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UFC 83: Serra vs. St-Pierre 2 review
by Scott Newman (MMA)
Posted on May 26, 2009, 9:59 AM

UFC 83: Serra vs. St-Pierre II

Montreal, Quebec

-This was the UFC’s first venture into Canada, and naturally with the biggest Canadian star in the big grudge match main event it was a HUGE success in terms of ticket sales, as they ended up breaking the record for the fastest sellout in UFC history, as well as the attendance record (21,390 people beating UFC 68’s 19,049).

-Your hosts are Mike Goldberg and Kenny Florian, subbing for Joe Rogan who had comedy commitments. Florian does an excellent job in the role actually, just as good as Randy Couture (who subbed for Rogan a few times in 2006) was.

Welterweight Fight: Jonathan Goulet vs Kuniyoshi Hironaka

First fight of the night and the crowd are mega-hot already, not least because the Quebec native Goulet’s in the opener. His opponent, Japan’s Hironaka, was higher ranked than Goulet but hadn’t really impressed in his UFC run, and he was facing the hostile crowd too.

Touch of gloves to get us started, and Hironaka immediately looks for a takedown, stuffed by Goulet who throws some kicks as the crowd chant his name. Hironaka shoots again, but Goulet blocks and this time counters with a series of knees from a plum clinch. Nice stuff. Hironaka gets a bodylock but Goulet does a good job of avoiding the takedown, and they end up clinched along the fence. Referee breaks them up and Goulet snaps his head back with a right hand, before wading in with a nice combination. Another takedown is avoided and Hironaka gets on the retreat as Goulet follows with a right hand again. Couple of right hooks land for Goulet, but Hironaka comes back with a right that snaps Goulet’s head back to counter a low kick. Bloody nose sported by Hironaka now. Goulet lands a couple of nice low kicks as he stalks forward. Hironaka tries the takedown again, but Goulet hits a beautiful whizzer to counter and breaks away with a knee to the head. This is about the best I’ve ever seen Goulet fight. Superman punch from Goulet and Hironaka tells him to bring it on. Another one-two lands for the Quebecois, as Hironaka stays on his bike and circles off. Short left hook suddenly puts Goulet down though, and Hironaka gets on top and pounds away, looking to finish! HUGE shots land for the Shooto vet as the crowd chant for Goulet, and Hironaka wails away on him from half-guard. Goulet does well to survive the barrage, and the buzzer pretty much saves him. For as much as Goulet dominated early, that’s got to be Hironaka’s round for almost finishing him late on.

Second round and you’ve got to wonder whether Goulet’s shaken the cobwebs off yet. They continue to exchange strikes though, and Goulet seems alright and clips him with a jumping elbow. Another left hook from Hironaka almost puts Goulet on his knees, but he recovers quick and lands a right counter. Couple of nice low kicks land for Goulet but Hironaka answers with a one-two. Body kick from Goulet and he follows with a nice superman punch, but Hironaka again tells him to bring it on. BIG RIGHT ELBOW drops Hironaka though and Goulet closes in with a flurry, landing a knee as Hironaka gets to his feet! Crowd go CRAZY as Goulet chases him along the fence, and they trade off and finally Goulet drops him for the KO!

Pretty ill fight, Goulet dominated early but his lack of a durable chin came back to haunt him as Hironaka got himself back into the fight by really hurting the Canadian with the left hook. Goulet showed more recovery powers than we’d seen before though – probably didn’t want to let his hometown fans down – and came back with a beautiful combination to finish a tough opponent. Really good opener.

Heavyweight Fight: Cain Velasquez vs Brad Morris

This was a bit of a low-key debut for AKA’s heavyweight prospect Velasquez, faced with unknown Australian Brad Morris, but it still had the online crowd talking as the word on Velasquez was that he had the potential to become the best HW in the world if his fighting in the cage could match his work in the gym. I’d been keeping an eye on Cain since 2006 after Josh Thomson spoke about him highly on a Sherdog radio show. That was before his MMA debut even. Despite Morris only having one loss, it was quite obvious to most that he was here as a sacrificial lamb for the highly-regarded Velasquez. As for Velasquez the dude just *looks* like a killer, one of the most mean looking guys you’ll ever see in MMA in fact.

