(Koscheck showing the Canadian customs agent his passport.)
Well, tonight’s the night we get to see if Josh Koscheck is full of shit or if he really has improved exponentially more than UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre has since the last time they met three years ago.
I find it interesting that in the UFC 124 previews the UFC is touting Kos as some kind of pugilistic wrecking machine when he has only won one fight by KO and two by TKO since 2006 and the guys he beat (Yoshiyuki Yoshida, Frank Trigg and Dustin Hazelett) aren’t exactly known for their durable chins.
If I had to make a surefire prediction for the main event bout, I’d say that Koscheck’s ego has not gotten over the fact that GSP, who didn’t even wrestle in high school, outwrestled a division one champion like him, and he will likely try to prove himself on the mat and not on the feet.
It may have been a coincidence, but Kos’ American Kickboxing Academy teammate, Phil Baroni backed my inclination when he told us this week that the peroxided prick is a way better wrestler and that he will control the fight with his wrestling. I’m guessing that Baroni was around when the AKA coaches worked on implementing Kocheck’s game plan for the fight during training and may have included portions of it in his own prediction, kind of like his plethora of "borrowed" daily Twitter quotes he intertwines with his own personal NYBA witticisms.
Whatever the case may be, it should be interesting to see if GSP lets him execute anything before he puts his own strategy into motion.
Let’s get this thing going.
**SPOILERS AFTER THE JUMP**
Dan Miller def. Joe Doerksen – split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Mark Bocek def. Dustin Hazelett by submission (triangle choke) at 2:33, R1
Rafael Natal vs. Jesse Bongfeldt – majority draw
Sean Pierson def. Matt Riddle – unanimous decision (30-27 all)
John Makdessi def. Pat Audinwood – unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)
Main Card Bouts
Alves connects with a right cross and Howard fires back, but doesn’t connect. Takedown stuffed by Alves, and he backs Doomsday into the cage and takes him down with a trip. From half guard Thiago pins down the left arm and tries to pass as Howard tries for an ankle lock. Alves scrambles back to his feet and out of trouble. Both men feel each other out for 30 seconds, much to the chagrin of the crowd. Howard seems to be loading up his right hand, but Alves is the more active and accurate with his punches. He lands a left hook and then backs Howard into the cage. A leg kick followed by a left right and doubled up with knees stumbles Howard. Howard lands with a leg kick of his own, but Alves is still light on his feet, unaffected. Alves bobs his head out of the way of a hook, and lands with an inside left jab. Alves’ head movement and punches are perfect, as he continues to land, forcing Howard to clinch to avoid taking more damage. The Dolce Diet must be working for Alves, as he seems to be fresh. Alves lands another leg kick, and continues to circle, as Howard seems confused about what to do next other than defend the onslaught by "Pitbulll."
Alves clips Doomsday with a cup check, but Howard shrugs it off, giving Thiago a high five to let him know he’s ok. Thiago continues to wade in with combinations and Howard seems tentative to commit with any offence of his own. Thiago connects with another leg kick and Howard seems to be in pain, not wanting to put weight on his lead foot. Alves still seems pretty fresh as he lands with a left head kick. Firing Howard into the cage with an Octagon-wide takedown slam, Alves works again in half guard. Passing to side control momentarily, Alves can’t avoid being taken into full guard by Howard, but punishes him with hammer fists for the effort. Alves is dominating this fight. Alves is punishing Howard’s chin with elbows, content to stay in guard.
Between rounds Howard seemed spent, while Alves popped off the stool before the round started. Howard lands a kick, but an overhand right by Alves makes him reconsider throwing another one. Howard’s throwing short punches now, but doesn’t want to commit to anything that might leave him exposed. He takes Thiago into the cage, but breaks when prompted by the referee to do something. Howard’s mouth is wide open as he’s sucking air. Alves is looking to set something up with the jab. Howard lands with another leg kick, but doesn’t follow up. Howard finally lets his hands go, but Alves shrugs it off and finally connects with a straight right that drops Doomsday to the mat. He pops right back to his feet and pins Alves back against the cage. Alves is keeping distance with the jab, and punishing that left leg with kick after kick, to the inside and outside. Superman punch doesn’t land, as Howard backs out of the way. Thiago is sticking and moving, slipping every one of Howard’s power shots. He’s still moving like he did in the first round, circling and light on his feet. Every time Howard steps in, Alves counters and circles out of trouble. Ten seconds left and Alves takes control again, moving in and out, landing at will.
Thiago Alves def. John Howard – unanimous decision (30-27 all)
Stevenson throws an overhand right to start off the fight, but Danzig is having none of it. Front kick by Danzig pushes Stevenson back. Stevenson lands with an overhand right to the back of Danzig’s head, but does little more than prompt him to move the other way. Interesting that these usual ground fighters are choosing to stand. Stevenson throws another overhand right, thinking he’s Chuck Liddell. Apparently Danzig think’s he’s Rick Franklin as he KOs Stevenson, who falls face first onto the canvas.
Mac Danzig def. Joe Stevenson – KO 1:54 R1
Jim Miller vs. Charles Oliveira
Oliveira throws a head kick and Miller blocks. Two more and Miller blocks them both, and takes Oliveira down, and lands immediately in a guillotine. He pops out and nearly gets caught in a triangle as he tries to pass and ends up in guard. Oliveira is very wily, as he works for submission after submission, looking like he’s made of rubber. Miller falls back into a knee bar, and Oliveira taps.
