St. Pierre Stuns Hughes!!!
Shin to the Chin Ends Bout...
Arco Arena, Sacramento, CA
Report by Brady Crytzer
Photos: Craig Bennett/FightWireImages.com
In a truly historic moment in the short history of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, French Canadian Georges "Rush" St. Pierre scored a second round knockout to dethrone long time welterweight champion Matt Hughes Saturday in Sacramento, CA.
For the first time in Sacramento, UFC 65: Bad Intentions was the hottest ticket in town as the ARCO Arena was electric with anticipation of the welterweight showdown pitting long time champion Matt Hughes against the toughest challenge of his career in the one of the best natural athletes in the game Georges St. Pierre. Despite a previous loss to Hughes, St. Pierre entered the Octagon brimming with confidence. With an equally positive ovation for the champion Hughes, the two warriors squared off in what was sure to be an all action fight.
Showing much faster natural hand speed, St. Pierre broke the standoff early by landing a piercing jab keeping the stronger Hughes at bay. As both men attempted to decipher his opponent, Georges St. Pierre surprised his opponent by snapping a lightening quick spinning back kick into Hughes' midsection sending him into the Octagon fence. With the crowd excited by the sudden action, St. Pierre brought his momentum to a screeching halt by unintentionally slamming a left leg kick to the groin of Hughes. After a momentary rest, Hughes signaled his willingness to fight as the action resumed.
Following another potentially disastrous low blow by St. Pierre in what looked like a replay of the first, the men touched gloves, anxious for combat. Following a body kick by Hughes that was slightly off the mark, the champion closed the distance for what appeared to be a trademark takedown. Showing great awareness, the challenger stuffed the attempt and landed a series of short punches. With the ten-second signal clapping, Georges St. Pierre launched a right hand that blasted his opponent square in the forehead. Stunned by the shot, Hughes collapsed in a heap after a quick left hook found a home on his chin. In serious danger of being stopped, Hughes survived the attack as the bell mercifully sounded ending the round.
The second round saw the much sharper Georges St. Pierre impose his will as Hughes, seemingly still rocked from the combination at the end of the round, could never find his rhythm. Utilizing a sharp jab that scored so many times in the first round, St. Pierre kept Hughes at his distance enough to snap yet another low kick to the leg of Hughes. After landing another series of hard kicks to the legs, Hughes was sent to the canvas as a rocket kick from the challenger took his legs out from under him. On the ropes, Hughes prepared to defend the next low kick as St. Pierre, showing veteran cunning, changed direction of the kick, landing his shin squarely on the champion's head. Dropping to the canvas, St. Pierre landed a few more hard blows on his way to stopping the champion at 1:25 of the second round.
"I took the hard way up," an overjoyed St. Pierre said in broken English. "I am so happy I cannot even cry. I know I am not American, but I will do my best to keep this belt in North America."
Sylvia Wins Methodical Decision over Monson
In a fight that will be remembered as one of the most unusual in UFC history, 6'8 Tim "The Maine-iac" Sylvia successfully defended his world heavyweight title against 5'9 challenger Jeff "The Snowman" Monson via a long and trying unanimous decision.
Known for his anarchist political views, Jeff Monson entered the arena to the sound of John Lennon's classic "Imagine", but surely no fan could ever imagine the bout that lay ahead of him. With a nearly twelve inch height advantage, Tim Sylvia set the pace early by landing a long distance jab that kept his much stronger opponent away. Aware of his ground superiority, Monson shot almost immediately to which the champion showed a surprisingly agile sprawl. Though the challenger had one of the champion's legs, he could not gain control as Sylvia rose to his feet. After more effective straight punches by Sylvia, Monson shot in for a takedown again with the same result. Confident he couldn't be taken down, Sylvia began to throw a number of punches and even a head kick as the round came to close.
The second round saw a frustrated Jeff Monson find himself on the end of a long Sylvia jab. After having a takedown stuffed yet again, Monson could do little to counter the long reach of Sylvia. As the boo birds began to fly due to the virtual stalemate, "The Snowman" landed a big overhand right to wake up the crowd as the round came to an end.
The third round saw the challenger have his best showing of the night as Monson's shot in underneath a Sylvia right slamming the champion to the canvas. For the first time in his UFC career, Sylvia had the chance to display just how effective his guard was. Dropping big shots from the top position and scoring points, Monson had trouble reaching the face of the much longer Sylvia. Nearly getting back to his feet, Sylvia was quickly snatched up in a guillotine choke that brought the crowd to its feet. Showing an impressive intuition, Sylvia rolled correctly to remove himself from the hold and get back to a neutral position. After a hard Sylvia elbow landed from the bottom, Jeff Monson rose to his feet with blood streaming from below his right eye. Allowed to continue, he was quickly met with big shots including a flying knee that dropped him as the bell sounded.
