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Post-UFC 124 Thoughts and Analysis for ‘St-Pierre vs. Koscheck 2′

Georges St-Pierre def. Josh Koscheck

When I wrote my preview last week I stated that the key for Georges St-Pierre to beat Josh Koscheck was:

“Working off the jab will be critical here, if St. Pierre sets everything he does off the jab, it will be a long night for Kos as GSP will play keep away with the belt.”

When I said that, I meant it, but I never expected GSP to be THAT effective with his jab. According to Fightmetric, the welterweight champ landed 50 jabs in the UFC 124 headlining rematch. Watching the fight, it was around the fourth jab that appeared to break Kos’s orbital bone. To land FORTY-SIX more jabs on top of that is just brutal. Kos’s wrestling was up to par this time, but it is nearly impossible to fight effectively once that bone breaks, even before the swelling closes up your eye, it all goes blurry, and you cannot see much of anything.  So essentially, the fight was over from the moment that bone broke.

Georges said, after the fight, he was disappointed that he was unable to finish Koschek and that he worked hard to finish him by throwing the head kicks, but the finish just did not happen.

Next for GSP: Jake Shields, not Anderson Silva; the one many seem to want. I think it is time for people to realize this fight will probably not happen. I say this because the post-fight press conference was pretty telling. While you expect both GSP and Dana to be non-committal about future fights in a post-fight conference, they were especially trying to avoid Anderson questions. GSP was committed about one thing though: he is not going to fight at a higher weight just for one fight. He wants to be above 200 before moving to middleweight and that makes sense, since Anderson routinely cuts from 225.  Another telling thing about GSP staying down was that he stated that he would fight Kos again because he felt Kos earned a chance in there. Saying that, GSP is essentially saying that he does not intend to move up. So, keep dreaming for that fight, because with Anderson’s age, if it does not happen in the next year year, it probably won’t.

Next for Kos: Surgery, and possibly Thiago Alves.

Stefan Struve def. Sean McCorkle:

Struve-McCorkle is a mistake that I beg Joe Silva not to make again. McCorkle pretty much got this billing based upon his constant chatter on the message boards. Truth is, he did not earn it, nor was he ready for it. The basic idea was a good one for any opponent not named Struve or towering at 6’11”.  His Kimura attempt was the right idea, but allowed Struve to regain the position he wanted. Struve then used a beautiful Kimura sweep into mount and that was it. The moral of the story: do not continue to pursue on the ground when your opponent is 6’11” and has finished two-thirds of his fights by submission. McCorkle needed to back out and restart on their feet and then use clinch striking to control the bout. By getting into a submission grappling war with Struve, you play to the Dutchman’s strengths.

Next for Struve: Struve is a heavyweight who is on the rise and I am not quite sure whom he could face next,  perhaps ‘Meathead ‘ Matt Mitrione.

Next for McCorkle: Possibly the winner of Pat Barry vs. Joey Beltran from January’s UFC Fight for the Troops 2.

Jim Miller def. Charles Oliviera

Jim Miller is finally getting some respect, and it is about damn time. I have long been a fan of the guy and he made me look smarter the other night. That said, the fight should not have ended that way. Oliviera was brought down a few levels there; he obviously had heard his own hype, and unfortunately, got a little overconfident. All fighters have to walk a fine line with being confident and over-confident, and it is not an easy thing to do. The reason I say this is that Oliviera essentially gave Miller his leg and did not believe he was in any danger. Giving a BJJ black belt your leg is the same as playing Russian roulette with a semi automatic: it will not end well.

Next for Miller: A match with one of the two guys who defeated him: lightweight champ Frankie Edgar and upcoming challenger Gray Maynard. Miller has earned it AND is willing to fight a friend because “it was a fun fight the first time.” Not giving him a shot at either fighter is an insult to him and after watching the post-fight press conference it doesn’t seem like it will happen if Dana White has anything to say about it.

Next for Oliviera: In the end, this fight could be the best thing to happen to Oliviera. He has holes in his game that I have seen both on his feet and on the ground, but he’s an unreal talent even if he’s not quite there yet. He may just wind up facing another TUF champion in Joe Stevenson next.

Mac Danzig def. Joe Stevenson

Speaking of Stevenson, I knew Mac Danzig had good boxing but that check hook was beautiful. It reminded me of Rampage-Wandi III, and Liddell-Rampage II. That punch was just a thing of beauty for a guy who needed a win almost as bad as he needs oxygen.

Next for Stevenson: Stevenson finds himself at a true crossroads; does he become a permanent gatekeeper? Does he join Keith Jardine in the outer realm of the MMA world? Personally, I think he has one fight left in the UFC, which means he will likely be fed to an up and comer soon.

Next for Danzig: Danzig said he feels better about his performance but not relieved and that is how he should feel here. I think that long-awaited rematch with Wiman is next.

Thiago Alves def. Jon Howard

The description of Howard limping to the back after the fight said it all. Alves picked Howard apart from start to finish and even threw in a few takedowns to mix it up. Alves said he wanted to get the takedowns to prove he is not just a one-dimensional fighter and merely does not wrestle often because he does not want to. The real star of this fight was “The Dolce Diet.” Alves looked incredible both in appearance and in conditioning.

Next for Alves: In my opinion, a rematch with Josh Koschek.

Next for Howard: A matchup with several ice baths and a possible release.

Other 124 musings:

  • Dana said this was the first and only time the fans would be allowed to choose the “Fight of the Night” for getting it horribly, in my opinion and his, wrong.  Riddle-Pierson was Dana’s choice for “Fight of the Night” and even told GSP he owed his friend Pierson some cash for the fan’s mistake, before adding he would ‘take care of them’ anyways.
  • Saturday we saw one of the rarest things in MMA, a majority draw without penalty points being involved. Scores were initially reported as being 30-30 across the board, but were eventually revealed as actually being (29-29, 29-29, 29-28 Natal).
  • GSP interestingly named Firas Zahabi and Howard Grant as the guys most responsible for his win Saturday, saying that Freddie Roach helped but wasn’t the main force.
  • Mark Bocek called out George Sotiropolus, saying that he has the best BJJ in the division after one of the best triangle finishes this side of Maia-Sonnen.
  • Dustin Hazelett’s face said it all Saturday night, his return to lightweight was a failure and it may be sayonara for the fan favorite after three straight losses in the UFC.
  • In my opinion, I really enjoyed the feed of the Doerksen-Miller fight and Bocek-Hazelett. If there was one thing I would change, it would be showing another prelim to fill time as they do with Spike TV.
  • While we are on the subject, with a solid online broadcast of the preliminary fights, the UFC really needs to consider placing their tape-delayed cards on a live online broadcast.

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