UFC 129: St. Pierre vs. Shields, live updates
UFC runs the biggest live event in its history Saturday night from Toronto. The sold-out show will be attended by approximately 55,000 fans and is headlined by a UFC welterweight title fight between Georges St. Pierre and Jake Shields. Also on the event, Jose Aldo defends his UFC featherweight title against Mark Hominick and Randy Couture takes on Lyoto Machida in what Couture says will be retirement fight. Live action begins at 6PM Eastern/3PM Pacific and the pay-per-view portion of the event begins at the new start time of 9PM Eastern/6PM Pacific.
UFC welterweight title: Georges St. Pierre vs. Jake Shields
Georges St. Pierre is univerally viewed as one of the top two pound-for-pound fighters in the world, with no unavenged losses on his record and wins over most of the top fighters in his division. Shields, a submission specialist, hasn't lost since 2004. St. Pierre is very heavily favored.
Round 1. Shields throws a kick to the leg, then a kick to the head, then a kick to the body to start the fight. None really connect. St. Pierre uses his jab a few times. When St. Pierre goes to throw a kick, Shields catches it and tries to take him down. St. Pierre hops back towards the cage and stops the attempt. They exchange jabs and kicks but neither man is landing well. Shields is having some success with kicks. St. Pierre drops an off balance Shields backwards with a jab. Shields catches a St. Pierre kick again but St. Pierre again avoids the takedown attempt with ease. St. Pierre lands a nice straight left and overhand right. St. Pierre seemed a little off with his striking early but was connecting better as the round progressed. 10-9 St. Pierre.
Round 2. Shields continues to throw a lot of kicks but they don't connect with much velocity. St. Pierre lands a hard overhand right and is walking Shields down. St. Pierre uses a spinning back kick to the body and brushes off Shields when Shields looks to clinch. St. Pierre lands another of his big overhands and blocks another takedown attempt. St. Pierre is starting to resemble Dan Henderson, throwing a pair of jabs and then loading up a big overhand right. 10-9 St. Pierre.
Round 3. St. Pierre settles into the same pace, throwing jabs and then the home run overhands. He appears to daze Shields a bit with one about 80 seconds into the round. St. Pierre shrugs off a Shields shot for a takedown. Jab, jab, overhand. Rinse and repeat. St. Pierre finally takes Shields down with 20 seconds left in the round. Shields' striking defense is better than expected. Unfortunately, his striking offense is about exactly as expected. 10-9 St. Pierre.
Round 4. St. Pierre throws jabs when Shields comes in, with the occasional overhand mixed it. Shields keeps using his light kicks along with some jabs. St. Pierre lands a head kick out of the blue that staggers Shields and Shields moves for a desperation takedown. He can't get it. Shields encourages St. Pierre to hit him and begins throwing more punches. St. Pierre answers back with his jabs. St. Pierre's face looks worse than Shields'. Dull fight. 10-9 St. Pierre, 40-36 St. Pierre.
Round 5. St. Pierre again works to establish his jab and throws a superman punch. Shields tries to move forward with punches but St. Pierre moves back and circles out. St. Pierre lands a nice counterpunch as Shields is moving in. The crowd is whistling derisively halfway through the round. If it were anyone but St. Pierre they'd be doing a lot worse. They move to overtly booing. It's a jabfest and the crowd is not liking it. Shields is bleeding from under the eye. The crowd begins to cheer with 25 seconds left. 10-9 St. Pierre, 50-45 St. Pierre. Sour note to end a great show. St. Pierre, once a very exciting fighter, has now gone two full consecutive hours of fighting with only one finish (a corner stoppage between rounds) to show for it.
Winner: Georges St. Pierre (50-45, 48-47, 48-47). St. Pierre says he hasn't been able to see out of his left eye since the second round, which clearly played a big role in the course of the fight. St. Pierre does not respond positively to a fight with Anderson Silva when asked after the fight.
UFC featherweight title: Jose Aldo vs. Mark Hominick
Aldo is considered one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport. An accomplished, world class black belt in jiu jitsu, Aldo has dominated competition in MMA with his quick, precise and varied striking. Hominick, from nearby London, Ontario, is a strong technical boxing with a quality ground game and tremendous conditioning. He is a heavy underdog, but Aldo looked drained from a tough weight cut at the weigh-ins yesterday.
