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Sunday, May 1, 2011

Watch UFC 129 Results and Highlights here for free

Georges St. Pierre has looked almost superhuman over the past four years, taking on one top contender after another, and most of the time, challenging and beating them at what they do best. But on the biggest stage of his career, before a sellout of 55,724 fans paying $12,075,000 (U.S.) at the Rogers Centre, the UFC welterweight champion looked human. In a mostly stand-up fight against top contender Jake Shields, he did enough to secure a decision win in the main event of UFC 129. But St. Pierre looked lackluster in the process.


Georges St. Pierre retained his welterweight title with a UFC 129 victory over Jake Shields.

(Getty Images)
St. Pierre overcame obstructed vision from a punch in the second round, and was able to rock Shields with a couple of power shots in almost every round. But it was not the kind of larger-than-life performance the crowd likely expected from the fighter who has become something of a national hero in his native country.

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UFC 129 preliminary card results: MacDonald slams Diaz, Ellenberger cruises

by John Morgan and Dann Stupp on May 01, 2011 at 12:15 am ET

TORONTO – Rebounding from a disappointing last-second loss to Carlos Condit this past June, 21-year-old Rory MacDonald used pinpoint striking and a handful of powerful slams to earn a unanimous-decision win over the always-game Nate Diaz in a contest you'd be hard-pressed to call anything but a complete whitewash



The fight served as the featured contest of Saturday night's seven-bout UFC 129 preliminary card, which took place at Toronto's Rogers Centre and aired on Spike TV and Facebook.com.



The action preceded the evening's historic pay-per-view event.



The opening round featured Diaz starting as the aggressor, taking control of the center of the cage and taunting MacDonald less then a minute into the round. But he seemed to offer MacDonald just a little too much respect from distance.



Mixing in kicks from various angles, MacDonald kept Diaz guessing as he tried to figure out from where the next strike was coming. Meanwhile, MacDonald found range with a variety of strikes that included a slick Superman punch as he kept Diaz's takedown attempts at bay.



In the second, Diaz again was a little slow to pull the trigger, and it was MacDonald who was stronger in the clinch and earned a pair of takedowns in the opening minutes. The youngster never appeared willing to engage on the mat, but he did score a little damage on the floor each time before allowing his opponent to return to his feet.



Diaz came alive in the latter stages of the round with a few crisp counterpunches, but MacDonald wouldn't allow the momentum to shift, and he used a textbook jab-low kick combination to great effect on a few occasions. A pair of knees sealed the frame for the youngster.



With the crowd firmly behind him as the final round began, MacDonald finished off a perfectly executed gamepan.



A pair of aerial powerbombs brought the crowd to a fever pitch 90 seconds into the round, and MacDonald turned up the heat. Delivering a few stinging right hands to a downed Diaz, MacDonald then suplexed the trashtalking badboy in his head for a third time. Diaz tried desperately to work the fight to the floor, but when it did hit the canvas, he was on the bottom yet again. MacDonald stood over his opponent and punched away at his opponent's battered, bloodied face. When the final bell sounded, MacDonald scaled the cage wall to celebrate a magnificent performanc that saw him sweep all three rounds, including a 30-26 mark on two different judges cards.



"He turned and exposed his back to me, and that's a pretty natural movement for me," MacDonald said of his slams. "I feel very strong in that position.



"He kept turning his back to me. I was really surprised by the third one. I felt like I was going to keep slamming him until the end of the round."



MacDonald (11-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) looks to have a bright future after stunning the winner of "The Ultimate Fighter 5." Meanwhile, Diaz (13-7 MMA, 8-4 UFC) may need to again consider a career at lightweight after getting completely outworked at 170 pounds.



Ellenberger blasts Pierson with crushing first-round knockout



A short-notice booking proved no problem for scrappy welterweight Jake Ellenberger, who scored a picture-perfect left hook to knock out Sean Pierson in the night's first Spike TV-televised bout.



Ellenberger, a late replacement for injured Brian Foster, took the fight on just a couple weeks' notice. But he displayed great footwork, solid head movement and crisp striking to shut down the former Toronto police officer.



Ellenberger's hands proved quicker, and once finding his range, he landed a couple nice counter shots. After Pierson quickly got to his feet after the NCAA Division II national champion's takedown, Ellenberger popped him with a left.



Pierson was out cold on his feet from the blow, and he fell to the mat like a chainsawed tree. Ellenberger mixed in a quick right while his opponent crashed to the mat in seemingly slow motion.



