by Damon Martin (Photos by Ken Pishna) – MMAWeekly.com
MONTREAL – In front of a packed house of 21,390 fans at the Bell Centre, Georges St. Pierre found his redemption and another reign as UFC welterweight champion as he stopped Matt Serra in the second round of their main event bout.
As the fight began, St. Pierre immediately shot in to take Serra down, where he displayed a dominant game of ground and pound for which the New Yorker could only defend. St. Pierre continued to gain strength as he moved in and out of Serra’s guard while throwing punches throughout.
In the second round, Serra again found himself on his back with the Montreal native on top of him attacking with punches and knees to the body. Serra tried his best to get out from under St. Pierre, but the Canadian was simply too strong in his attack.
St. Pierre began unloading a devastating knee attack to Serra’s body and after a number of unanswered shots, referee Yves Lavigne was forced to stop the bout and, once again, Georges St. Pierre is UFC welterweight champion.
The crowd in the Bell Centre was obviously very much behind their hometown fighter, and St. Pierre said he could definitely hear the fans in attendance.
“I couldn’t hear my cornermen,” he said with a laugh about the cheers from the crowd. “It was kind of weird, it was the first time in my life that it happened. Normally, I can hear my cornermen. It turned out well. They gave me good positive energy to finish strong. At the end I used the energy of the crowd to finish with a flurry.”
St. Pierre will now take a much-needed vacation and will then move back into training and preparation for whatever challenge lies ahead. The most likely scenario appears to be a challenge from Jon Fitch.
Rich Franklin returned to his winning ways, putting away Travis Lutter in the second round of their middleweight showdown. He dominated the stand-up against his opponent while watching his energy drain as the round wore on.
In the opening round, Lutter managed a takedown and even got the mount position on Franklin, almost catching an armbar, but the Cincinnati native withstood the onslaught and took over the remainder of the fight.
Lutter shot in numerous times to try and take Franklin down, but was unable to finish. Franklin came into his own in the second round hitting good jabs and solid knees. Lutter looked gassed as the round continued. He couldn’t stop Franklin’s stand-up attack and eventually went down from the strikes. Franklin followed up with a few more punches on the ground and the bout was stopped.
“I felt great at the end of the first round, when I went back to my corner I took a couple of deep breaths, and kind of regained my composure,” said Franklin after the fight. “But I knew at that point that he had, had me on the ground, he mounted me, he had me in a submission and he had given me the best that he had to offer and come up short. So I knew at that point he had expended some energy and I didn’t expend any energy trying to get off the bottom. I knew he was going to be tired. So from that point on, he started to slow down and my pace stayed the same.”
Nate Quarry won a unanimous decision over Kalib Starnes in a highly uneventful fight that would have benefited from old Pride rules in which a fighter stalling would receive a yellow card, as Starnes would have been handed at least three during the bout.
Quarry did his best to engage his opponent, but Starnes simply defended and circled away the entire fight. At one point in the third round, Quarry actually made a “running man” motion at his opponent to try and get him to fight. The judges saw it the same way and Quarry won easily, including one scorecard that put him up 30-24, meaning Starnes only received eight points in each round, which has previously never been done.
“I did everything possible to push the fight,” Quarry commented in his post fight interview. “No disrespect was intended to Kalib or his camp, it’s just tough to land a shot when the guy’s moving backwards.”
After a long war of words, Michael Bisping dispatched of Charles McCarthy at the end of the first round, as McCarthy could not stand when the session ended after the British fighter battered him with knees in the clinch and punches on the ground.
The fighters exchanged on the feet and McCarthy was able to score a takedown, transitioning to an armbar, but Bisping defended well. Back on the feet, Bisping trapped McCarthy against the cage unloading a barrage of knees, sending his opponent crumbling to the mat.
“To be fair, he covered up very well and he wasn’t absorbing too much,” said Bisping after the bout. “Eventually, a lot of the knees started to get through and I’m surprised the referee didn’t stop it towards the end of the first round.”
As the round ended, McCarthy was unable to stand and Bisping was declared the winner in his debut middleweight fight.
“I’m my own worst critic and I really didn’t want to be on my back in this fight,” Bisping stated. “Charles was able to take me down and put me in a submission hold. I definitely need to work on that preparing for my next fight.”
Mac Danzig looked very impressive in his first fight since “The Ultimate Fighter” season six finale, submitting Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Mark Bocek in the third round by rear naked choke.
Danzig had to play a defensive game in the first round, as Bocek seemed content to wrestle and work on the ground, but in the second round, Danzig took over and dominated for the last round and a half.
The third round saw Danzig open a big cut on Bocek’s head from a vicious knee strike and shortly after he got the fight to the ground, punishing the Canadian until he sunk in the fight ending submission.
“I fought with my heart,” said Danzig. “I always fight with my heart, and I came away with the win.”
Jason MacDonald settled the grudge match with Joe Doerksen in the second round of their bout, punishing his fellow Canadian with forearms and elbows to get the win. Doerksen had MacDonald in deep trouble in the first round, almost locking on a kimura, but MacDonald persevered. In the second session, MacDonald took Doerksen to the ground and then unloaded forearms to get the victory.
Jason Day, in his UFC debut, made short work of Alan Belcher, ending the fight with punches in the first round. After working a solid defensive rubber guard game, Day pummeled Belcher with punches until the referee stopped the bout.
Demian Maia continued his climb up the UFC middleweight ladder with an impressive performance over Team Quest fighter Ed Herman. Maia didn’t wait long to take the fight to the ground and, despite his opponent working a solid ground and pound attack, was able to lock on a triangle choke. Herman fought as best he could, rolling over, but Maia landed a few punches and the fight was stopped.
Rich Clementi picked up a split decision win over Sam Stout after three hard fought rounds. Clementi had a dominant first round and looked strong on his feet throughout the fight. Stout managed a good third round, but in the end Clementi picked up the win.
American Kickboxing Academy heavyweight Cain Velasquez made an impressive debut, decimating another UFC newcomer in Brad Morris. Velasquez pummeled Morris with punches on the feet and on the ground before referee Steve Mazzagatti finally stepped in to stop the punishment at 2:10 in the first round.
The opening bout of the evening saw Canadian Jonathan Goulet finish Kuniyoshi Hironaka. He peppered his opponent with jabs in the second round before unloading a vicious 1-2 combination for the victory. Even early on the Canadian crowd filled the Bell Centre with cheers for their home country fighters.
-Georges St. Pierre def. Matt Serra by TKO (Strikes) at 4:45, R2
-Rich Franklin def. Travis Lutter by TKO (Strikes) at 3:01, R2
-Nate Quarry def. Kalib Starnes by Unanimous Decision, R3
-Michael Bisping def. Charles McCarthy by TKO at 5:00, R1
-Mac Danzig def. Mark Bocek by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 3:48, R3
-Jason MacDonald def. Joe Doerksen by TKO (Strikes) at 0:56, R2
-Jason Day def. Alan Belcher by TKO (Strikes) at 3:58, R1
-Demian Maia def. Ed Herman by Submission (Triangle Choke) at 2:27, R2
-Rich Clementi def. Sam Stout by Split Decision (29-27, 29-28, 28-29), R3
-Cain Velasquez def. Brad Morris by TKO (Strikes) at 2:10, R1
-Jonathan Goulet def. Kuniyoshi Hironaka by TKO (Strikes) at 2:07, R1