GSP takes knocks over lack of finish

JOSE RODRIGUEZ, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:23 PM ET

Georges St. Pierre knows it’s the one — and perhaps only — flaw in his game: The inability to finish.

And given the lay of the land, the odds of St. Pierre being able to finish his opponent in the next two fights are slim to none.

The 29-year-old Montrealer dominated his last title defence from the opening bell — beating Josh Koscheck senseless in the main event at UFC 124 last Saturday.

He even morphed from a ground-control grappler to a stick-and-move boxer for the fight in the hopes of laying out his TUF 12 nemesis.

There is no shortage of talent and adaptability in the UFC welterweight champ’s game.

He has the best trainers in the world, can gear his gameplan to fit his opponent perfectly and can control his opponents.

With a 21-2 record, he is one of the most dominating and strategic fighters on the planet.

But for the fourth time in five title defences, the 25th-minute bell rang and the man across the cage from him was still standing. Beaten, but still standing.

“I really wanted to finish with a knockout or a submission,” admits St. Pierre, who’s growing accustomed to the criticism.

“I closed his right eye, so I was going a lot with a hook and a high left kick because I wanted to knock him out standing up. He’s very tough and my punches didn’t land on his chin as much as I wanted.”

In front of 23,000 screaming hometown fans, St. Pierre’s arm was raised following the scrap with Koscheck, winning every round on the judges’ scorecards.

But that wasn’t good enough, says St. Pierre.

“It was a good fight. It was entertaining, but I wanted to finish him,” says St. Pierre. “That was my goal and I didn’t reach my goal.

Shields up next?

He may be in tough if he plans to finish any fight in 2011. His next challenger will surely be Jake Shields — the former Strikeforce middleweight champ.

Shields (26-4-1) is a ground expert who has only been knocked out once in 31 fights and has never been submitted. The last time he was floored was more than 10 years ago during his third pro fight.

The odds of St. Pierre finishing him — compared to his last three challengers (Koscheck, Dan Hardy and B.J. Penn) — are not favourable.

Should he be successful against Shields, there will be no one left at 170 lbs. worthy of a title shot.

His next move would be the highly touted fight against 185-pound champ Anderson Silva (27-4).

Silva — who is four inches taller and owns a reach advantage of almost two inches — hasn’t lost in his last 13 outings.

The fight would surely take place at 185 lbs. — another advantage for Silva.

While no one can doubt St. Pierre’s ability, the looming questions over his ability to finish will likely be around for quite some time.

jose.rodriguez@sunmedia.ca


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