The knockout stoppage, which silenced the Toronto crowd, came at the 2:22 mark of the opening round.



"There's so many people, it's hard to stay relaxed in there," Ellenberger said after the win. "I didn't know I caught him until he went down. He was jabbing, and then I just caught him with the hook. I was a little worried because it was a late-notice fight, but I came out with the win so I was happy about that."



Ellenberger (25-5 MMA, 4-1 UFC), an IFL/M-1 vet whose only UFC loss came via split decision to contender Carlos Condit, now has four-straight UFC wins. Pierson (11-5 MMA, 1-1 UFC), meanwhile, snaps a six-fight win streak with his first loss in four years.



Patrick outlasts Roberts in grappling-heavy affair



In the evening's final Facebook.com-streamed preliminary bout, Canadian welterweight Claude Patrick outlasted submission ace Daniel Roberts to earn a unanimous-decision victory.



Roberts looked sharp early with an earnest kimura attempt, but Patrick calmly defended and instantly swung momentum in his direction. Faster on the feet, Patrick began to pepper Roberts with punches from the outside and knees in the clinch that saw him take the opening round.



In the second, Roberts finally netted the top position he had been seeking. However, Patrick again looked comfortable in defense, scrambling up to his feet and then scoring a takedown of his own. However, Roberts swept to top position again and delivered a few short punches from the top. The back-and-forth action continued until the bell, though a final flurry on the feet revealed Roberts was unquestionably fatigued. Nevertheless, it appeared he had done enough to take the second and even up the fight.



Patrick made sure that didn't matter in the third.



With Roberts visibly fading and unable to overpower his opponent, Patrick took the fight to the floor and scored points by gaining mount. When Roberts worked free, Patrick settled on a sprawl-and-brawl approach for the remainder of the final period. It was a moderately-paced round at best, but it was enough for the crowd-favorite to walk away with a unanimous-decision win, 29-28 on all three judges' cards.



Following the win, Patrick admitted it was a bit personal.



"The guy did something different that I will never let get to me again," Patrick said. "He went on the computer and made a whole bunch of ridiculous remarks, which I didn't even read because I turn the computer off when I'm training for a fight.



"He made this video about my head being, so big so that's why I came at him so hard in the first round and let my fists do the talking."



Patrick (14-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC) now carries an impressive 13-fight win streak and is undefeated in three octagon outings. Roberts (12-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC) sees a three-fight win streak snapped.



Thirty-fight veteran Menjivar scores first-ever UFC win



It took nearly seven years after his first attempt, but bantamweight Ivan Menjivar finally earned an octagon victory.



Menjivar lost a unanimous decision in June 2004's UFC 48 event, but the "Pride of El Salvador" looked as if he'd hardly lost a step in a first-round shellacking of nine-time WEC veteran Charlie Valencia.



Valencia opened aggressively with kicks to the legs and body, but Menjivar quickly tied up his foe and went to work from the clinch. A few crisp elbows inside sent Valencia crashing to the canvas, and Menjivar swarmed with punches that punches that forced the stoppage 90 seconds into the bout.



"From the clinch, we were kneeing each other and then by reflex I threw my left elbow and connected," Menjivar said after the win. "That spun him, and then I followed him to the ground, and that was it."



Menjivar (22-8 MMA, 1-1 UFC) rebounds from a WEC loss to Brad Pickett in an entertaining three-round affair, while Valencia (12-7 MMA, 0-1 UFC) loses for the second-straight outing.



MacDonald scores first octagon win since 2008



Perhaps "The Athlete" isn't snakebitten, after all.



Heavy crowd favorite Jason MacDonald, fighting for the first time since a gruesome broken leg ended at his night at UFC 113 in May 2010, made quick work of fellow middleweight Ryan Jensen with a perfectly executed triangle choke.



MacDonald wasted little time with a takedown attempt, countering Jensen's first striking combination by dumping him to the floor. Jensen alertly slapped on a guillotine choke attempt as he hit the deck, but MacDonald squirmed free of the hold. One on top, MacDonald really went to work.



Jensen tried to scramble up from the floor, but MacDonald instantly transitioned to his back. With just one hook in place, MacDonald slipped off but deftly locked in a triangle choke as his opponent tried to set up on top. Trapped in the hold, Jensen tried to punch his way out, but he had little choice but to tap at the 1:37 mark of the first round.



"Words can't describe what I'm feeling right now," MacDonald said. "I had the triangle locked in and I knew he was going to slam me. I knew as long I kept him tight it would be no problem."



