French Toasted: St. Pierre Ends Hughes UFC Reign
SACRAMENTO, Calif., Nov. 18 — The Ultimate Fighting Championship’s
first foray to Northern California marked a changing of the guard
in the welterweight division Saturday.
Before a crowd of 15,350 inside the ARCO Arena, French-Canadian
challenger Georges St.
Pierre (Pictures) exacted a measure revenge on one
of the sport’s true greats, pummeling Matt Hughes (Pictures) right off his throne.
St. Pierre, whose only loss came at the hands of Hughes in October
2004, ran his record to 13-1 in impressive fashion. “Rush” attacked
the legs of the champion early with thumping kicks between some
punches to the head.
However, a kick to the inside of the champion’s lead leg saw Hughes
react as if it connected to his groin. After a short break during
which the 33-year-old Hillsboro, Ill. native caught his breath, St.
Pierre immediately deposited another left foot near Hughes’ cup.
This time referee “Big” John McCarthy warned the Quebecer for low
blows while Hughes struggled to right himself.
Finding it difficult to target his kicks, St. Pierre, 25, began to
mix in more hands, landing with a nice right before putting Hughes
on his back. The champion would not stay there long as he worked
back to his feet, eating a knee for his troubles.
As the closing seconds ticked down in the first round, the popular
Montreal-based St. Pierre peppered Hughes with a combination that
felled the champion and may have finished him had the bell not
The second frame got underway with St. Pierre reprising his attack
on Hughes’ legs. Reminiscent of an axe to a tree, “Rush” crippled
the champ with a vicious leg kick that undercut Hughes and briefly
put him on the canvas.
Hughes may have wanted to stay down there if he had it all to do
over again. In the very next exchange St. Pierre removed any doubts
as to who the best 170-pounder on the planet was when he scored
with a mind-numbing left high kick that folded Hughes to the
“I looked down,” exclaimed St. Pierre about how he set up the
fight-ending kick. “He expected me to kick down and, boom, I hit
him in the head. This was it. He was down.”
Sensing the title was within reach, St. Pierre pounced on the man
who had antagonized him throughout the lead-up to this bout. Firing
punches and elbows, “Rush” flurried until McCarthy pulled him away
at 1:25 of the second round.
The new UFC welterweight champion was ecstatic, declaring the
occasion to be “the best moment of my professional career.” Now
wearing the belt he coveted for so long, St. Pierre let the
American fans know the title wasn’t going very far.
“Maybe I'm not from the U.S., I'm not an American,” he said, “but I
will [do] everything possible to keep this title in North American
“I didn't think it would go down like that,” said Hughes, who fell
When asked about his future plans he stated, “I'll go back and
think about things. We'll see what is my next step.”
The UFC heavyweight champion just can not get any respect. Quite
often the criticism of Tim
Sylvia (Pictures), 30, is unwarranted, but after
his performance against Jeff
Monson (Pictures), “The Maine-iac” has no one but
himself to blame.
Apparently unwilling to move forward, Sylvia (23-2-0) was content
to counterpunch his overmatched foe on his way to a unanimous
Right from the opening bell Sylvia made it clear he was not going
to do anything that would leave him open to Monson’s takedown
shots. Taking up a defensive posture, Sylvia pawed with his jab but
would not commit to throwing his hands. The only flurries Sylvia
unleashed came off of Monson attacks.
Much of the first two rounds followed the same script: Monson took
a shot, Sylvia stuffed him and the two would exchange half-hearted
The champion easily won the first two rounds on the scorecards but
he failed to gain the appreciation of a crowd that heartily booed
The third round was Monson’s brief shining moment. During the
middle period of the five-round contest, the 35-year-old
world-class grappler scored his only takedown of the bout. Sylvia
quickly established a closed guard and ironically it was the
heavyweight champion who landed the better shots while Monson
worked from the top.
"I'm a lot taller than him,” Sylvia explained, “so I was out of his
reach and I was able to throw the big strikes while he was in my
The challenger did threaten the two-time champion with a guillotine
choke that left Sylvia scrambling.