Round 1. Aldo throws a nice uppercut and a pair of leg kicks early. Hominick connects with a nice uppercut of his own but Aldo is getting off more. Aldo lands a nice knee/punch combination and then surprisingly takes Hominick down. Hominick looks for an armbar from the bottom, but can't get it. Aldo drops punches and elbows down for a prolonged period of time and opens a cut under Hominick's eye. The fight is stood up with 30 seconds left in the round even though Aldo was perfectly active. Aldo takes Hominick right back down. One-sided round. 10-9 Aldo.
Round 2. Hominick opens up from the onset. He lands a few uppercuts and a nice straight right. He lands a few body punches and blocks two takedown attempts. Hominick starts throwing out jabs and it appears his confidence is growing. Aldo finally gets the takedown two minutes in. He throws punches and elbows from inside Hominick's guard until the fight is stood back up with a minute left in the round. Hominick uses some jabs but Aldo takes him back down with 35 seconds left in the round. Aldo lands in side control. 10-9 Aldo.
Round 3. They both start out throwing jabs. Hominick is moving faster and throwing more. Aldo lands a nice leg kick. He follows with a good hook but isn't able to secure a takedown. Aldo becomes more active with his strikes and lands some hooks and leg kicks. They exchange jabs. Aldo goes for another takedown but Hominick defends. Hominick peppers Aldo with jabs and avoids most of Aldo's punches. After a scramble, Aldo begins throwing down hard punches on a grounded Hominick. Hominick eventually grabs guard but not before Aldo does the best damage of the round. 10-9 Aldo.
Round 4. Aldo connects with a nice overhand right early in the round. He follows aggressively but backs off after an unintentional low blow to Hominick. Aldo lands some more leg kicks while Hominick mostly concentrates on punches. Aldo drops Hominick with a straight punch and goes to work from top position. There's a massive hematoma on the forehead of Hominick. It keeps growing and this fight is probably going to be stopped between rounds. Or not. A doctor comes in with 45 seconds left in the round and shockingly allows the fight to continue. Aldo takes Hominick back down. 10-8 Aldo, 40-35 Aldo. Hominick's face is a mess.
Round 5. Aldo connects with a hook and follows with a series of punches and kicks from different angles. Hominick gets a takedown of his own. The crowd explodes as Hominick throws down hard punches on Aldo. Aldo doesn't appear in any kind of danger but he isn't doing anything on the bottom but eating punches and the crowd is going crazy like the fight is on the verge of being stopped or something. Hominick just keeps throwing punches for the remainder of the round with the crowd cheering wildly. 10-8 Hominick, 48-45 Aldo. Hominick does his trademark push-ups at the end of the fight and Aldo does push-ups too.
Winner: Jose Aldo, unanimous decision (48-45, 49-46, 48-46). It was initially announced by Bruce Buffer that one judge scored the fight 50-43, but in fact that judge scored it 48-45. Presumably the final round was counted 10-8 for the wrong man. Hominick's wife is about to have their child any day, and he's going to have to wrap himself up to avoid scaring his kid. The crowd gives him a big applause for his courageous performance.
Randy Couture vs. Lyoto Machida
Couture, one of the all time legends of the sport, has said that this will be the final fight of his career. Couture, a multi-time former UFC heavyweight and light heavyweight champion, employs a style that emphasizes his Greco-Roman wrestling. Machida, also a former UFC light heavyweight champion, is a unique fighter who employs a karate style markedly different from that of Couture. Machida looks atypically pumped up coming out for the fight.
Round 1. The crowd loudly chants "Randy" as the fight begins. Machia connects with a nicely placed left/right combination as Couture moves in. Machida avoids the clinch and looks to maintain distance by throwing jabs and faking them. Couture keeps a consistently close distance but isn't able to tie Couture up. Machida moves in with a stiff knee to the body and brushes Couture off him with ease when Couture looks to clinch. That's not a good sign for Couture's chances in this fight. Couture shoots lower than he usually does for a takedown but Machida avoids it. He then lands a loud kick to the body. 10-9 Machida easily.
