TORONTO – It delivered.
After all of the speculation, all of the talk and all of the problems with getting the province of Ontario to sanction ultimate fighting , UFC 129 did what everyone thought it would and lived up to the hype.
Georges St-Pierre retained his welterweight title over Jake Shields by decision in a fight that once again confirmed the Canadian’s prowess as a technical strategist but would have served as a better precursor to its preceding match which also involved a Canuck.
After thwarting any and all grappling and wrestling attempts made by the challenger who the champion himself declared to be his most formidable opponent ever, GSP couldn’t avoid being rushed to the hospital immediately after the match to have his injured eye examined.
Mark Hominick’s featherweight championship with Jose Aldo was an epic showcase of striking, grappling, guts, glory, blood and heart and almost served as a soap opera for all of the men in attendance with just as many twists and turns as an episode of daytime drama. While Aldo won by decision, the real story was how the Canadian just would not give up. The most fascinating aspect of the match was Aldo’s unquestionable dominance over the native of Thamesford, Ont., in the first four rounds only to see a late surge by Hominick in the fifth. Despite a welt the size of a tennis ball on his forehead, Hominick was the first to show any weakness in Aldo’s game.
Many fans and experts alike thought that the fight should have been stopped given Hominick’s injury, but after the match, the fighter thanked the referee and the doctor for allowing him to continue (although, Hominick’s wife probably wasn’t as gracious).
“First off, I just want to say to my wife that I hope I didn’t put you into labor. I know you’re do any minute. I love you, babe and I hope that you’re okay,” he said. “And second, I just want to thank John McCarthy for not stopping the fight. I was never going to give up.”
Hominick also said that he gave his all for the hometown crowd.
“I thought I could’ve attacked a bit more on the ground. I thought he was going to be attacking me more instead of holding me down. I fought hard for you guys and I hope you enjoy the fight.”
Really, the only question left on the table was if there would be any glitches in an event that not only welcomed 55,000 into a baseball stadium in the Rogers Centire but also changed its pay-per-view start time. The fact is that the card delivered with more than half of the fights being decided by knockout or submission.
One of the most spectacular knockouts of the evening was Lyoto Machida using a devastating front kick to mark the end of Randy Couture’s MMA career. In the first round of their light heavyweight match-up The kick was almost a carbon copy of the one that Anderson used and credited Steven Seagal for in his match against Vitor Belfort at UFC 126. After the match, Machida first attributed the kick to his father.
“My father said in martial arts to always be different. He taught me to look for different techniques and angles,” he said.
Later at the post-fight press conference, however, Machida noted that Seagal was responsible.
“He (Seagal) always reinforced that to me, try that kick, that kick will land and when it lands it will work so I definitely give credit to him for helping me perfect that kick.”
The knockout reaffirmed Couture’s decision to hang up his gloves.
Other winners on the night included Pablo Garza over Yves Jaboulin (submission), John Makdessi over Kyle Watson (knockout), Ryan Jensen over Jason MacDonald (submission), Ivan Menjivar over Charlie Valencia (technical knockout), Claude Patrick over Daniel Roberts (decision), Jake Ellenberger over Sean Pierson (knockout), Rory McDonald over Nate Diaz (decision), Ben Henderson over Mark Bocek (decision) and Vladimir Matyushenko over Jason Brilz (knockout).
For complete play-by-play live coverage of the fights, check out Chris Roberts’ Recap.
Tags: Georges St. Pierre, Jose Aldo, Lyoto Machida, Mark Hominick, Mixed Martial Arts, Murtz, Randy Couture, UFC 129