MacDonald (25-14 MMA, 6-6 UFC) improves to 4-1 in his past five overall outings as he claims a UFC win for the first time since a September 2008 win at UFC 88. Meanwhile, Jensen (15-8 MMA, 2-4 UFC) has been submitted in consecutive fights and my face a pending release from the promotion.



Makdessi scores early claim for "Fight Night" bonus



Undefeated lightweight striker John Makdessi made an early claim for the evening's $129,000 "Knockout of the Night" bonus with a spectacular third-round finish of "The Ultimate Fighter 12" veteran Kyle Watson.



The bout started off with a moderate pace as Makdessi looked to strike from the outside while also remaining wary of Watson's grappling-based attack. The dueling strategies led to a bit of a lull at times, but Makdessi appeared to have done enough to take the frame.



In the second, it was Watson who went to a kicking attack and nailed Makdessi with a crushing high kick. The hard-headed Makdessi simply shook off the advance and went to back to work with his own approach. Working his hands that were just a little quicker, just a little more precise, Makdessi appeared to stun Watson in the closing moments of the second frame.



Up two rounds to none as the final round opened, Makdessi saved his best work for last. Bleeding under the left eye, Watson tried desperately for a takedown that wasn't there, and Makdessi capitalized with a piece of well-crafted trickery. Faking a low kick, Makdessi then came over the top with a spectacular spinning backlist that sent Watson crashing to the canvas.



No follow-up was required, and the bout was waved off at the 1:27 mark of the third and final round.



"I knew I hit him well, but I didn’t know I knocked him out," Makdessi said after the bout. "I guess when you train that much, it's just a feeling to know when to use it.



"I like to feel out my opponent first. It’s a true testament to my great coaches and my kickboxing coach."



With his first octagon finish, Makdessi (9-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) remains undefeated through the first nine bouts of his career. Meanwhile, Watson (13-7-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) sees a five-fight win streak snapped after tasting UFC defeat for the first time.



Garza catches Jabouin with flying triangle



The evening's first contest saw featherweight Pablo Garza extend his historic UFC run by earning an impressive submission win in the opening bout of UFC's first-ever stadium show.



Utilizing a significant height advantage over opponent Yves Jabouin, Garza tried first to launch strikes from the outside before settling into a Thai clinch to pummel his foe on the inside. Jabouin showed comfort early, as he was able to pull away from the exchanges and fire a few of his own counter shots. But just when it appeared things might be swinging Jabouin's way, things went terribly wrong.



Seizing the moment on the biggest stage in North American history, Garza launched onto Jabouin's shoulders with a well-crafted flying triangle choke that caught his opponent by surprise. Both fighters hit the floor, and Jabouin tried desperately to wiggle free, even signaling once to referee Yves Lavigne that all was well. As Garza rolled to his side and torqued the hold, it no longer was, and Jabouin was forced to tap with 29 seconds left in the first round.



"I was a little jittery," Jabouin admitted after the fight. "The biggest crowd I ever fought in front of was a couple thousand. This was like, 'Holy [expletive],' and it took a while to concentrate on the fight."



Garza (11-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC), who in December proved victorious in the UFC's first-ever featherweight contest, has now won two-straight fights. Jabouin (15-7 MMA, 0-1 UFC), while always competitive, now falls to just 1-3 under the Zuffa banner.







OFFICIAL PRELIMINARY CARD RESULTS



•Rory MacDonald def. Nate Diaz via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-26)

•Jake Ellenberger def. Sean Pierson via knockout (punches) - Round 1, 2:22

•Claude Patrick def. Daniel Roberts via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

•Ivan Menjivar def. Charlie Valencia via TKO (strikes) - Round 1, 1:30

•Jason MacDonald def. Ryan Jensen via submission (triangle choke) - Round 1, 1:37

•John Makdessi def. Kyle Watson via knockout (spinning back fist) - Round 3, 1:27

•Pablo Garza def. Yves Jabouin via submission (triangle choke) - Round 1, 4:31
“His striking was a lot better than I expected,” said St. Pierre at the conclusion of the fight. “I expected to handle him striking and then finish him on the ground.”

St. Pierre apologized to the crowd, saying he wanted a knockout or a submission, as this marked St. Pierre’s fourth consecutive title defense that went all five rounds. But it was the first where he wasn’t completely dominant from start-to-finish. He had to be hospitalized after the fight, not appearing at the post-fight press conference.

