa banner, but the greatest MMA event of all time. Jose Aldo and Mark Hominick put on the eventual Fight of the Night in their fight for the UFC's featherweight title. Lyoto Machida sent Randy Couture to retirement and a tooth to the canvas with a crane kick of death. Of the eleven bouts, five ended by knockout, two by submission, and Rory MacDonald German suplexed Nate Diaz around the Octagon like an early-90s All Japan Pro Wrestling match.
Then Georges St. Pierre and Jake Shields entered the Rogers Centre to fight for the welterweight title. There's disagreement over where to place the blame (I believe that Shields' lack of urgency for a takedown hurt the bout more than anything else), but, as the proverb goes, it takes two to tango.
St. Pierre showcased the superior kickboxing that was an axiom for prefight analysis, controlling distance and utilizing his jab throughout the fight. Shields had no answer for St. Pierre on the feet, looking as awkward and ineffective as ever.
After round three, St. Pierre complained to his corner that he couldn't see out of his left eye. Cornerman Greg Jackson responded, "You've got one eye, you're fine."
St. Pierre continued to control the standup without the use of his lead eye. He lost the complete dominance that characterized rounds one through three, but Shields was unable to exploit the injury (if he was even aware of it).
The judges awarded St. Pierre a unanimous decision with one judge scoring every round for the champion. The two other judges saw the fight 48-47 for St. Pierre.
The hometown Rogers Centre crowd lacked the same level of enthusiasm for St. Pierre's victory prevalent for the other Canadians on the show.
- Jake Shields strategy was bizarre, to say the least. The consensus felt that Shields only hope to win the title centered around his ability to catch St. Pierre in a submission hold. Instead of relentless takedown attempts, Shields engaged in a kickboxing bout over three rounds. Needing a finish in round five, Shields lacked any urgency, allowing St. Pierre to cruise through the round en route to a successful title defense.
- Jab. Jab. Jab. Jab. Jab.
- I tweeted somewhere during the second round that I had no interest in watching St. Pierre fight at 170 pounds. It looks like Zuffa might push St. Pierre into a bout with Strikeforce champ Nick Diaz, though Lorenzo Fertitta asked on Twitter whether fans were more interested in GSP vs. Diaz or GSP vs. Anderson Silva in the long sought after superfight. I think you know where I stand, reader.
- I'm not sure where two judges found two rounds for Jake Shields.
- Discussion of Jose Aldo usurping St. Pierre and Anderson Silva in pound-for-pound rankings tempered after tonight's successful title defense. Aldo tired at different points in the bout, looking especially vulnerable in a fifth round that he seemed content just to survive through.
- Bruce Buffer originally read Douglas Crosby's scorecard as 50-43 for Aldo. It was later determined to be an error, and Crosby's actual card was 48-45 for Aldo. I haven't seen word about the cause for the error.
- In another odd decision from the commission, the fight doctor cageside allowed Hominick, twice, to fight with a bulging hematoma on the right side of his forehead. After a nasty cut opened in the fifth, Hominick's face resembled the low-health countenance of the hero in Wolfenstein 3D. To his credit, Hominick fought an inspired period in the fifth despite the condition of his face.
- Lyoto Machida sent Randy Couture off into the sunset with one less tooth. Machida upped the ante following Anderson Silva's Front Kick of Doom to Vitor Belfort at UFC 126 with a crane kick that knocked out Couture 65 seconds into round two.
- I think that ends any talk of Couture fighting again. It's hard to imagine a fight that he could take that would make sense for him and the UFC.
- Machida ended all hopes of another Couture miracle after shrugging Couture off in the first clinch battle in round one. Couture's greatest weapon was taken away, and it was just a matter of time before Machida landed a fight-ending strike from distance.
- "The Janitor" cleaned things up early. #BadSportsPuns
- Nothing tickled me more than a silent response from 55,000 fans after Ben Henderson asked for an amen. Get outta here with that stuff.
