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GSP Trainer Explains Overhand Right Game Plan During Shields Fight at UFC 129

Posted on by Damon Martin

GSPIf there was a criticism coming towards UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre following his win over Jake Shields in Toronto it was that once again he didn’t finish his opponent.

It was the Canadian’s fourth consecutive decision win in a title bout, which drew a few shots his way after his performance.

UFC president Dana White wasn’t among those throwing bombs at St-Pierre regarding his inability to finish Shields because sometimes when you fight the best, they’re the best for a reason.

“When you fight the best in the world, it is what it is,” said White.

The one thing that White did criticize about St-Pierre’s performance was the punch he continually threw at Shields throughout the fight, with little success.

“The one criticism I will give Georges is that he was throwing this weird, overhand right the whole fight that looked like he was trying to knock him out,” White told MMAWeekly.com following UFC 129. “He usually throws that Superman punch that’s nice and straight and perfect form.

“He kept throwing this crazy, almost like he was throwing a baseball right hand, it was very weird. I’ve never seen him do that before.”

Now a couple of days removed from the fight, St-Pierre’s lead trainer Firas Zahabi admits that throwing that overhand right was part of the game plan. He actually instituted the punch after seeing Dan Henderson drop Shields with the same thing when they fought in April 2010.

“Shields has been suspect to that punch before. He got hit with it with Henderson. Georges landed it a few times. I felt he staggered him, but didn’t land exactly on the chin. It landed a lot on the side of the head,” Zahabi said when appearing on MMAWeekly Radio.

“You could tell Georges was really trying to finish the fight. He threw a lot of overhand rights, they were a little wild, but that just shows how much he wanted it to land hard. He wasn’t conservative, he wasn’t playing a tight boxing game. He was throwing those bombs to hopefully really hurt Jake Shields.”

Zahabi says through careful study of Shields’ tendencies, they picked up on the ability to throw and land that overhand right, but it just didn’t come through on fight night.

“Just the way Jake stands it really leaves him more susceptible to overhand rights,” Zahabi commented. “In another position to kicks, but more susceptible to overhand rights. It was part of the game plan going for that punch.

“I still stick by it, I think it was a good idea, it just didn’t land right on the button.”

St-Pierre was undeterred by the fact that he didn’t finish Shields because ultimately he still got the win and he still went home with the UFC welterweight title around his waist.

As for Zahabi, he hears the comments and criticisms about St-Pierre not finishing, but he doesn’t take it to heart. It does make good bulletin board material however.

“I use them as motivation to go back to the drawing board, and fix (things),” Zahabi stated. “It’s very important not to be too sensitive to that. Georges is a professional and he knows what he’s doing. All the coaches work hard to train all our fighters that were competing that night to finish.

“It’s always the game plan, believe me when I tell you, it’s always the game plan.”


Damon Martin is the lead staff writer and radio host for MMAWeekly.com.
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