"He had a front headlock on me,” remarked a relieved Sylvia after
the fight. “I was waiting for him to go for a guillotine, so I
rolled through, was able to get my hips up a little quicker than
After a brief check by the ringside physician to check a cut
underneath Monson’s left eye, Sylvia scored his best attack of the
night: a crushing knee to the body of the American Top Team product
that left him reeling on the mat as the horn ending the third round
The championship rounds were devoid of action as Sylvia took the
course of least resistance in his quest to hold on to his coveted
When it became more and more clear that Monson (22-6-0) could not
hurt him, Sylvia still refused to press the action. This elicited
even more ill will from the angry crowd. Not even a verbal tongue
lashing midway through the final round from referee McCarthy could
get the heavyweights to engage.
The judges’ scorecards showed a dominating victory for Sylvia, but
the crowd’s reaction told a different story. A frustrated Sylvia
was seen shooting the bird in the direction of the stands while
patrons showered him with jeers as the cards were being totaled.
After five rounds the scores were 50-45, 49-46 and 49-46 all in
favor of the champion.
Sylvia did find a silver lining despite his own reservations about
"I'm disappointed that I didn't finish him,” the champion declared.
“Jeff came in really good shape, but my cornermen just told me I
just out jiu-jitsu'd the best jiu-jitsu guy in the heavyweight
division. So you know that's something to be happy about."
Brandon Vera (Pictures) has been on a meteoric rise since
joining the UFC roster just 13 months ago. He moved up another rung
on the ladder that is the UFC’s heavyweight division with his
absolute dismantling of former champion Frank Mir (Pictures). In just over a minute, “The
Truth” was told and Mir lay in a bloody heap on the canvas.
The talented Vera — now 4-0 in the UFC and 8-0 for his career —
opened with a nice left hook that drew Mir’s attention. Mir
answered with a solid shot of his own that cut Vera across the
bridge of the nose. That seemed to anger “The Truth,” who responded
with a barrage of punches and a knee from the Thai clinch that sent
Mir careening to his back.
From there it was academic. Vera knifed a series of punches through
Mir’s porous defenses, forcing referee Steve Mazzagatti to
intervene at 1:09 of the first frame.
“It was everything I wanted, hoped for and could of got,” Vera told
Sherdog.com in regards to the match-up with Mir, a man he has
called a hero.
Last-minute replacement Drew McFedries entered the Octagon as a
heavy underdog to Italian striker Alessio Sakara (Pictures). Undaunted, McFedries — a lesser
known quantity than many of his Miletich teammates — proceeded to
slug out a decisive submission victory over Sakara late in the
Both men had their moments. Sakara did his damage early in the
stanza. McFedries, who vowed to stand and bang with the Italian,
was true to his word and nearly paid a steep price. A stiff Sakara
straight right snapped McFedries’ neck and dislodged his
mouthpiece. After weathering the storm, McFedries got his own
The Iowan zeroed in and landed a powerful uppercut that belatedly
sent Sakara to the mat. McFedries scored with four digging body
punches to the prone Italian light heavyweight before forcing the
tapout with a right to the head. The end came at 4:07 of the first
round giving McFedries a submission victory in his inaugural UFC
Joe Stevenson (Pictures) found himself on his back right
off the bat in his lightweight tilt with Japanese star Dokonjonosuke Mishima
(Pictures). The former Shooto standout
easily tossed Stevenson to the mat but soon found himself defending
a tight guillotine choke. After wiggling his way out of the
submission attempt, Mishima seemed primed to take the offensive
when he moved into side-control.
It was not to be. “Daddy” put the UFC rookie back in his guard and
quickly thereafter sunk a deep guillotine that forced Mishima to
tap at 2:07 of the opening round.
Stockton, Calif.’s Nick Diaz
(Pictures) sent the Northern
California fans home happy with an impressive win over Gleison Tibau. It was Tibau who
got the early edge, but after riding out the initial barrage Diaz
turned the tables and pounded out stoppage win when referee
Mazzagatti intervened at 2:27 of the second period.
Antoni Hardonk survived
an early takedown and ground-and-pound from Sherman Pendergarst en
route to a knockout win in a battle of UFC first-timers. Hardonk
finished with a straight left followed by a stinging low kick that
rendered Pendergarst prone on the canvas at 3:15 of the first
In come from behind fashion, James Irvin (Pictures) took out a very tough Hector Ramirez (Pictures) by technical knockout. Irvin took
his lumps in the first but rebounded with a beautifully-timed
counter right hand that floored Ramirez for good at 2:36 of the
Jake O’Brien won a slow-paced unanimous decision over Josh Shockman. The talented
wrestler relied on his pedigree to get him through a less that
entertaining match. The scores were 30-27 on all three cards.
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