They begin and Morris lands a quick left hook and then lunges to grab Velasquez, but Cain counters with a right hand that drops the Aussie face-first. Velasquez closes in and lands a flurry, looking for the finish, and ends up in half-guard where he pounds away at the head. Mount from Cain and he continues to punish Morris with punches, before Morris gives his back. Cain flattens him out and lands some more blows, but doesn’t bother to go for the choke, instead switching to an over/under to land heavy, accurate shots to the head. Morris stands but eats a BIG UPPERCUT from behind that drops him again, and Cain just pounds away and this should really be stopped now. Referee Steve Mazzagatti (surprise surprise!) lets it go though as Cain keeps over/under control and just lands at will. Morris sort of goes for a single leg but takes more punishment before Cain lets him up. Velasquez comes forward with a BIG KNEE and then drops him with another knee and a combination. Morris ends up on all fours taking more shots, and then he ends up on his stomach eating blows and FINALLY with the poor guy near death, Mazzagatti steps in.

Total squash; Morris was clearly a sacrificial victim for Velasquez and didn’t prove to be any sort of a challenge for the guy, as Velasquez landed scarily accurate, powerful blows at will and put him away fast. Impressive showing for Cain but for me the bigger issue was the refereeing job – Morris was allowed to take far too much punishment and there was just no need for it at all – that’s the sort of beating that can severely damage a career in fact, and Mazzagatti probably needs to take a look at himself in the mirror for allowing it.

Lightweight Fight: Rich Clementi vs Sam Stout

Canadian kickboxer Stout had got off to a winning start in 2008, beating Swede Per Eklund at UFC 80, while Clementi was still riding the crest of the wave he’d created with his win over arch-nemesis Melvin Guillard at UFC 79. Your basic striker-grappler clash then, with Stout looking to keep it standing and Clementi wanting it on the mat.

We get started and they exchange some feeler strikes before Clementi clinches and bulls him into the cage. Clementi tries to trip him down, and manages it, landing in Stout’s half-guard. Clementi takes the back with one hook in, as Stout tries to stand, and then he puts in the second hook and flattens him out. Stout rolls as he goes for the choke though, and ends up underneath the full mount. Stout looks stuck but doesn’t take a huge amount of damage, and then scrambles from the bottom into half-guard and uses the fence to stand. Clementi grabs a waistlock, but Stout breaks free to a monstrous pop from the crowd. They exchange some combos but Stout doesn’t really get anything off, and Clementi catches a kick and gets a takedown, where he passes to half-guard and then to side mount. Rich goes for a kimura, and then switches to the straight armlock, which he uses to step into full mount. Round ends with Clementi in full mount, clearly giving him the round.

Round 2, and Stout looks to work his combos, catching Clementi with a couple of crisp combinations. Nice left hook from Clementi though. Stout begins to back Clementi up with his combos, circling around and landing some nice shots, before Rich narrowly misses a spinning backfist. Stout avoids a takedown, but eats a right hook for his troubles. Nice leg kick buckles Stout momentarily. They continue to exchange and neither man really lands cleanly. Nice left hook from Clementi though. Pair of kicks from Stout land but not cleanly. Stout avoids a single but eats a left as he does so. Exchange continues and then Stout surprisingly gets a takedown of his own, with Clementi basically giving it up to pull guard. Stout stands immediately though as Florian points out he probably did it for the points. Close round there.

Third and final round, and I have it even although I guess you could’ve given the 2nd to Clementi at a push. Stout comes out throwing kicks, but Clementi comes right back with some of his own. Crowd begin to chant for Stout as they continue to exchange, with Stout firing combos to Clementi’s one or two punches. Clementi manages to get him down though, landing in side mount by the cage, but Stout works his way back to half-guard. He tries to get an elevator, but Clementi ends up in Stout’s full guard instead and then looks to hook in a guillotine. Stout works to his feet though and gets some separation. Nice straight right from Stout. Another one clearly hurts Clementi and Rich shoots in, looking for a single, but Stout does a decent job of defending, avoiding it and ending up in the clinch. Clementi keeps trying the takedown, but then referee Yves Lavigne breaks them up. Nice one-two lands for Clementi but for the most part Stout remains the busier fighter, landing better combinations. One-two and a knee seem to hurt Clementi but he recovers fast. Another combo from Stout but Clementi lands a left in retaliation. Superman punch into a leg kick from Stout, and the fight ends there.

