UFC 87 Review
UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre
Defeats Jon Fitch Via Unanimous Decision
Coming into the fight, GSP was quoted as saying that Fitch was the toughest opponent of his 19 fight career. If by "tough" he was trying to say that Fitch would give him his closest fight, he was wrong.
But if GSP was forecasting that Fitch would be able to absorb a tremendous amount of punishment for 25 minutes and come back from numerous situations where he looked to be completely finished only to continue putting up a fight, then GSP was dead on the money.
The score sheets accurately tell the story of a dominating performance by GSP in which he won all five rounds and never appeared to be in trouble. He punished Fitch with superior stand up, particularly in the first round when he rocked him on his way to a 10-8 opening stanza. While Jon has a well deserved reputation as a strong wrestler who was successful in stopping the take down 70% of the time in his UFC career, GSP proved once again why he is the best "MMA wrestler" in the game.
He was able to virtually take Jon down at will and rebuffed the Fitch's attempts to take him down. When you're getting beat in the standup and your opponent can take you down at will and you can't take him down, that makes for a long night. However, no one can walk away from this fight without respect for Fitch's toughness, conditioning, heart and ability to absorb punishment.
He simply fought an opponent who is better than him at every aspect of MMA, by a little bit in some areas and by a lot in others. When that opponent is among the top five pound for pound fighters in the world, Jon has nothing to be ashamed of.
And speaking of best pound for pounders, (how's that for a segue?) UFC president, Dana White, has already announced that GSP's next opponent will be current UFC Lightweight World Champion, BJ Penn, who will move up to 170 for a rematch that he has been begging for.
Penn lost the first fight at UFC 58 in a 3-round decision after dominating GSP in the first round and losing the second and third. Both fighters have drastically improved in the 2 ½ years since that meeting, making this a matchup that has every MMA fan salivating! Will GSP and Penn give the fans the "Fight of the Night?" Well, at UFC 87, GSP and Fitch did just that and were each awarded an additional $60,000 bonus.
Brock Lesnar Defeats Heath Herring Via Unanimous Decision
Wow! I can't help it... that's the first thing that comes to my mind after watching Brock Lesnar's complete and utter domination of heavyweight contender, Heath Herring. When you consider that this was only Brock's THIRD MMA fight as compared to Heath's 44th, it is completely reasonable to think that we may be watching the future of the UFC's heavyweight division.
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Brock Lesnar's Complete And Utter Domination Of Heavyweight Contender, Heath Herring.
Lesnar came out in round one like a bull, faking a takedown and nailing Herring with an overhand right that floored him and had him somersaulting backwards. Lesnar used his collegiate national championship wrestling skills to completely manhandle Herring for the rest of the round, a theme that continued in rounds two and three.
Brock made a mess of Heath's face and also peppered his midsection with knees when they were standing and gave him a heavy dose of knees to his back and side when he had him on the ground. I suspect that Heath woke up on Sunday morning looking and feeling like he'd been hit by a Mack truck. When it was all said and done, all three judges deservedly gave the fight to Brock, 30-26.
In this fight, Brock may well have established himself as the one heavyweight that no one will want to fight. While he still has a lot to learn by his own admission, his athleticism, strength, speed and wrestling ability are a frightening combination, particularly when you consider that he has only been training MMA for 2 1/2 years.
If he continues to learn how to stay out of submissions and becomes more effective at dishing out punishment in his ground and pound he has a fantastic chance of becoming a future UFC heavyweight champion.
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Brock May Well Have Established Himself As The One
Heavyweight That No One Will Want To Fight.
Kenny Florian Defeats Roger Huerta Via Unanimous Decision
While this matchup of top lightweights did not live up to "Fight of the Night" predictions, it was another very strong showing for Kenny Florian who established himself in the minds of most as the number one contender in the division. Kenny fought a sound technical fight, getting the best of Roger in the standup and employing a strategy of consistently circling, like a boxer, making himself a much more elusive target for the stronger Huerta.
What became evident throughout the fight is that Florian has a much more advanced skill set than Roger. Fights often come down to which fighter has more ways to win and at this point in their development, Florian was that fighter. While Roger had his moments in the fight, there was never a time that Florian appeared to be in any real trouble, leading to all three judges scoring the fight 30-27 in Kenny's favor.
Rob Emerson Defeats Manny Gamburyan Via TKO (Strikes) Round 1
Gotta admit, I never saw this one coming. I've never been overly impressed with Emerson as his game seems one-dimensional showing strength as a kickboxer, but not much else. That strength was all he needed against a wild Gamburyan, who literally ran across the Octagon throwing wild punches and leaving his head wide open for a beautiful right-hand that put him on the ground.
Rob followed with a left that put Manny out for a few seconds leading to a justified stoppage at only 12 seconds of the first round. Emerson also earned a tight, well deserved $60,000 bonus for Knockdown of the Night.
Demian Maia Defeats Jason Macdonald Via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) Round 3
World Champion BJJ stylist Demian Maia came into this fight undefeated in mixed martial arts and left the same way using his world-class jiu jitsu skills throughout the fight. He had Macdonald in trouble several times over the 3-round chess match and, to Jason's credit, he was able to escape several positions that would have had most other middleweights tapping.
Ultimately, Demian was able to use his speed and superior positioning to secure a rear naked choke and submit Macdonald in the third round. The UFC deemed the submission to be the slickest of the evening, earning him yet another "Submission of the Night," this time adding an additional $60,000 to his bank account.
Maia was cornered by UFC light heavyweight Wanderlei Silva. If he can work on his standup game with his corner man, he could be a scary fighter in the division.
- Tamdan McCrory defeats Luke Cummo via Unanimous Decision
- Cheick Kongo defeats Dan Evensen via TKO (Strikes) Round 1
- Jon Jones defeats Andre Gusmao via Unanimous Decision
- Chris Wilson defeats Steve Bruno via Unanimous Decision
- Ben Saunders defeats Ryan Thomas via Submission (Armbar) Round 1
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