Round 2. Machida aggressively moves forward with punches but isn't able to do significant damage. Machida lunges forward with a leaping front kick that knocks Couture out. That's basically the same kick that Anderson Silva used to knock out Vitor Belfort and attributed to Steven Seagal. Seagal accompanied Machida to the weigh-ins yesterday as well. An emotional Machida calls Couture a hero after the bout. It appears Couture had one of his teeth knocked out by Machida. The crowd gives Couture a huge applause and loudly chants "Randy" as Couture confirms his intention to retire after this fight.
Winner: Lyoto Machida, KO, round 2.
Yves Jabouin vs. Pablo Garza
This bout begins the evening's undercard trend of Americans taking on Canadians. Jabouin, the Canadian, is making his UFC debut. Garza sports a 1-0 UFC record, although he did lose an unofficial qualifying bout for the Ultimate Fighter.
Round 1. Early, Garza looks to utilize his height and length advantage by throwing a number of jabs. Jabouin drops Garza twice with leg kicks and Garza clinches and looks to take the fight to the ground. Jabouin lands a stiff uppercut that knocks out Garza's mouthpiece and then drops him again with a leg kick. Garza throws some kicks but isn't connecting with the power that Jabouin is. Garza lands some nice knees from the clinch and then executes a flying triangle choke submission. He keeps it in top position and then back on the bottom. Jabouin has to tap. That may be the first successful flying triangle (leaping up from the standing position to execute a triangle choke) in UFC history. Garza gets a really positive reaction from the crowd.
Winner: Pablo Garza, submission, round 1.
John Makdessi vs. Kyle Watson
Makdessi is an explosive Canadian striker who trains out of the Tristar Gym in Montreal with Georges St. Pierre. Watson is an MMA veteran with a 13-6-1 record. Makdessi comes out to a weird techno version of the theme from Platoon.
Round 1. They feel each other out to start the bout. Makdessi is throwing very little, which allows Watson to gain the upper hand with jabs and leg kicks primarily. Makdessi lands a nice spinning back kick to the ribs. Makdessi throws a nice head kick from an unusual angle. The crowd begins to boo. Watson lands a nice body kick to close the round. Makdessi was much crisper with his strikes but he was so inactive that Watson gets the round. Perplexing performance early from Makdessi. 10-9 Watson.
Round 2. Makdessi lands a couple of nice counterpunches to the jaw as Watson moves in. He then repeats that sequence with basically the same shots 30 seconds later. He throws a nice head kick that Watson mostly blocks and begins to open up with strikes. He blocks a Watson takedown attempt. Makdessi throws a variety of kicks while Watson mostly just moves forward with leg kicks and straight punches. Makdessi again lands some counterpunches when Watson moves in. Makdessi was dominant in this round, making his first round performance all the more puzzling. 10-9 Makdessi.
Round 3. Makdessi lands a straight kick to the body at the start of the round and Watson immediately looks for a takedown. Makdessi defends and cuts open Watson under the eye with a shot. Makdessi then knocks out Watson with a spectacular spinning backfist. He set it up by faking a kick and then transitioning into the punch. Two straight highlight reel finishes. Watson stays down for a long time. He needs help many minutes later to get up on his stool.
Winner: John Makdessi, KO, round 3.
Jason MacDonald vs. Ryan Jensen
MacDonald is a longtime veteran of the sport with UFC wins over the likes of Ed Herman, Chris Leben and Jason Lambert. He got a very nice reaction from his fellow Canadians at the weigh-in. Jensen is a very experienced fighter in his own right, but sports an unenviable 2-5 UFC record.
Round 1. MacDonald immediately grabs a leg and looks for the takedown. Jensen responds by taking MacDonald's neck and trying to apply a guillotine choke submission. MacDonald pops out and looks to take Jensen's back. Jensen gets out of that and takes top position. He throws down some punches but MacDonald transitions into a triangle choke. Jensen punches to the head for a bit but has to tap out. Another great finish.
Winner: Jason MacDonald, submission, round 1.
Charlie Valencia vs. Ivan Menjivar
Valencia is from Los Angeles and is a longtime veteran of the sport in the bantamweight class. Menjivar has more international experience than Valencia and has fought at higher weight classes for most of his career.
Round 1. The fighters start by mostly trading leg kicks. They clinch and Menjivar drops Valencia with an elbow from very short range. He follows with punches on the ground and the fight is called off. It's striking to see a fight finished with a blow from such very short range.