Really close one to call – I think I’d probably go for Stout, but it could definitely go either way as Clementi did get a takedown in the third and clearly dominated the first round. Judges see it as 29-27 Clementi, 29-28 Stout, and 29-28 Clementi, giving Clementi the split decision. Crowd are not too happy with that but hey, it was a close fight to call. Fight got a little dull in spots but for the most part it was a perfectly acceptable mid-level UFC fight.

Middleweight Fight: Demian Maia vs Ed Herman

This was BJJ wizard Maia’s second appearance in the Octagon and his second against a Team Quest fighter, although Herman – on a three-fight win streak at this stage – was a clear step up from Maia’s previous opponent Ryan Jensen. I thought Herman’s strong ground-and-pound would break the Brazilian, actually. Maia’s Mohawk-cum-mullet hairdo is something to behold at this point.

High kick early from Maia, and he shoots for a takedown, but Herman switches and lands in Maia’s guard, which he clearly doesn’t mind. Right away the Brazilian goes for a sweep, but Herman avoids and comes back to his feet, and Maia goes for a single leg. Herman sprawls and defends, but gets slammed to his back in half-guard. Herman does a good job of using the fence to get to his feet, but Maia immediately tries to get him down again. Maia gets a bodylock and tries to trip Herman down, but Ed does a very good job of blocking it. Maia pulls guard, and Herman looks to land elbows, but Maia locks up an oma plata and transitions it into a kneebar attempt. Damn this guy is slick. He switches that into an armbar, but Herman pulls out and lands a couple of punches. Maia looks to work a half-guard sweep, but Herman blocks and lands some short punches, so Maia goes back to full guard. Maia goes for a heel hook and pulls Herman down, and then works the position to get on top in half-guard. He looks for the full mount, attempting to use a kimura to open up the position and sure enough full mount follows. Couple of good elbows from Maia now, as he tries to open Herman up for a submission. Punches land for Maia but Herman rolls him and ends up on top, but right away Maia pops up and forces him into the fence in a clinch. Maia pulls guard again, but this time Herman lands some nice punches on top as the round ends. Excellent grappling from the Brazilian in the first round.

Into the 2nd and Maia looks for the takedown right away, and when Herman sprawls he pulls guard. They come back up quickly though, into a clinch, and now Herman gets the takedown. Herman looks to work some short ground-and-pound from the top, landing an elbow in half-guard, and then Ed stands and drops a pair of right hands over the top that land well. Maia transitions from a butterfly guard to a leglock, but Herman pops out and lands a knee to drop back into Maia’s guard. Announcers think Maia looks tires as Herman begins to take over and posture up, but right as they say it Maia gets a triangle. Herman slips free though and forces Maia to roll back to guard. Maia throws up another triangle though and this time it looks locked down. Herman holds on, but ends up rolling over into a mounted triangle, and Maia pounds away with elbows, and the ref pulls him off as Herman chooses to pass out rather than tap.

Pretty awesome performance from Maia – he did slow down a little in the second round but his grappling was INSANE in the first and it’s not like Herman is a novice when it comes to submission or anything. Maia though is arguably the best pure BJJ fighter to ever step into the Octagon, and this was another fine example of that. The triangle he got to finish things off here was incredibly slick. Post-fight Maia endears himself to the crowd by holding up a hockey jersey, fair enough!

Middleweight Fight: Jason Day vs Alan Belcher

I believe Belcher’s original opponent was set to be Patrick Cote, but he was injured in a slip-and-fall accident and so his fellow Canadian Day stepped in, coming off a few good wins of his own, including a decision over former UFC title challenger David Loiseau. Belcher was on a roll at this stage though and I expected Day to become his next victim. Day wins in the goofy nickname stakes at least, as he’s known as ‘Dooms’. You know, as in ‘Dooms-Day’? Awful. But then Belcher tops him in the goofy ringwear stakes, as he’s sporting the Muay Thai skirt-ish thing that Melvin Manhoef wears.

