BJ Penn entered his main event battle against welterweight kingpin Georges St. Pierre looking to become the first man in UFC history to simultaneously hold titles in two weight classes. GSP never gave him the chance to make history, as he stopped Penn after four increasingly dominant rounds to retain his belt with a TKO victory and make a compelling case for being the pound for pound best fighter in mixed martial arts.
Both fighters had considerable fan support, with vocal, flag waving delegations from the Hawaiian Islands and Canada in evidence. During ring introductions, both men received enthusiastic cheers tempered with a few boos. After the opening horn sounded, however, the Penn backers had little to cheer about while the champions supports broke out in G-S-P chants on several occasions. The first round was fairly evenly contested, with St. Pierre trying to get a first hand feel for Penns often unorthodox”but highly successful”takedown defense. GSP made several takedown attempts, but had them repeatedly stuffed by Penns incredible balance and flexibility.
Boxing guru Freddy Roach recently praised Penn as the best technical puncher in MMA, but he had no opportunity to bring this weapon to bear as he had trouble finding the range from the outset. St. Pierre was unable to complete any takedowns during the first round, but easily dictated the pace and style of the bout.
GSP began to assert his dominance in round two”with Penn starting to fatigue he was no longer able to fend off St. Pierres single leg takedown attempts by balancing on one leg. GSP got a takedown early in the frame and began to mount a ground and pound assault while moving around in Penns legendary guard almost at will moving from half guard to side control with frightening ease.
The eventual outcome was foretold between rounds two and three, as the obviously exhausted Penn required a pep talk from his entourage to continue. Across the cage, GSP calmly sipped water and listened intently to trainer Greg Jacksons instructions looking for all the world that he could go 12 rounds if necessary.
Round three was similar to the previous one, with GSP taking his opponent to the mat with a decreasing level of resistance and mauling him with punches and elbows once he got there. His complete control over the BJJ black belt Penn was incredible, but hardly surprising given the way that GSP dominated four time NCAA All American wrestler Josh Koscheck on the ground during their matchup.
The fourth round was a wall to wall rout for the Canadian welterweight champion, who started by effectively trading strikes with Penn before taking him down once again and resuming his highly successful ground based attack. Penn survived the round on instinct alone, moving around just enough to keep the referee from stopping the proceedings. After the horn sounded to end the fourth round, however, it was evident that Penn had nothing physically or emotionally left. As he leaned headfirst against the cage in exhaustion, an impromptu conference amongst his handlers on whether or not to continue became moot when the fight was stopped by Dean on advice from the ringside physician. There was no argument whatsoever from Penn or his entourage.
Displaying his characteristic class, GSP delayed his celebration until he had crossed the cage and kneeled by his vanquished foe to honor his competitive spirit. After a quick celebration among GSP and his team, he faced his next challenger in the person of Thiago Alves.
In the co-feature attraction, Lyoto Machida kept his undefeated professional MMA record intact with a first round TKO victory over Thiago Silva. Silva had no answer for Machidas well rounded skills and unorthodox Shotokan karate based style. Machida took his opponent down and knocked his opponent down twice”all counters as Silva was coming forward and Machida backing away. As the first round entered its final seconds, it appeared that Silva started to ease up in anticipation of the horn. Machida used this opportunity for another takedown, and then nailed his surprised opponent with a powerful punch that ended the fight.
Ross Everett is a freelance sports writer and respected authority on baseball betting. His writing has appeared on a variety of sports sites including sports news and sportsbook directory sites. He lives in Las Vegas, Nevada with three Jack Russell Terriers and an emu. He is currently working on an autobiography of former interior secretary James Watt.