GSP dominates Hughes

NEIL SPRINGER -- SLAM! Sports

, Last Updated: 12:49 AM ET

Georges St. Pierre and Matt Hughes fight to determine the interim UFC welterweight champion. Also, Chuck Liddell and Wanderlei Silva square off in a battle five years in the making.

Event card and predictions

Once again, I'm joined by Calgary Sun Editor-In-Chief and MMA expert, Jose Rodriguez.

Soa Palelei (8-1-0) vs. Eddie Sanchez (9-1-0)

Neil: I've only seen Palelei once and it was in his sole loss to Mu Bae Choi at PRIDE 28: High Octane. Sanchez, on the other hand, seems to be the guy who weeds out new heavyweights. It's a toss up, but I keep hearing good things about Palelei.

Prediction: Palelei by second round KO/TKO

Jose: A couple of big boys. But unlike most of the 205-plus fighters out there, these guys know how to pack knockout leather. Palelei is eight and one with six (T)KOs and Sanchez is 7 and 1 with 5 (T)KOs. Sanchez has tasted the UFC before while Palelei is making his debut. That may be the difference.

Prediction: Sanchez by third round KO/TKO

Rich Clementi (37-12-1) vs. Melvin Guillard (39-7-3)

Neil: Another interesting fight. Guillard has the better stand-up game, but if this goes to the ground Clementi should be able to finish him.

Prediction: Clementi by first round submission.

Jose: Guillard lost his last fight in a mere 29 seconds to Joe Stevenson. But Rich Clementi is no Stevenson. The Young Assassin will make short work of Clementi.

Prediction: Guillard by first round KO/TKO

Lyoto Machida (11-0-0) vs. Rameau Sokoudjou (4-1-0)

Neil: Let's see, on the one hand you have a very tricky competitor in Machida, who is known for completely slowing the pace of his fights to secure decision victories.

On the other side of the equation is the aggressive Sokoudjou, who can drop anyone with that nasty left hook.

Either Machida gets the decision, or he's getting knocked out in the first round.

Prediction: I want to see a knockout. Sokoudjou by first round KO/TKO

Jose: He may be the best kept secret in mixed martial arts. The 'African Assassin' has spent less than two-and-a-half minutes disposing of his last two challengers Ricardo Arona and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira.

Prediction: Sokoudjou by first round KO/TKO

Chuck Liddell (20-5-0) vs. Wanderlei Silva (31-7-1)

Neil: Finally!

When both guys were at their peak, I always said Silva would destroy Liddell. Now that they've fallen from grace, I don't see much changing.

Both have lost two in a row, but Silva has had time off to get over it. Plus, he's changed camps and has been training with Xtreme Couture. If they can get Forrest Griffin ready to beat Shogun, they can damn well get Wandy prepared for Chuck.

Silva will have to change his game plan up a bit (no soccer kicks to downed opponents), but his stand up and Jiu Jitsu are enough to carry him through this.

Liddell, on the other hand, hasn't had any time off to get over those two losses. His only real chance to win here is if Silva gets overly aggressive, leaving himself open for a counter-punch.

Prediction: Silva by first round KO/TKO.

Jose: Sadly, I think this will be Chuck's last go. Coming off two straight losses the last one to a guy he clearly should have beaten the Iceman may be past his best-before date. Silva is a pit bull and though some may argue that will play into Liddell's counterpunch game, the Brazilian is simply too tough.

Prediction: Silva by second round KO/TKO

Matt Hughes (43-5-0) vs. Georges St-Pierre (14-2-0)

Neil: I'm actually happy that we get GSP-Hughes. I really didn't care to see Serra-Hughes all that much.

The last time these two met, Hughes was lucky to make it out of the first round. It will be more of a competitive fight this time, but GSP will still take it.

Prediction: In my haste, I wrote a blog entry where I claimed GSP would win by first round KO/TKO. Maybe it's not the best pick, but I refuse to go back on my word.

Jose: New attitude, new training partners but still the same Matt Hughes he beat last time. Georges St. Pierre will have his arm raised in victory Saturday night. GSP promises some surprises like in his last outing when he decided to wrestle the NCAA wrestler Josh Koscheck. Look for Georges to come out exploding.

Prediction: GSP by second round KO/TKO

There you have it. Check back here Sat., Dec. 29 at 10 p.m. EST for live, round-by-round coverage of UFC 79.

Blow by Blow

Good evening, everyone and thanks for joining me for UFC 79: Nemesis. Wow. What an incredible card. I haven't been this pumped for a show since UFC 74. Onto the fights!