Round One begins. They throw some feeler strikes out into a clinch and Belcher muscles him towards the fence. Nice trip takedown from Belcher to side mount, but Day does a nice job defensively from the bottom. Day works back to full guard and then locks the rubber guard up, and does possibly the best job I can recall seeing in the UFC with it, controlling Belcher with his leg in order to land some heavy elbows to the head! Belcher manages to get free of the rubber guard, but continues to eat shots from underneath, until he decides to stand. Belcher looks for a plum clinch, but eats some of his own medicine, as Day NAILS him with some vicious inside elbows! Belcher looks rocked and staggers back, and Day follows by SWARMING on him with punches and uppercuts, as Belcher covers up along the fence. More shots land as Day continues to pour it on, and finally referee Dan Miragliotta’s seen enough and steps in with Belcher still on his feet. Crowd pretty much give Day a standing ovation for that one, nice!

Very, very impressive debut for Day. Don’t know whether Belcher underestimated him or what, but he got into deep trouble as soon as they hit the mat, and took a lot of punishment when he was stuck in the rubber guard. I’m thinking that probably took a lot out of him as when they stood, Alan just looked out of it and got clocked with some heavy elbows and it was downhill from there. Disappointing showing from Belcher, but an exciting fight and an excellent performance from Day.

Middleweight Fight: Jason MacDonald vs Joe Doerksen

Apparently MacDonald wasn’t happy with having to take a rematch with Doerksen after already beating him once in 2006, but I guess when Joe Silva calls and you’re not exactly on a hot run or ready for a title shot you take the fight no matter what. Lot of trash talk exchanged in the build-up for this one due to MacDonald’s attitude really, as Doerksen’s not especially known for his confrontational attitude.

No touch of gloves here. MacDonald tries to work a jab, but Doerksen shoots in, only to get caught with a guillotine. MacDonald tightens it up and pulls guard, but Doerksen counters by getting to half-guard to relieve some of the pressure. MacDonald adjusts though and gets to full guard, and now Doerksen looks in some trouble. MacDonald uses the guard to really stretch the body, but Doerksen stays calm and works free of the guard into side mount, where he pops his head free. MacDonald tries to manoeuvre into guard, but Doerksen locks up a kimura from the top and then steps over the head. And now MacDonald looks in trouble as he desperately tries to defend, rolling into top position, but Doerksen bends his arm into a SICK angle as he tries to finish it off! It looks like MacDonald’s ready to tap, but he holds on as Doerksen continues to twist at the arm. Eventually he lets go of the kimura and settles into side mount, but the arm is still twisted behind MacDonald’s back. Doerksen tries for the kimura on the far side now, and then tries to triangle his legs around MacDonald’s neck from the top, but MacDonald rolls out. Doerksen tries to take the back, but MacDonald ends up in Doerksen’s guard where they work for position until the round ends. Tremendous action in the first.

Round two and MacDonald slips on an overhand right, and they end up in a clinch against the cage. MacDonald goes for a takedown, and manages to trip Doerksen to the mat, where he suddenly lands a series of VICIOUS ELBOWS TO THE HEAD! Doerksen’s head literally bounces off the mat, knocking him silly...but Steve Mazzagatti doesn’t step in right away and pretty much forces MacDonald to land *another* flurry to finish him.

Awful finish to a great fight – sure, MacDonald knocked him out but why did Mazzagatti need to see an extra flurry on an unconscious man before he stepped in? Absolutely shameful refereeing. Regardless of that though this was a tremendous grappling match and the sick ending earned MacDonald a Best Knockout bonus, so I’m sure he’s not complaining!

Lightweight Fight: Mac Danzig vs Mark Bocek

TUF VI winner Danzig became the latest winner of the reality show to drop a weight class, as he didn’t even bother with one fight at Welterweight and instead dropped to his natural 155lbs to take on Canadian grappling expert Bocek, coming off a unanimous decision win over Doug Evans at UFC 79. I actually thought Danzig would have a harder time with Bocek than most were expecting.

Round One and they circle with some feeler strikes, and Danzig closes the distance, but takes a flurry and then drops his hands to taunt Bocek a bit. They exchange a little and then Bocek looks for a single leg, but Danzig avoids it nicely until Bocek manages to elevate him and put him on his back in guard. Excellent takedown. Bocek looks to land some strikes from the top, but Danzig goes for a triangle and switches to an oma plata. Bocek pulls out and then drops some nice punches down onto the TUF champ. Danzig begins to work back to his feet though, and then ends up giving his back as he gets to his feet. Bocek gets him back down in guard, and passes to half-guard. Danzig reclaims guard and gets his legs high, looking to lock up an arm, but Bocek postures out and drops a flurry down. Danzig uses the opportunity to scoot back and tries to get to his feet, but ends up bodylocked by the fence. Bocek tries the takedown but Danzig gets a nice reversal and ends up on top, where he lands some heavy shots in Bocek’s half-guard. Bocek gets back to guard, but Danzig stays busy from the top as the round comes to an end. I’d probably go with Bocek there in a close round.

