Rush and Iceman Prevail To End 2007 With a Bang

GSP Matt Hughes

On a night where there were basically two main events, UFC 79: Nemesis did not disappoint.

Canada’s own George ‘Rush’ St. Pierre dominated highly touted Matt Hughes to move a step closer in retaining his welterweight championship title. On the other hand, Chuck ‘The Iceman’ Liddell went toe-to-toe for three rounds with Wanderlei ‘The Axe Murderer’ Silva before claiming victory by a unanimous decision. 

GSP came out motivated and focused to beat one of the greatest welterweights of the sport, Hughes. From the get-go, the Montreal native attacked Hughes as he took the 34-year-old down two minutes in. The first round saw GSP on top, not allowing much offense from the two-time 170-pound division champion. Then in the second, GSP, who was sporting a fleur-de-lis on his blue trunks, took Hughes down with a slick judo throw and applied the armbar. Thus, causing Hughes (43-6) to verbally submit.

“I think Georges St. Pierre has the potential to be the greatest 170-pounder ever,” said trainer Greg Jackson. “He’s just phenomenal. The scary thing is he keeps getting better.” 

GSP will now face Matt Serra to determine the title holder for real in Montreal on April 19 at the Bell Centre. Serra, who was slated to fight Hughes in defense of his gold, injured his back during practice. Therefore, St. Pierre and Hughes fought for contendership. The last time Serra and St. Pierre met, “The Terror” upsetted the 26-year-old to capture his first welterweight championship.

St. Pierre (15-2) made Canada proud, as chants of GSP could be heard throughout Mandalay Bay Events Centre, and even at the Shark Club in downtown Vancouver. Not bad for the most recognized UFC fighter north of the border, and I’m sure he’ll be pumped to be able to fight for the gold in his hometown.

Liddell Silva

The other high profile battle on the fight card ended as a bloodbath. Yes, Silva was sent to the hospital after the match for a CAT scan.

It was no surprise as the match saw both crazed-maniacs throw punch after punch at each other, yet failing to knockout the opponent. The match lasted for three rounds, with the result decided by the judges. The UFC president had three words to describe the brawl.

“A great fight,” said Dana White, who spent six years trying to make the matchup of these two former UFC and Pride champions. 

The Liddell-Silva fight basically stole the show. Even light-heavyweight champion Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson and middleweight title holder Anderson ‘The Spider’ Silva were on their feets cheering the duo on. Both of these men came in having lost their last two matches, but the in-media trash talking drew up the hype for this light-heavyweight fight.

Both men had chances to finish their opponents off, as Liddell (21-5) fell twice, once due to slipping and the other punch related. Silva failed to capitalize on those opportunities, as the Brazilian usually would have taken advantage in those situation. On the other hand, a bloodied Silva was cornered against the cage a few times, yet the fast-fist-flying 38-year-old failed to end the fight and put ‘The Axe Murderer’ out.

When asked why later, Liddell said, “Because he’s a tough man.” 

That was indeed a true statement as Silva absorbed punch after punch, and threw some counter jabs of his own. It was indeed a match to remember, as the excitement and entertainment level was intense.

The other winners of the night included the undefeated Brazilian Lyoto Machida (12-0), who submitted the highly praised light-heavyweight Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou (4-2) in the second round with an arm triangle hold. The worst part for the Cameroon fighter was that it was his UFC debut.

It was a night that started with bitterness, as Rich Clementi forced hated rival Melvin Guillard to tap out from a rear naked choke in the first round. ‘The Young Assassin’ tried to charge ‘No Love’, who taunted him after the match, but had to be refrained by security. 

In the end, fans went home satisfied as the UFC ended the year with entertainment and bloodshed not matched by any other sport. It was definitely not for the faint of heart.

UFC 79 Will End Year With a Bang

UFC 79

It wasn’t the original plan for the main event, but it worked out even better in the end.

The first choice for the feature at UFC 79 hit a snag when Matt “The Terror” Serra was injured during training, but that only set fans up for a much more exciting battle. 

Serra was supposed to defend his Welterweight title to bitter rival Matt Hughes but after suffering a herniated disc in his back, he had no choice but to drop out. This made way for round three between George “Rush” St-Pierre and Hughes. 

The Canadian ground-and-pounder will be given the opportunity to fight a familiar foe for the interim Welterweight title in Hughes, as these two have met before. Their first match resulted in a Hughes submission victory on Oct. 22, 2004. However, St-Pierre got his revenge two years later at UFC 65 when he claimed the Welterweight belt from Hughes. Now on December 29 in Nevada, the 13-2-0 Montreal native will have the chance to repeat his performance against the 43-5-0 veteran from Illinois.

If that wasn’t enough for you, check out the other matches on the fight card.

A much anticipated showdown will also take place that night, and it’s been a match in the making for quite some time.

Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell will finally be able to walk the talk against Wanderlei “The Axe Murderer” Silva. The two have been trash talking each other for quite some time now, as Liddell recently claimed he will knock out Silva in the first round. The PRIDE superstar Silva will bring his aggressive style against Liddell, as the Brazilian native is one of the highly feared fighters in the octagon.

“He’s a great fighter,” said Silva of Liddell. “There are many good fighters, but for my first fight, I want to go with the best man. Even though he’s not champion anymore, he’s still the best man. There’s only one ending to this fight and it won’t go to a decision. One guy will go down – me or him. I don’t want judges.” 

If I had a guess, I would say knockout will be the decision in this match. Silva is known for his knees, while ‘The Iceman’ has deadly strikes. These two have yet to face each other, as a few opportunities for them to fight fell through. The most recent was in September after Zuffa purchased PRIDE. But the official announcement for this match to happen was finally announced by Dana White, and it will definitely end 2007 in a dramatic fashion. 

Chuck Liddell

It’s about time this Superfight took place. 

Another great match for this evening will see the UFC debut of Rameau “The African Assassin” Sokoudjou. The talent-rich light heavyweight pool will have another huge addition, as the explosive judoka take on the undefeated sharpshooter Lyoto Machida. Both of these men have beaten strong opponents, as striking are their strong suits.

I’m also a fan of Rich “No Love” Clementi, who will be taking on Melvin “The Young Assassin” Guillard. There are some very good undercards for UFC 79 Nemesis.

As for the event name Nemesis, it is the proper word in this case as familiar rivals will once again battle for gold around their waist, while long time adversaries will finally step into the ring to put their talking into action.