- Athleticism and aggression was the difference between Bocek and Henderson.
- Rory MacDonald's back on the map. MacDonald looked better than Nate Diaz in every facet of the fight, and three huge belly-to-back suplexes drew a huge reaction from the live audience and the crowd on Twitter tonight. Manly stuff from the 21 year old.
- It looked like Sean Pierson thought the fight was just starting after Jake Ellenberger knocked his block off.
- I enjoyed Ivan Menjivar's nose-smashing elbow to Charlie Valencia's face, but I'm not sure I needed to see it three times over the course of the evening.
- Jason MacDonald on his submission over Ryan Jensen: "You know the slam isn't the best defense of the triangle choke." All you young fighters out there, you aren't "Rampage" Jackson. Learn proper defense instead of half-hearted slams.
- On any other night, John Makdessi's spinning back fist KO of Kyle Watson wins the Knockout of the Night.
- I had trouble with the Facebook stream tonight, missing the first two minutes of Pablo Garza's date with Yves Jabouin. Fortunately, I did not miss his Submission of the Night-winning flying triangle.
- Forrest Lynn disagreed with me on the radio show, but I felt the atmosphere at the Rogers Centre didn't translate well on any of the broadcasts. Both Luke Thomas and Matt Bishop raved about the experience inside the building.
Fighter of the Night
(Photos from Al Bello/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Lots of contenders tonight, but I don't think anyone did more to increase his stock than Rory MacDonald in his victory over Nate Diaz. MacDonald outclassed Diaz throughout the bout, and capped that with a series of huge slams that brought a huge rise from the audience at the Rogers Centre. It's hard to imagine that MacDonald is still only 21 years of age, but he looks to have rebounded from a tough loss to Carlos Condit.
Moment of the Night
Photo by Esther Lin for MMA Fighting
Not only is this the last moment in Randy Couture's professional fighting career, it's also a serious contender for knockout of the year.
Mike Goldberg Line of the Night
Photo by Esther Lin for MMA Fighting
"Mark Hominick may have to finish this fight, Joe."
Likely down 4-0 heading into the fifth round, Mike Goldberg noted that Mark Hominick probably needed a finish to win the bout. Now, the sentiment behind the statement is correct. However, it's the lack of conviction that bothers me. Goldberg is so reluctant to say anything negative about any UFC fighters that it affects his ability to relay the narrative of a fight.
Entrance Song of the Night
It was hard to hear a lot of the music tonight, and a lot of the entrances for the Facebook prelims were cut from the stream. So, here's Red Rider with "Lunatic Fringe" which is featured on the soundtrack for Vision Quest, a movie I am told is must-see.
The Chopping Block
Despite Dana White's assurance that Zuffa needs more fighters, there's no margin for error in the UFC. It only takes one loss to find a pink slip waiting for you on Monday morning. Who's on the Chopping Block?
More Bloody Elbow UFC 129 Results and analysis:
- Georges St. Pierre Holds Back UFC's Canadian Coming Out Party at UFC 129 - Jonathan Snowden
- Is Steven Seagal Secretly a Martial Arts Genius? - Jonathan Snowden
- UFC 129 Post-Fight Press Conference Video
- Play by Play and Live Commentary - Brent Brookhouse
- Georges St. Pierre Slips Past Jake Shields
- Jose Aldo Holds Off Mark Hominick
- Lyoto Machida Clouts Randy Couture
- Vladimir Matyushenko Mops the Floor With Jason Brilz
- Ben Henderson Whips Up On Mark Bocek
- Rory MacDonald Ragdolls Nate Diaz
- Jake Ellenberger Brutalizes Sean Pierson
- Claude Patrick Edges Daniel Roberts
- Pablo Garza Submits Yves Jabouin
- John Makdessi KO's Kyle Watson With Spinning Back Fist
- Jason MacDonald Triangles Ryan Jensen
- Ivan Menjivar Clocks Charlie Valencia