They exchange jabs to begin things in the second, before Danzig DROPS HIM WITH A BIG KNEE! Danzig closes in looking for the finish, and ends up standing over him in guard, dropping stiff punches. Bocek looks recovered, but Danzig gets to side mount and pins the arm to land some shots. Bocek reverses and goes for a single leg, but eats some elbows to the side of his head. Bocek keeps trying the takedown, and so Danzig busts out the Urijah Faber jumping knee from the single leg attempt. Danzig manages to stuff the takedown and works his way on top, taking full mount, and he lands some punches before Bocek manages to get him off. Danzig gets back in though and passes to mount, and then Bocek gives his back. Danzig flattens him out and lands some punches, but loses a hook and Bocek rolls to half-guard. Full mount again from Danzig though and then he takes the back. More punches land as Bocek looks in trouble now. Danzig brings it back to standing, but Bocek actually comes out swinging with punches and then looks for the takedown. He gets Danzig into a kneeling position, but Danzig lands punches to the head and then spins off, taking the top position again. Mac works over/under control and pounds away, and then stands over Bocek, who tries a leglock as the round ends. Total domination for Danzig in that round.

Third and final round, and Danzig catches him with a counter right as they exchange punches. Bocek looks for a double leg, and manages to get Danzig down, but Danzig actually goes for a gogoplata from the bottom. Bocek avoids but still can’t pass the guard, and so he drags Danzig away from the fence. That proves to be a mistake as Danzig kicks him off and stands, and they exchange in the clinch where Danzig rocks him with a big knee. The knee opens a bad cut and Danzig smells the blood, following with a right hook and a head kick. Big left hook causes Bocek to turn his back as the blood is flowing badly now, Bocek sporting the crimson mask. Ref calls time to have the cut checked, but the doctor decides to let it go and they restart. Bocek presses forward, but he’s taking clean punches from Danzig now. They brawl into a clinch and Danzig trips him down and takes full mount, and this time when Bocek gives his back Danzig flattens him out and locks up a rear naked choke for the tapout.

Finish looked to me like Bocek was just exhausted and too hurt to really defend the choke and so Danzig was able to finish him off. Sticky first round for Mac but once he settled into a groove and hurt Bocek it was all his fight. Pretty decent fight actually, albeit nothing special.

Middleweight Fight: Michael Bisping vs Charles McCarthy

This was UK star Bisping’s first fight at 185lbs after a pair of close decisions (one win and one loss) against Matt Hamill and Rashad Evans made him reconsider staying at 205lbs. His first opponent was ‘Chainsaw’ Charles McCarthy, a man who hadn’t seen UFC action in well over a year, his last fight being a win over Gideon Ray in November 2006. Trash talk before the fight was at an all time high, with McCarthy claiming Bisping had been babied by Zuffa, while Bisping labelled Chainsaw a “fat jiu-jitsu player”. See, that sort of trash talk I hate – you should never say your opponent outright sucks, because if you win, well, you beat a guy who wasn’t great to begin with, and if you lose, you just got beaten by a guy who sucks!

Fun fact – this was originally slated as the main event of a UFC show in London in March that was aborted. Not sure about the reason for the scrapping of that show, but I guess the main event being MICHAEL BISPING VS CHARLES MCCARTHY might’ve had something to do with it.