“At some points he was getting the better of me, and at times I was getting the better of him,” said Shields (26-5-1), who was in his second UFC fight, and had brought a 15-fight winning streak dating back to 2004 into the event. “Usually I can get people down but GSP has great takedown defense.”

The takedown defense was the most impressive part of St. Pierre’s game. On a couple occasions, Shields caught St. Pierre’s leg when he would throw a kick, and have a high single, but never once was able to complete the takedown, including a couple of escapes that were almost ballet-like in nature.

That made all the difference in the fight, as few gave Shields much of a shot at winning the title unless he was able to take the champion down.

But St. Pierre’s striking game, which destroyed Josh Koscheck so badly in his previous fight that Koscheck is still just barely getting over the injuries, and beat master strikers B.J. Penn and Thiago Alves at their own game, wasn’t as crisp as usual, and was far too predictable.

St. Pierre came with an attack which would usually finish with an overhand right, and also kept throwing spin kicks, which were something new. Shields was hurt a few times by the rights, particularly in the early rounds. But Shields eventually caught on to the pattern and St. Pierre missed badly on a number of punches.

Before being hospitalized, St. Pierre had a mixed reaction to his performance. While he felt it wasn’t a good performance, he did note he was pleased to be able to get the win over such a strong challenger.

UFC president Dana White defended St. Pierre’s performance.

“This guy (Shields) is no joke,” said White. “He’s been unbeaten for a very long time. Do I wish there were fireworks and they were standing there blasting each other? All that stuff’s great. But it doesn’t always play out that way. Georges is getting a lot of criticism for not finishing, but he’s fighting the best guys in the world.”

Shields, who came into the fight ranked No. 8 in the Yahoo! Sports pound-for-pound list, was never able to hurt the champion, who has been ranked either No. 1 or No. 2 in the rankings for the past few years. Shields connected with some punches and low kicks, and St. Pierre’s face was marked up besides the eye that was swelling shut. Shields was also never in danger of being finished, but was staggered in almost every round at some point, usually when the overhand right landed solid.

St. Pierre (22-2), won his ninth fight in a row, the second-longest winning streak in company history behind Anderson Silva’s 13. His company record for most consecutive rounds won stopped at 33, when judges Richard Bertrand and Nelson “Doc” Hamilton both gave Shields the fourth round, even though St. Pierre scored the fight’s only knockdown, with a kick to the head, in that round. That call was controversial, and both also gave Shields round five, which was close enough that it would have gone either way, scoring the fight 48-47 in favor of St. Pierre. Judge Douglas Crosby gave the fight 50-45, which was the same score Yahoo! Sports had.

St. Pierre’s handlers during the week said that he would be 193 pounds when he went into the cage. That would be an increase over the usual 187-188 pounds St. Pierre fights at after making 170 the night before. The champion appeared bigger across the shoulders. But while the added weight appeared to be all muscle, as St. Pierre maintained his usual next-to-zero body fat percentage, it did not appear to be to his benefit as a fighter. He didn’t appear nearly as fast, nor was his striking as crisp. If anything, this fight appeared to be a warning sign about trying to get up to 200 pounds and then compete as a middleweight.

The reality is St. Pierre’s frame is simply not made to be a modern middleweight. He’s a good enough fighter that he could carry the weight without it being fat, and probably could beat a lot of people in the class. But at the upper echelon, going middleweight would be well above his optimum fighting weight.

The most talked about next fight for St. Pierre would be a dream fight with Anderson Silva. The fight has been talked about for years, and St. Pierre always answers the question stating that he would need to slowly build the muscle mass needed to fight someone who is so much bigger than he is. But Saturday’s fight and the way the added muscle affected him seems to indicate it’s not in his best interest.

The other talked about fight has its own political implications, against Strikeforce welterweight champion Nick Diaz, who is Shields’ training partner. Diaz would fare a lot better standing against St. Pierre than Shields did. The question would be whether Diaz has improved his takedown defense to stop someone with St. Pierre’s wrestling ability, as strong takedown guys are the ones that historically have given Diaz the most trouble.

Zuffa, the parent company of UFC, purchased Strikeforce in March. But the Strikeforce fighters are supposed to exclusively appear on Showtime or CBS.

“I imagine I can do whatever I wanted to do,” said White about whether he could or would put that match on next. “We have a contract with Showtime and he’s a Showtime fighter. We’ll have to see how that works out.

“Of course I’d love to see Nick get it,” said Shields. “His style matches up good with St. Pierre. Hopefully his pressure boxing would put more pressure on him (St. Pierre) and do what

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