Winner: Ivan Menjivar, TKO, round 1.
Claude Patrick vs. Daniel Roberts
These are two very similarly oriented submission grapplers. The Canadian Patrick will be the crowd favorite.
Round 1. Roberts charges across the cage, but Patrick ducks down and takes Roberts to the floor. Roberts looks for a kimura from the bottom. He can't get it and both men stand back up. Patrick lands a quality straight left punch. Patrick has a dentist advertising on his shorts. They clinch against the cage and eventually separate. Patrick lands another nice left and they clinch again. Patrick throws Roberts down. Patrick looks for an arm triangle choke but doesn't come close to getting it. Roberts gets up but is immediately caught with another left. This stuns Roberts and Patrick looks to close the fight with a barrage of strikes. He mostly lands punches to the head but mixes it up with body punches and a front kick. Very good round for Patrick, particularly late in the round. 10-9 Patrick.
Round 2. Patrick looks very confident on his feet now, but Roberts catches a kick and takes him down. Patrick gets back up. Roberts throws a couple kicks to the body as Patrick moves in. Patrick takes Roberts down but Roberts grabs a guillotine and uses the choke to reverse position and end up on top in side control. Roberts throws some punches from the top while Patrick is able to lock up half guard. Patrick tries to get up and Roberts uses the opportunity to try to take his back. Patrick is able to avoid the bad position. Roberts' punches are very lethargic at the close of the round. 10-9 Roberts.
Round 3. Roberts lands a nice kick to the body early in the round. That's been one of his best tools on the feet throughout the bout. As he throws it again, Patrick clinches and looks to take Roberts to the ground. Patrick eventually uses a trip to get the takedown and gains full mount. Roberts works him back into guard. Roberts then stands back up. Roberts looks for a takedown of his own but Patrick blocks it and pushes Roberts against the cage. No one is able to get a takedown. Roberts charges in for a takedown at the end of the round. Patrick tries to get a guillotine but Roberts gets out and has top position at the close of the round. Very close final two rounds, so it could go either way. 10-9 Patrick, 29-28 Patrick. The crowd wants the Canadian Patrick to get the judges' decision.
Winner: Claude Patrick, unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
Sean Pierson vs. Jake Ellenberger
The Canadian Pierson made his UFC debut in December with a win over Matt Riddle. The American Ellenberger has a three fight UFC win streak with victories over three quality opponents. He isn't spectacular in any way but is a solid, well-rounded fighter.
Round 1. Ellenberger takes Pierson to the ground, but Pierson gets back up immediately. They trade wild hooks from close range and then clinch. Ellenberger drops Pierson with a left hook and Pierson goes down. Ellenberger pursues with punches and the fight is stopped.
Winner: Jake Ellenberger, TKO, round 1.
Nate Diaz vs. Rory MacDonald
Nate Diaz and his brother Nick are the most colorful and eccentric brother combination in the sport. Nate is a submission specialist and heavy volume striker. MacDonald is a highly regarded prospect but suffered a setback first loss against Carlos Condit last year.
Round 1. MacDonald opens with a series of kicks while Diaz mostly just moves forward and tries to find his range. MacDonald lands a nice pair of jabs from close range and Diaz looks to get the fight to the ground. MacDonald reverses and tries to do the same and they scramble for top position. They end up back on their feet. MacDonald lands a superman punch. MacDonald throws a bunch of kicks while Diaz is having trouble getting off. Diaz stares down MacDonald at the end of the round. Most of Diaz's losses have come because his opponent had better wrestling and held him down, but MacDonald is simply getting the better of the exchanges here. 10-9 MacDonald.
Round 2. Loud vulgar chants are being directed Diaz's way. MacDonald continues to block takedowns and land better blows. MacDonald takes Diaz down two minutes into the round. Diaz gets up but eats a punch on the way up. Back on his feet, Diaz lands his best strike of the round, a straight punch. MacDonald lands a hard uppercut moments later. They exchange punches and return to the clinch. MacDonald lands a nice flying knee. 10-9 MacDonald.