They begin, and Bisping throws straight punches right down the pipe to counter McCarthy’s wildly looping hooks. Flurry of knees and punches lands for Bisping as McCarthy covers up with both arms, but as Bisping backs off McCarthy sticks out his tongue to taunt the Brit. Bisping continues to land and then clips him with a flying knee, to which McCarthy taunts him again. More strikes land for Bisping as McCarthy seems to have no answer, reduced to covering up out of desperation. More knees from close range, but Bisping gets too open and McCarthy gets a slam down to guard. He passes to half-guard and looks to pass that, not throwing many strikes, but as Bisping tries to get to his feet McCarthy takes the back. McCarthy locks up an armbar and Bisping appears to be in trouble, but the Brit stays calm and manages to work his way free. They come back to their feet and Bisping picks up where he left off, teeing off with combinations including a left high kick. Series of uppercuts have McCarthy covering up along the fence, and then Bisping just goes POSTAL with knee strikes, throwing them like he’s riding a bike ala Evan Tanner! McCarthy continues to cover up, but some knees get through and finally Chainsaw collapses. Bisping tries to finish on the ground, but the round ends before he can.

Referee throws the fight out between rounds, stopping it as McCarthy can’t continue, just laying in a heap on the ground holding his arm; looks like the knee strikes might’ve given him a broken forearm.

Pretty awesome performance from Bisping – easily his best in the UFC thus far in fact – as he showed much improved movement and footwork standing, looked faster and sharper than he’d ever looked at 205lbs, and displayed some good submission defense to escape the armbar, too. The barrage of knees that finished McCarthy was just vicious, too. Fun little fight overall.

Middleweight Fight: Nate Quarry vs Kalib Starnes

This was one of those fights that had me wondering why it was on the main card, but I guess Quarry was pretty popular due to his TUF stint and they decided to put him onto the PPV portion. I would’ve rather seen Maia-Herman I think but whatever. Starnes was returning after the classic “HE SAW MY SKULL!” loss to Alan Belcher, while Quarry had KOd Pete Sell in September.

They get underway and Quarry pushes forward with a body shot and a couple of leg kicks, as Kalib keeps his distance and circles off. Quarry catches him with a one-two that puts Kalib on his bike, but Nate manages to catch him and gets a clinch. Kalib muscles him into the cage, but they break off quickly. Quarry continues to push forward but Starnes remains on the retreat and keeps avoiding any form of exchange. They clinch up again and Kalib appears to be looking for a takedown, but they break quickly again. Good combo lands for Quarry and again Starnes runs off. Florian keeps saying how awesome Quarry looks, but really *I’d* look awesome if my opponent kept running away. Well, sort of. Quarry lands a couple of good leg kicks, but that was a dull round thanks to Kalib.

2nd round, and it’s more of the same, as Quarry presses forward with combos to no answer from Starnes, who just backs up and keeps running away. Really what’s the point in doing that? Crowd begin to get restless about halfway through the round. They’re a patient crowd, I’d have been pissed halfway through the first! FINALLY Kalib catches a leg kick and trips him down, but Quarry pops up immediately...and Kalib gets on his bike. Florian tells us Quarry is killing him with the leg kicks – well, they’re not stopping him from running off. Big “GSP!” chant erupts from the crowd. Ha! More of the same and now it’s a BORING chant. Ugh. Quarry looks FUMING between rounds and rightfully so.

Third and final round and what is the point in doing play-by-play of this nonsense? Quarry is trying but Starnes is just running away from him. This reminds me of the scene in Troy where Paris runs away from the fight with Menelaus. Except Starnes doesn’t have a badass older brother in his corner to impale Quarry when he closes into get him. Well, he has Denis Kang in his corner I think but he’s just no Eric Bana, you know? I mean seriously, I’m an untrained guy and I could put on a better fight. Why? Because I’d come forward and Nate Quarry would knock me dead. Sure, it’d suck for me but it’d be BETTER THAN THIS CRAP DAMNIT. By the end of the fight Quarry resorts to covering his head with one arm and sort of waving at him. And Kalib RUNS AWAY. Good lord.

Judges score it 30-26, 30-27 and 30-24 (!) for Quarry. Yeah, 30-24. And let us never speak of this rubbish again.

