THE TWO SHEDS REVIEW by Julian Radbourne
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It was the final MMA pay-per-view of the year, and the re-match of The Ultimate Fighter coaches in the main event of UFC 124: St-Pierre vs. Koscheck 2, shown live on ESPN in the early hours of this past Sunday morning here in Britain.
The broadcast began in the welterweight division as Thiago Alves went up against John Howard.
Alves looked in top form here, particularly in the striking department as he slammed his right leg over and over again into Howard’s left pin.
It clearly had an effect on Howard, who looked more than a step behind the Brazilian. But it wasn’t just the kicks Alves excelled at. His punches caught Howard a number of ties, and his ground work was also top notch.
No surprises with the decision, with all three scoring in favour of Alves’ terrific performance.
Then it was down to the lightweight division as Joe Stevenson took on Mac Danzig.
The great striking continued into this fight. As both fighters tested the waters, trying to gauge the distance, Danzig connected with a big left as Stevenson came forward. Stevenson was out before he hit the ground, and Danzig had the impressive KO win.
The lightweight action continued as Jim Miller faced Charles Oliveira.
Another quick fight saw Miller get the early take down, but while Oliveira attacked from his back Miller worked into a position where he could apply a knee bar. Oliveira tried to punch his way free but quickly tapped out.
The first filler material saw welterweight action as Matt Riddle took on Sean Pierson, and once again ESPN came back late from a commercial break, which meant that we missed the first twenty seconds or so.
But apart from the channel’s shortcomings this proved to be a entertaining three round affair. While Pierson clearly controlled the first round, dropping Riddle with a right after a half-hearted high knee attempt Riddle began to work his way back into the fight, with both men putting on a good showing in the third round with their exchanges.
The judges were called into action here, with all three scoring in favour of Pierson, although I couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed for Riddle.
Normal service resumed in the heavyweight division as Stefan Struve took on Sean McCorkle.
This battle of the big boys began with McCorkle getting the big take down, looking for an early win with a kimura, and although he failed with that attempt he continued to control the fight, until the Dutchman suddenly sprang to life and reversed the positions, securing the TKO win with some well placed ground and pound.
The second filler material saw Mark Bocek taking on Dustin Hazelett in the lightweight division.
Bocek got the take down within seconds of the start, and although Hazelett tried his best to defend it wasn’t long before Bocek locked in a triangle choke for the submission win.
The main event saw Josh Koscheck challenging Georges St-Pierre for the Welterweight title.
Once again GSP showed why he is way above the rest of the division, and that the recent training sessions with Freddie Roach have really paid off.
From the opening round GSP used that rarely seen weapon in MMA, the jab, peppering Koscheck’s right eye to the point where it was almost closed at the end of the first round.
It was a sound tactic that GSP used throughout the fight. There were brief forays to the ground and occasional clinches against the cage, but the left jab to Koscheck’s right eye kept coming and coming, to the point where Koscheck couldn’t see anything out of that eye, and some suspected that he’d suffered a broken orbital bone.
With the fight going the distance the judges were called into action, with all three giving everything to the champion, and rightfully so. Koscheck was simply outclassed throughout.
In conclusion – UFC 124 certainly lived up to the hype.
An outstanding undercard was topped off nicely by another dominating performance by Georges St-Pierre. You just can’t fault his performance, although you have to wonder what’s left for him in the welterweight division.
So in all Dana White and his crew have certainly ended the year on a massive high with a tremendous show.