MONTREAL – Georges (Rush) St-Pierre pitched a shutout against welterweight title challenger Josh (Kos) Koscheck in the main event of UFC 124.
The story of the fight was St-Pierre’s (21-2) repeated jabs to Koscheck’s (15-5) swollen eye. Koscheck did a good job of defending early takedown attempts, but couldn’t his big overhand right. As the fight progressed, St-Pierre kept tagging Koscheck, who’s approach never changed.
“I know Josh Koscheck, he likes to throw his punches in a circular motion,” St-Pierre said. “So my game plan was to stay on the outside. I saw his eye was closed and Ii tried with hooks to finish it, but he’s very tough.”
St-Pierre said he was surprised Koscheck chose to stand with him.
“I didn’t believe that (he would trade punches),” St-Pierre said. “I thought he would try to put me on the floor. He tried that too. It’s an MMA fight. If you don’t want to see that, go watch kickboxing.”
Koscheck was humble in defeat and said all the trash talk was just to draw more attention to the card, which was held at the Bell Centre.
“GSP is a true champion,” Koscheck said. “I tried to do everything I could to hype up the fight. Montreal, it was an amazing event. I look forward to the day I can come back here and put on a show for you guys.”
Stefan (Skyscraper) Struve shut Sean (Big Sexy) McCorkle’s mouth in the co-main event.
McCorkle (10-1) let loose with a huge amount of trash talk in the build up to the show. He started out strong, slamming Struve (21-4) to the mat and working for a kimura shoulderlock. Struve stayed calm and kicked off the cage wall to escape. He then used a kimura sweep to get off his back and mount McCorkle. Struve unloaded with punches and elbows for the first-round TKO victory.
“Yeah, trash talk all you want, it doesn’t matter in the octagon,” Struve said. The two hugged following the bout to bury the hatchet.
Jim Miller gave highly touted prospect Charles (do Bronx) Oliveira the first loss of his career.
Miller (19-2) immediately took the fight to the ground. Oliveira (14-1) attempted to threaten with an armbar from his back, but Miller defended it and slapped on a kneebar less than two minutes into the bout for an impressive submission victory.
“I think a lot of people underestimated me coming into this fight,” Miller said. “Charles is a tough kid with a lot of potential, but I’m one of the best in the world.
“I wanted to go out there and prove a point. I want my shot, Joe (Silva). I want my shot (at the title).”
“I think a lot of people underestimated me going into this fight,” Miller said. “Charles is a tough kind with a lot of potential, but I’m one of the best in the world.
“I want my shot (at the title).”
Mac Danzig delivered a stunning knockout on fellow TUF winner Joe (Daddy) Stevenson.
As Stevenson (31-12) charged foward, Danzig (20-8-1) landed a perfectly-timed left hook to put him out.
“I’ve been landing it for years, I never knew how to put power into it the right way,” Danzig said. “I just started loosening up and popping it the way it’s supposed to go.
“I knew he was going to come in and lead with that left. I studied tape of him and I knew he was going to walk right into that. And the whole thing with that is to aim for the jaw. I used to aim for the forehead. Hit the jaw and the guy goes out.”
Following decision losses to St-Pierre and Jon Fitch, Thiago (Pitbull) Alves earned a unanimous decision victory over fellow striker John (Doomsday) Howard to get back on the winning track.
The two went toe-to-toe for 15 minutes, but Alves’ (18-7) technique proved superior as he landed the more significant shots on Howard (14-6) to take all three rounds.
“It means so much to me to get this win,” Alves said. “I love you, Montreal; thank you. John is a very tough guy. I planned and trained specifically for him. I trained very hard and I’m happy that I got an opponent that I knew would want to stand and bang with me.”
Canadian fighters won three of their six undercard fights at UFC 124.
In the final preliminary contest Joe (El Dirte) Doerksen lost a close split decision to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt Dan Miller.
Miller (13-4) was able to to take the Winnipeg native to the mat at will throughout the three-round fight. However, Doerksen (46-14) remained the busier of the two on the mat, threatening with a kimura in the second round and cutting Miller open with an elbow.
Despite Doerksen’s effort, two judges scored the fight for Miller.
“I kept hitting him and he kept hitting me back,” Miller said. “He’s got very good elbows. I looked to finish, but he kept escaping. He’s truly a crafty vet.
“I’m always nervous about decisions. It could have easily went his way.”
Toronto’s Mark Bocek gave the fans something to cheer about as he submitted Dustin (McLovin’) Hazelett with a slick triangle choke in the first round.
Following the bout, Bocek (9-3) called out submission wizard George Sotiropoulos for the UFC’s Toronto debut on April 30, 2011.
“Let me start out by saying Dustin Hazelett is a really tough guy,” Bocek said. “I’ve been quiet way too long. I have the best jiu-jitsu in the lightweight division and I want to prove it by fighting George Sotiropoulos in Toronto.”
In a very weird bit of judging confusion, Kenora, Ontario native Jesse (Water) Bongfeldt and Rafael (Sapo) Natal went to a majority draw, with initial scores of 30-30 across the board. This would have been impossible of course, since a majority means only two judges scored it a draw.
However, that was later corrected with two scoring it 28-28, and one giving the fight to Natal (12-3-1) 29-28.
Natal looked good in the first two rounds, taking Bongfeldt’s (21-7-1) back to go up 20-18 on all three scorecards. However, Bongfeldt came alive in the third, punishing Natal enough to convince judges Salvatore D’Amato and Tony weeks to score it 10-8 in his favour to tie the contest.
Toronto’s Sean Pierson won a unanimous decision over Matthew Riddle in a wild slug-fest.
Pierson (11-4) dropped Riddle (5-2) early in the fight after landing a counter punch off a flying knee attempt. As the fight progressed, Riddle turned up the heat but mostly threw wild looping shots that didn’t land clean. Pierson’s sharp counter-striking was enough to convince the judges to award him every round.
“It was great to be in there exchanging punches with Matt,” Pierson said. “He’s very resilient, but I felt like I had the decision. The crowd was amazing. This was 14 years in the making. I’m extremely proud and happy to be in the UFC.”
Ricardo (Big Dog) Almeida dominated Nova Scotia’s T.J. Grant for three rounds en route to a unanimous decision victory.
Almeida (13-4) was able to take Grant (16-5) down with ease and control much of the fight. Almeida secured Grant’s back multiple times, but was unable to put him away with a submission.
“I would’ve liked to get the finish but he was a hard guy to control,” Almeida said. “But I was happy with my positioning in the fight. Usually the fighter on top will win the decision so I did my best to get in dominant positions and do damage.
St-Pierre training partner and Laval, Quebec native John (The Bull) Makdessi got things off to a good start for Canadian fighters, earning an impressive unanimous decision over Pat (Awesomely Awesome) Audinwood.
Makdessi (8-0) was able to keep the fight standing and utilized a diverse arsenal of striking to out-class Audinwood (9-2-1) for fifteen minutes.
“My strategy was to kick his legs,” Makdessi said. “He was fighting me outside-in, trying to use his reach. I thought he’d be the aggressor and I’d thought he’d engage more but he did what he had to do.
“I was trying to finish the fight, but he kept his distance from me. I feel very blessed and honored to be a part of the UFC.”