Middleweight Fight: Rich Franklin vs Travis Lutter

This was basically Zuffa’s attempt to re-establish Franklin as a contender after being crushed a second time by Anderson Silva, and so I guess they threw him Lutter as he’d lost to Silva too and they didn’t want Ace knocking off any future potential contenders. Lutter at least made weight for this one, heh, but made things personal in the pre-fight talk in saying that Franklin faked an injury to avoid fighting him in his hometown (the fight had originally been planned for UFC 82). Lutter comes off as completely delusional in the video package in fact, saying that he’s the only guy who *really* wants to fight Silva and he knows he can beat him in a rematch. Uh, dude, why not actually make weight the first time around then? To say I was pulling for Franklin here would be an understatement.
Round One begins and Lutter looks to close the distance right away, but Franklin lands a knee to avoid. Lutter comes in for the takedown again, and looks for a single leg, but Franklin defends it pretty well and they end up clinched by the fence. Lutter works to get a rear waistlock and pulls Franklin down, trying to take the back, but he can’t get the hooks in. He pulls Franklin down though, and then ends up in side mount, good work from Lutter. Lutter tries to work to full mount, but Franklin does a great job of using a butterfly hook to elevate Lutter and keep him in half-guard. Lutter works to pass though, and slips his leg free and takes full mount. Punches from Lutter and he looks for an armbar as Franklin rolls, and has it locked up, but somehow Franklin rolls and spins out! AMAZING escape from Ace. Franklin ends up standing over Lutter in the crab position, and the ref calls Lutter up. Lutter shoots again, but Franklin sprawls to avoid and lands some punches as Lutter tries desperately for the takedown. Franklin continues to defend the single leg, and lands a knee to end the round.

Lutter looks pretty tired coming into the second round, which is worrying for him. They get started and Franklin lands some punches as Lutter leans forward for a clinch, and ends up dropping to his back in an attempt to bring it to the ground. Franklin’s having none of that and backs away. Ref calls Lutter up and he shoots again, but again Franklin stuffs it and lands a knee this time as Lutter pushes forward. Left high kick wobbles Lutter and he tumbles to the ground. Franklin mounts him and begins to pound away, but Lutter tries a leglock so Franklin works to pull himself free. Lutter gets to his feet SLOOOWLY. He leans forward for another takedown but Franklin makes him pay with some knees and uppercuts. Lutter looks completely spent now. Series of punches land cleanly on the exhausted Lutter, and he takes more punishment as he leans forward into a clinch. Lutter drops desperately for an ankle pick, but Franklin blocks and punches away at the head, and as he backs off Lutter can barely stand. Combos begin to land cleanly and flush for Franklin with pretty much no defense, as Lutter can’t get his hands above his stomach, and finally Lutter collapses and the ref stops it there.

First round was competitive and you’d probably give it to Lutter even, but by the second round the guy was completely gassed and the fight became target practice for Franklin. Good win for him, but Lutter just came off as unprofessional again to me – I mean it’s a HUGE fight and if he wins he’s likely on the road to another title shot, and he comes in in that sort of condition? Fight was okay, but really it’s always shitty to watch a guy completely gas like that.

UFC World Welterweight Title: Georges St-Pierre vs Matt Serra

What can you really say about this one? The whole thing was pro-wrestling booking 101 really, just in real life – Serra had beaten St-Pierre for the Welterweight Title about a year earlier, in one of the biggest upsets in UFC history, and since that point he’d pretty much done nothing but brag about it, turning things really personal when St-Pierre suggested that he wasn’t fully healthy for the fight by telling GSP to “shut up, drink some red wine and watch a hockey game” or something like that. And so after GSP had beaten Josh Koscheck and Matt Hughes – the latter to win the Interim Title after Serra had been injured and unable to fight Hughes - the rematch was set up in St-Pierre’s hometown, with Serra coming in playing the role of the heel to a tee. Probably couldn’t have gotten any better for the UFC to be honest as Serra is a hell of a promo and knows how to sell a fight effectively, while GSP’s whole gentleman schtick makes him very easy to root for.

On paper the fight was the same as the original fight – GSP pretty much held the advantage in every area except perhaps pure submission grappling, but then again it hadn’t done him much good the first time and there was certainly the possibility that Serra might still be in his head. Personally though I was picking GSP to finally vanquish his demons and take his title back from Serra.

HUGE POP for GSP upon his entrance. One of the biggest I can ever recall hearing in UFC in fact, even with the canned music on the DVD taking some of it away. And Serra gets booed out of the building. Seriously – his reaction makes Anderson Silva’s in Cincinnati seem favourable.