Round 3. Diaz goes for a takedown. MacDonald blocks, lands some big punches, and slams Diaz to the mat with two big slams. The crowd erupts in response. MacDonald throws down some big punches from high up. Diaz tries to stand up, and MacDonald lifts Diaz from a belly to back position with a highlight reel overhead throw that drops Diaz on his head. Diaz tries for a takedown but can't get it and MacDonald takes him down again. MacDonald drops some punches and elbows. 10-8 MacDonald, 30-26 MacDonald. MacDonald celebrates on top of the cage.
Winner: Rory MacDonald, unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-26).
They have a reconstructed version of "Teenage Wasteland" (a video montage they air before each show) with mostly new clips from newer shows. The show began with a video package touting the magnitude of the UFC's biggest ever crowd. Jon Jones showed up in the first row with one of Georges St. Pierre's trademark bandanas with the Japanese flag. Someone made a killing selling those, because everyone has been wearing them around Toronto the past couple days.
Mark Bocek vs. Ben Henderson
Bocek is one of MMA's most underrated fighters, an excellent submission fighter who has a few hard luck losses to the lightweight division's best. Henderson is a charismatic and exciting former WEC lightweight champion with a great ground game of his own.
Round 1. Bocek moves in with a straight right and looks to take Henderson down, but Henderson defends. They trade knees from the clinch. After they break, the exact pattern from the beginning of the fight occurs again. Bocek lands a nice straight right, looks to take Henderson down, and Henderson turns Bocek around to the cage to defend. Henderson scores with a nice punching combination and a pair of low kicks. Bocek goes for another takedown. Henderson stands on one foot landing punches, but Bocek eventually trips out the other leg and gets the takedown. He throws some punches from top position for the remaining 90 seconds or so of the round. Very tough round to score. 10-9 Bocek narrowly.
Round 2. Henderson lands a few punches and Bocek ducks down for a takedown. He secures it but Henderson is able to get right back up. They exchange knees on the inside and Henderson looks to get his own takedown. He eventually does. Bocek immediately looks for a triangle and then a knee bar. He has no success with either and Henderson connects with some hard punches from the top. Bocek grabs Henderson's leg with his leg like an omoplata and uses that to stand back up. On the feet, Bocek grabs Hendersons head and looks for a D'Arce choke or guillotine. Henderson rolls out of the guillotine and goes to town with a series of knees to the body. Bocek is bleeding from the top of his head. Another very tough round to score. 10-9 Bocek, 20-18 Bocek.
Round 3. Henderson tries to pump up the crowd at the start of the round. He certainly seemed to be looking for cheers but got emphatic boos. Bocek takes Henderson down to begin the final round. Bocek lands some light elbows from the top. Henderson looks for an armbar and then rolls out into top position. Henderson then begins throwing much harder punches down on Bocek. Bocek uses the same leg trick from earlier to take Henderson off balance and grab Henderson's back on the feet. He isn't able to do anything with that and Henderson takes him down. Bocek stands up and eats some punches and knees. Bocek takes Henderson down with 40 seconds left in the fight. Henderson gets up but Bocek looks for a choke in the process. Henderson throws a bunch of punches at the close of the fight. That was another close round, although not as close as the first two. 10-9 Henderson, 29-28 Bocek. I'm expecting the judges to give it to Henderson, however.
Winner: Ben Henderson, unanimous decision, (30-27, 30-27, 30-27). Very surprised by the margin on all three scorecards, but completely justifiable.
Vladimir Matyushenko vs. Jason Brilz
This is a strange fight for the PPV card, with two relatively unexciting fighters who aren't particularly popular, aren't contenders, and aren't Canadian. Matyushenko once fought for the UFC light heavyweight title, while Brilz lost a controversial decision to Antonio Rogerio Nogueira that many felt he deserved to win.
Round 1. Matyushenko drops Brilz with an uppercut and hook and follows with a series of punches on the ground until the bout is stopped. Brilz protests the decision of the referee, but it was a perfectly acceptable decision. It was a lot like the Quinton Jackson/Chuck Liddell II finish, where Liddell was out from punches on the ground with his head bouncing off the mat but he quickly gained his senses as the referee stepped in for his protection.
Winner: Vladimir Matyushenko, TKO, round 1.
Photo: Georges St. Pierre lands a punch to the face of Jake Shields during their title bout at UFC 129 on Saturday in Toronto. Credit: Nathan Denette / Associated Press