If you watched UFC 129: St-Pierre vs. Shields, you probably have the opinion that you witnessed an epic fight card with quality bouts from bottom to top. From the flying triangle submission by Pablo Garza to the Karate Kid crane kick executed by Lyoto Machida on Randy Couture, which knocked the legend out, sending him into retirement.
With more than 55,000 fans attending the fights at the Rogers Centre, UFC 129 was truly an accomplishment for the UFC specifically and mixed marital arts in general.
One of the few glaring criticisms of the show, however, were the performances put on by Georges St-Pierre and Jake Shields in the welterweight title fight, the card’s main event. St-Pierre won a decision over an opponent that had little offense on the feet, successfully retaining his championship belt. “Boring” has been one of the adjectives thrown around when describing the five-round fight that was scored unanimously for St-Pierre.
It may be true that GSP didn’t do anything that was overly exciting to win the fight, but it’s next to impossible to say he didn’t deserve to collect the win. After all, he did what he had to do in order for the judges to see the fight go in his favor. The pace was controlled by St-Pierre for the entire bout, dictating exactly where he wanted the match to go. At the end of the day, he still has the strap around his waist.
St-Pierre has his own approach for every fight, and he’ll use that approach as he sees fit in order to add to the “W” side of his record. Would every fighter use that same approach? Probably not.
Thiago Alves, for example, has his own style that he believes works best for him, and it differs from the way GSP does his work in the Octagon. If put in the same situation, Alves believes he definitely would have done things a little different, and put in enough work to make the win more decisive.
“That was the perfect gameplan for Jake Shields, but I would just try to finish the fight a little bit more,” Alves told MMAWeekly Radio Weekend Edition. “Throw more right hands. He was really open for low kicks. I think every low kick that he landed (came) from the outside.”
Alves, who faced St-Pierre in his only welterweight title shot at UFC 100 in 2009, is popular for his striking techniques and finishes. Fans, for the most part, enjoy watching exciting finishes to fights, and that’s exactly what Alves looks to do when in the Octagon.
Although he says he wouldn’t fight the same fight St-Pierre did, Alves still gives credit where it’s due, praising the welterweight champion for the win on April 30.
“I think he did enough to win the fight,” he said. “GSP, everybody knows, he’s known to be very safe. He fights to win and he gets the job done. I think it was a good performance, I mean, not my kind of performance, but he’s still the champion. You can’t go against that.”
Since losing to Matt Serra at UFC 69, there has been a subtle difference in the way St-Pierre finishes fights. In the current champion’s first 13 wins, the fights went to decision only three times. The other 10 wins consisted of six by TKO and four by submission. Of St-Pierre’s nine wins after the Serra loss, only three have been by a decisive finish. One win was by submission against Matt Hughes at UFC 79, while the other two were over Serra – the fight in which St-Pierre won his welterweight title back – and B.J. Penn.
Even the Penn stoppage was debatable. If it had not been for Penn’s corner asking to stop the fight, St-Pierre could have been on his way to yet another decision.
With four wins in a row by decision, and all the criticism thrown out there by fans, media, bloggers and vloggers, perhaps St-Pierre will be fueled to finish a fight by knockout. If that’s true, one can’t feel anything other than sorry for the 170-pound champion’s next opponent.
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