April 21, 2008
Serra gives GSP kudos
By JOSE RODRIGUEZ -- Sun Media
MONTREAL -- Matt Serra was right about one thing: He did finish the night looking a lot like the main character in the Rocky movies.
Unfortunately for the former UFC welterweight champ, it wasn't the exact scene he'd pictured.
With fresh scrapes and bruises poking through the rims of his heavy-tinted sunglasses, the mouthy New Yorker admitted Montreal's Georges St. Pierre schooled him in the main event of UFC 83 over the weekend.
"It was a tough day at the office," said Serra in the post-fight interviews yesterday.
"I was hoping the guy would get tired of hitting me, but the guy's in shape, you know."
St. Pierre dominated Serra from the opening bell, making good on his promise to punish the Long Island native for calling him "Frenchy" and "insulting Francophones in Quebec."
St. Pierre broke down his fight with the 33-year-old by saying he had a strategy to use his superior athletic ability to control the heavy-handed Serra.
"I wanted the fight to be very physical. I wanted to tire him out," said St. Pierre, who dominated the jiu-jitsu expert on the mat and unloaded a lethal ground-and-pound attack that forced the ref to stop the fight with less than a minute left in the second round.
With an official attendance of 21,390, UFC 83 goes into the books as the best-attended mixed-martial arts show in North American history, and St. Pierre admits the noise inside Montreal's Bell Centre was something he's never experienced.
"It was so loud in there, I couldn't even hear my own corner (shouting instructions)," said St. Pierre, who, at 26, has claimed the welterweight belt for a second time, avenging a title loss last year to Serra.
St. Pierre, who has always maintained he's a bigger celebrity in Vegas than in his own country, saw that change in the days leading up to Saturday's fight.
St. Pierre said he tried to stay out of the public eye, but even in deep East Montreal, where he was sure no one would pick him out, it was hard to avoid the mob of fans.
"I couldn't make two steps without someone recognizing me," he said.
Serra says he leaves Montreal disappointed with the loss but with no ill-feelings towards Quebecers.
And by the end of the night, fans cheered Serra as he walked over and raised St. Pierre's hand.
"I told you I'd win them over," Serra joked.
UFC president Dana White handed out bonus money last night to the following winners: Fight of the night, Jonathan Goulet/Kuniyoshi Hironaka; Submission of the night, Demian Maia over Ed Herman; Knockout of the night, Jason MacDonald over Joe Doerksen. The fighters got an additional $75,000 each on top of their purse ...White was not impressed with B.C. fighter Kalib (Running Man) Starnes' performance against Nate (The Rock) Quarry. "It takes two guys to fight, and Nate's the only guy who showed up," White said. "If I was Kalib Starnes fighting in my own country, I'd rather get knocked out than run around in circles for three rounds." The crowd booed Starnes and, at one point, Quarry drew thunderous roars after pretending to punch himself as Starnes continued to avoid him ... White hasn't ruled out a potential Georges St. Pierre/Anderson Silva fight if each continues to dominate in his respective weight class. But newly crowned champion St. Pierre says he has no plans to move up to 185 lbs. any time soon.