UFC 129 Recap: Randy Retires, Machida is Reborn, GSP Wins But Disappoints
TORONTO – Georges St-Pierre got a taste of bad luck when his left eye was badly injured during his welterweight title defense against American Jake Shields last night at UFC 129.
“When you have one eye, your depth perception is off,” Greg Jackson, GSP’s trainer, told Sherdog.com in a post-fight video. “He is a timing-based fighter. Depth perception plays a part in it,” continued Jackson.
St-Pierre wanted no part of Jake Shields’ jiu-jitsu game, and only completed two takedowns during the entire contest; he utilized a similar approach to how he out-pointed previous opponent Josh Koscheck on the feet at UFC 124 last December.
The end result was a close judges’ decision that both disappointed the audience, and gave more evidence to the critics who say that GSP fights to not lose rather than fighting to win. On the other hand, if his eye injury is severe—like a detached retina—his career could be in serious danger far greater than looking unimpressive in the fight.
Scores announced in favor of GSP were: 50-45, 48-47 and 48-47.
Making a title defense of his own was Brazilian featherweight Jose Aldo. Jose was bemused in the lead-up to the fight that Canadian Mark Hominick believed he could overcome underdog status to take the 145 lb title. In fact, Aldo was reduced to utilizing a lay-and-pray strategy popular with wrestlers to secure the victory, rather than allowing Hominick to get set in a rhythm on the feet.
Hominick was stunned in round 3, and dropped in round 4—both moments where Aldo could have potentially ended the fight, had his opponent’s will to continue not been so strong. A monstrous hemotoma reminiscent of the bump Hasim Rahman got against Evander Holyfied in 2002 developed on the challenger’s head in round 4; possibly due to vicious elbow strikes. Hominick had high praise for the referee for allowing the fight to continue, and spent the majority of the 5th round raining down ground-and-pound from Aldo’s guard to take the final frame in dominant fashion. Hominick’s resolve wasn’t enough to overcome the gaps in his takedown defense and inability to scramble up from the ground.
Scores announced for Jose Aldo, the winner, were 48-45, 48-46 and 49-46.
Randy Couture received a louder standing ovation than any other performer at UFC 129 during his ring walk-in to Tom Cochrane’s ‘Lunatic Fringe.’ After an uneventful first round where Machida was his usual tentative self, in the second round Lyoto stunned the crowed with an incredible jumping front-kick knockout of Couture at the 1:05 mark.
Machida was quick to embrace his opponent after the fight, calling Randy a “Hero” to the awed crowed. Lyoto also gave credit to washed-up action star Steven Seagal, whom he was spotted accompanying after the fight back at his hotel.
Overall—a smooth, well-run event with Zuffa as the biggest winner thanks to a record 12.1 million dollar gate and record attendance of 55,724 people.
Full results were as follows:
Pablo Garza defeated Yves Jabouin via Triangle Choke in round one at 4:31
John Makdessi defeated Kyle Watson via KO in round three at 1:27
Jason MacDonald beat Ryan Jensen via Triangle Choke in round one at 1:37
Ivan Menjivar beat Charlie Valencia via TKO in round one at 1:30
Claude Patrick won a unanimous decision Daniel Roberts over three rounds
Jake Ellenberger knocked Sean Pierson out at 2:42 of the first round
Rory MacDonald won a UD over Nate Diaz over three rounds
Benson Henderson won a UD over Mark Bocek over three rounds
Vladimir Matyushenko knocked out Jason Brilz in 20 seconds of the first round
Lyoto Machida knocked out Randy Couture at 1:05 of the second round
Jose Aldo won a UD over Mark Hominick over five rounds
Georges St. Pierre won via UD over Jake Shields over five rounds
Brian J. D’Souza is a Canadian writer who has covered Mixed Martial Arts for ESPN.com, FoxSports.com and FIGHT! magazine.