Jim Miller def. Charles Oliveira – submission (kneebar) 1:59 R1
Stefan Struve vs. Sean McCorkle
Struve connects with a jab, and McCorkle scoops him up and slams him on his back, landing in half guard. Releasing a rape choke, McCorkle moves straight for the kimura and Struve scoots his back against the fence to avoid McCorkle cranking the lock. He gets out, but McCorkle ends up in side control. Struve rolls again, and ends up with McCorkle in guard. McCorkle lets go of wrist control to land some punches to Struve’s head, and Struve rolls for an arm bar. McCorkle rolls out of trouble and connects with some hammer fists. The American looks gassed. Struve maintains wrist control with McCorkle in his guard, and works for a kimura. He sweeps McCorkle and ends up in mount. Dropping bombs from the top, Struve ends the fight via TKO. McCorkle doesn’t have a lot to say now.
Stefan Struve def. Sean McCorkle – TKO (strikes) 3:55 R1
Welterweight Championship Bout
Georges St-Pierre vs. Josh Koscheck
No touch of gloves. St-Pierre doubles up with a left jab. Koscheck looks nervous. St-Pierre immediately takes him down and pins him against the fence. Koscheck regains his feet, and St-Pierre plugs away with leg kicks and jabs. The crowd is chanting "Ole Ole." Koscheck avoids a takedown. Koscheck seems now to be just waiting to see what St-Pierre will do next. Leg kick by St-Pierre and a jab. St-Pierre tries for another takedown, and again Koscheck stuffs and lands a knee. Koscheck’s eye is reddening from the jabs. St-Pierre lands a jab right cross and Koscheck seems dazed and bothered as he keeps blinking. St-Pierre continues with the leg kick jab combo, and Koscheck looks for the clock with a minute and a half left. He seems to have problem breathing out of his nose now. Koscheck is blinking and wiping his nose and eyes as the jab continues to bother him. Koscheck now drives in for a single. GSP defends, and Koscheck is content to just hold the leg and grind out time. Finally, he’s able to get the takedown with 18 seconds left. GSP works in his guard to avoid taking damage. The round ends.
Koscheck’s right eye is nearly swollen shut a la Rocky Balboa. He seems tentative now of the jab, since he can’t see it coming. St-Pierre lands a Superman jab and he smells blood, knowing that Koscheck’s depth perception is affected by the eye. Koscheck is in desperation mode now, winging that wild right and waiting for a chance to take the champion down. St-Pierre is doubling up the jab and using his head movement to avoid being countered. Cup check and Koscheck looks like he’s going to call for a timeout, but decides otherwise. Koscheck’s throwing hail mary’s now, hoping to connect with GSP like Matt Serra did. St-Pierre lands another Superman jab, leg kick connects as well. Koscheck attempts a single, but St-Pierre shrugs it off and lands a kick. Both fighters look at the clock again with 1:30 remaining. Koscheck looks like he’s St-Pierre sparring partner at this point. Koscheck lands his first hard shot of the fight, an uppercut that GSP shrugs off and counters with a combo of his own. Koscheck lands another uppercut. St-Pierre uses the jab to back him up. GSP throws a switch kick that grazes off Koscheck’s elbow, and the round ends.
Koscheck comes out the aggressor. GSP attempts a single, and then switches to a double, but relinquishes the hold when he realizes Koscheck is defending well. Both men jockey for position against the cage, and St-Pierre comes out in control. Koscheck lands an elbow that grazes the champion’s ear, but doesn’t affect GSP’s aggression. They break and end up in the centre of the Octagon, where St-Pierre picks up where he left off last round, peppering Koscheck with jabs. Koscheck looks like he’s just waiting for a one punch KO. St-Pierre clinches again and presses Koscheck against the cage and complains to the referee that the AKA fighter is holding his glove. St-Pierre continues his jab onslaught and Koscheck loads up the right, but can’t connect with it, as he looks at the clock to save him with 30 seconds left. St-Pierre continues to connect, jab jab leg kick. The round ends without much fanfare.
GSP takes Koscheck down and the challenger tries for a knee bar. St-Pierre gets Kos’ back as they stand and continues to work away with the jab. Back in the centre of the Octagon, neither man seems anxious to commit. Koscheck now is winging overhand lefts and rights, hoping that something will connect with St-Pierre chin. St-Pierre is countering now, and knocks Koscheck down, but Koscheck makes sure to tell the crowd it was a slip, as he has done twice already tonight. St-Pierre now is looking for the hook to surprise Koscheck, since he can’t see it coming from the outside with his swollen right eye. St-Pierre actually seems a bit winded. St-Pierre now turns it on, throwing combos and mixing in kicks. Koscheck has no answer for the attack, except to look up at the clock again. St-Pierre is breathing with his mouth open right now. Koscheck whiffs with a head kick as the 10 second warning sounds, and the round ends with both fighters scampering back to their corners, thankful for the stool.
Koscheck couldn’t stand the ice bag on his eye between rounds. That thing is jacked. GSP goes to work on the right side of Koscheck’s face and throws the odd leg kick to make Koscheck drop his hands. Koscheck is actually holding his hand over his eye, and cannot judge the distance of St-Pierre when attempting takedowns, as he stumbles like a drunk by GSP. St-Pierre seems cautious now not to fuck this up. Every time GSP moves, Koscheck jumps like a spooked beaten dog. Koscheck misses with an overhand right and eats a jab hook combo from GSP. St-Pierre looks like he’s loading up a kick. He jabs Koscheck into the fence and ducks underneath for a single, but Koscheck sees it coming with his good eye and defends. Koscheck is pinned against the fence looking again for the clock and for a way out, as St-Pierre dumps him on his back again. He pops back up and St-Pierre pins him against the fence again. Neither man seems like they want to finish this fight. Koscheck’s actually complaining now that GSP’s holding on to him, like he’s done anything this fight. He tries for a weak spinning back kick, which GSP ducks away from, and ends the round flailing away with his hands and feet like a drowning victim, in way over his head.
Georges St-Pierre def. Josh Koscheck – unanimous decision (50-45 all)