The fourth round saw Monson score with a takedown early yet again, but this time allowing the 6'8 "Maine-iac" to assumed the top position. Showing nice control of the submission-grappling champion, Sylvia began working for an arm lock but offered very little threat. With world-class ground experience, Monson swept the 260+ pound champion putting him on his back again. Sylvia surprised many when he, sensing his opponent's fatigue, attempted a triangle choke that was stopped rather easily.
The final round saw very little action from either man, prompting referee Big John McCarthy to halt the action to chastise the fighters. Stirring up action, the men began trading blows and Monson attempted a hopeless takedown. Remaining on his back, Sylvia half-heartedly kicked the legs of "The Snowman" until the men were stood up. Jeff Monson fell to his back during another takedown attempt and Sylvia assumed the top for a brief period of the round. The buzzer sounded and the men mercifully returned to their corners. Judges scorecards read 50-45 and 49-46 twice all for the winner Tim "The Maine-iac" Sylvia.
Vera Continues to Impress with KO of Mir!!!
In a heavyweight clash to determine the number one contender for Tim Sylvia's heavyweight title, rising newcomer Brandon "The Truth" Vera scored the biggest win of his career knocking out former world champion Frank Mir at 1:09 of the first round.
Mir, a former world heavyweight champion, showed little restraint against the very well rounded Vera as he willingly exchanged punches with his smaller but much faster opponent. Vera, who stopped all three of his previous UFC opponents, landed a crisp left hook that received the attention of Mir. Sensing a bit of hesitation from his opponent, "The Truth" slipped a hard right cross between the defense of his opponent wobbling him badly. Following up with a pinpoint knee on the chin, Vera pounced on his now prone opponent prompting a referee stoppage.
With this win Brandon "The Truth" Vera puts the heavyweight division on notice with a perfect 8-0 record. Frank Mir falls to 9-3. "I was scared, man," Vera said. "I idolized Frank Mir for a long time. I knew I hurt him with that right and I just finished him with some ground n' pound."
Stevenson Chokes Out Mishima!!!
In the lone lightweight bout of the evening, The Ultimate Fighter 2 winner Joe "Daddy" Stevenson submitted Japanese superstar Dokonjonosuke Mishima with surprising ease at 2:07 of the opening round.
Known for his elaborate entrances, Mishima did not disappoint as he made his way to the Octagon wearing a devil mask with a teddy bear in hand. The fun stopped there. All business from the beginning, Stevenson closed in on his opponent only to have his momentum work against him as he was put on his back with a slick hip toss. From his back, Stevenson locked in a tight guillotine choke that drew an immediate response from the ARCO Arena. For what seemed like an eternity, Mishima stayed in the hold fighting the pressure until he was able to slip out and land short punches from inside Stevenson's guard. Following a scramble on the ground, Mishima was caught once again in a Stevenson guillotine choke, this time submitting from the hold. The end came at 2:07 of the opening round.
"I wanted to stand up for this fight," Stevenson said. "He took me down right away so I took what he gave me. I really didn't train any jiu jitsu for this fight, I worked almost exclusively on my boxing."
Irvin KO's Ramirez!!!
In a sloppy yet exciting light heavyweight affair, Sacramento native James "The Sandman" Irvin received his second UFC victory, this time in front of his hometown fans, knocking out newcomer Hector Ramirez at 2:36 of the second round with a single right hook. The opening stanza saw Irvin kept off balance by the rushing attack of "Sick Dog" Ramirez. After an attempted high kick, an off balance Irvin fell to the floor where Ramirez took his back for a long portion of the round. In the second round, the fireworks continued. Ramirez, who appeared to be wearing down Irvin, threw a lazy jab, was sharply countered with an explosive right from the southpaw stance stopping him in his tracks and dropping him hard. Irvin, began to celebrate a bit prematurely, and had to come back and follow up with a kick to the side and two shots before the referee stepped in.
Hardonk Blasts Out Pendergrast!!!
In his UFC debut, Dutch kick boxer Antoni Hardonk scored a highlight reel style knockout over Miletich trained Sherman "The Tank" Pendergrast at 3:15 of the opening round. Despite an early takedown by Pendergrast, Hardonk displayed his kickboxing skills on a tired opponent scoring with a hard left followed by a chopping right leg kick sending him flat to the canvas.