We begin and right away GSP drops levels and takes Serra down to a huge pop. He goes immediately into half-guard as Serra tries to stop him from posturing up, locking down on GSP’s leg. Serra does a good job of getting a butterfly in to reclaim full guard, but GSP gets free of it back to half-guard and works some short, conservative ground-and-pound. Serra gets back to full guard and gets his legs high, but GSP postures up and drops some BIG SHOTS to the head. Short elbow from GSP and he passes to half-guard. Again Serra scrambles back to full guard, but again he eats an elbow for his troubles. Big “GSP!” chant as he works to pass the guard, and this time he works to side mount. Serra gives his back and GSP takes an over/under and lands some shots, keeping Serra firmly grounded. Serra rolls back to half-guard and tries to get up, but GSP’s having none of that and he forces Serra back down, showing some tremendous strength. Serra manages to stand, but eats a knee to the body and then GPS separates off. Serra looks to strike, but appears slower now and GSP lands a SICK superman punch into a leg kick! This guy is unbelievable sometimes. Well, nearly all of the time to be fair. Another takedown from GSP follows and he passes to side mount and lands a flurry on the buzzer. Crowd are going INSANE at this point. 10-9 for GSP.

2nd round and GSP catches a kick and forces Serra down again. Serra underhooks and gets half-guard, but GSP won’t let him up and works to pass again. Serra uses the fence to work to his knees, but takes some punches and a knee, and then GSP goes for a single leg. This time Serra slips free though, and almost clips him with a head kick! Spinning back kick form GSP misses. They come in close and Serra throws some wild hooks, but they don’t land and GSP begins to pepper Serra with left jabs, snapping the head back as Serra seems to be tired, struggling to keep his hands up. Takedown from St-Pierre and he lands in half-guard, before Serra turtles up. GSP keeps punching away and lands a knee to the body before Serra rolls to guard. GSP continues to grind away from the top with punches and short elbows, and then Serra turns again and eats some more heavy knees to the body. Some really brutal knees land now as Serra is looking tired. Back to half-guard, but Serra can’t do a thing from his back and GSP gets side control. Serra turtles up again, and GSP lands another knee to the body and punches the head. More knees to the body follow before Serra rolls to guard and takes more punishment. Serra turtles again and takes more knees to the body and this time the REF’S SEEN ENOUGH!~! GSP IS THE UNDISPUTED CHAMPION!~! And naturally the roof blows off the Bell Centre. Metaphorically speaking of course. And all is right with the world again.

Post-fight Serra parades GSP around the Octagon and both men pretty much say the trash talk was purely to build the fight up and they respect each other really. St-Pierre explains that his gameplan was to tire Serra out by bringing the fight up and down, up and down, and it worked to perfection, as Serra was never allowed to get comfortable and as he slowed down the beating got worse for him. GSP in a way reminds me of a modern day Frank Shamrock, as he comes out with these unbelievable gameplans for each opponent and he’s good enough in every area and athletically gifted enough to pull pretty much anything out of the hat. Just an incredible fighter and I’m honoured to be able to say I’ve been a fan of his since the very beginning of his UFC career.

-And the credits roll there with the highlight reel.

Final Thoughts....

I would say for Zuffa, the goals of UFC 83 were as follows – to establish the brand in Canada, to give Mac Danzig a win coming off his TUF triumph, to establish Michael Bisping as a future contender at 185lbs, to re-establish Rich Franklin as a contender, and for Georges St-Pierre to avenge his loss to Matt Serra and reclaim the undisputed Welterweight Title. All five goals were achieved and the buyrate for the show did better than was expected, so from that point of view UFC 83 was a success, but as a show itself it’s more of a solid-but-unspectacular one. There are certainly some good fights here – Maia-Herman, Hironaka-Goulet, Doerksen-MacDonald – and as a GSP fanboy the main event is awesome, but there are no classics or even low-end FOTYCs, and Quarry-Starnes leaves a tremendously bad taste in your mouth. Overall I’d say it’s worth a mild recommendation, higher if you’re a big GSP fan, but just make sure you skip over the Quarry fight.

Best Fight: Doerksen-MacDonald
Worst Fight: Starnes-Quarry

Overall Rating: ***1/4

Coming Soon....

UFC: 84-95, Fight Nights 14-17, and TUF VII and VIII Finales.
Pride: Shockwave 2005, Shockwave 2006.
WEC: 32-39
King of the Cage: 23, 29, 30, 32, 33, 36, 42, 48, 52, and 58.

Until next time,

Scott Newman:

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