Rich (No Love) Clementi vs. (The Young Assassin) Melvin Guillard

Round one

Whoa, sparks fly early as Guillard flips him off right away. Nice leg kick from Clementi to start. Both guys are a little tentative here. Guillard comes at him, but Clementi lands another leg kick. Clementi gets a nice slam and takes the back. He really has to work for a choke, though.

They stand up and roll around a bit, but nothing comes of it. Guillard lands some nice punches, but slips trying a kick. They're in the guard now. Clementi tries an omoplata, but lands on top.

Clementi takes the back, gets the choke and it is over! He does the universal sign of 'suck it!' Yes! I'm a Rich Clementi fan now. Wow, Clementi totally smokes him in the post-fight interview!

Well, Jose and I are scoreless.

Lyoto Machida vs. (The African Assassin) Rameau Sokoudjou

Round one

Yes! Sokoudjou comes out wearing a Predator mask! Sokoudjou lands a nice punch, but Machida takes him down. Machida tries a kimura, but gives it up to try and pass. The ref stands them up.

Sokoudjou gets a takedown and land some shots, but the round expires.

Round two

Machida throws a nasty high kick, but Sokoudjou blocks it. Not much is happening. Sokoudjou comes right at him, but Machida is out of there faster than Speedy Gonzalez. Machida hits him and Sokoudjou goes down! I think he slipped.

Machida takes full mount and tires an arm-triangle. Sokoudjou tries to escape, but fails. Machida lands some nasty elbows and takes the arm-triangle choke! It's over! What a performance!

(The Hulk) Soa Palelei vs. (The Manic Hispanic) Eddie Sanchez

Round one

Best line ever from Mike Goldberg: Brought to you by Harley Davidson, the only motorcycle worthy to be in the octagon.

I would pay to see guys battle it out on motorcycles.

Palelei presses him on the fence and hits a knee. He trips him, but can't keep him down. Sanchez stands up and lands a low blow. The ref restarts them and we play the waiting game.

Now Sanchez presses him on the fence and lands some short punches. Man, nothing is happening here.

Palelei hits a couple knees, then throws a punch so powerful that he misses and falls down. Geez. Sanchez hits a nasty uppercut, but the round expires.

Round two

Palelei presses him on the fence again. Sanchez flips it around and they restart in the centre. Palelei is just throwing wild here. Like, he's barely hitting air. Sanchez takes him down, but they stand up again.

Sanchez lands a couple shots, but Palelei eats them for breakfast and...presses him against the cage, That's just fantastic. The round expires.

Round three

Sanchez clinches and presses him on the fence, but Palelei flips it around. Sanchez lands some nasty punches and Palelei is bleeding. It looks like his nose is broken. Sanchez unleashes with uppercuts and Palelei quits! Thank God, that's over.

(The Iceman) Chuck Liddell vs. (The Axe Murderer) Wanderlei Silva

Round one

All right! Here we go. Silva's taunting him early. They exchange a little, but both guys are waiting for the other to strike. Silva plays possum and they start blasting one another!

Silva hits a nice hook and works the leg kicks. Liddell hits a one-two combo, but Silva counters. The round expires and Chuck takes the round.

Round two

Silva strikes early and lands some nice shots. He hits some more punches and is looking better here. Chuck tries a kick and slips, but Silva can't capitalize! He hits a sweet body kick and jab, though. Liddell falls again, but Silva is being patient.

Another leg kick from Silva. They clinch and Liddell has opened up Silva! Now Silva unloads, but Chuck takes him down. The round expires. Awesome fight!

Round three

Silva needs a knockout here. Liddell takes him down! Silva is back up. They exchange a little, but no significant shots are landed.

Liddell rocks him with a spinning back-fist and starts unloading! Silva survives! Liddell takes him down and the round expires. Liddell wins it.

Matt Hughes vs. Georges (Rush) St-Pierre

Round one

Hughes tries a takedown, but misses. He makes another failed attempt. GSP tries a high kick, but it misses. Hughes tries another sweep, but GSP counters and takes him down.

They're in the guard and GSP works the elbows. He switches to half-guard and stars blasting Hughes. He's cut him already. GSP has mount and starts ramming his head into the ground. GSP takes the back, but the round expires! Total domination by GSP.

Round two

GSP gets another takedown! He passes to half-guard, but Hughes trumps that. GSP is landing some shots, though. He takes full mount and takes the back! Hughes escapes and tries a takedown, but GSP escapes and lands an awesome Judo throw!

GSP gets the armbar and it's over! GSP wins the interim welterweight title!

Well, both Jose and I are scoreless, but that was a great win for GSP. Thanks for joining me for the UFC 79 Blow by Blow.


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