Sunday, December 12, 2010
MMA and Boxing closing out 2010 with a bang
With less than three weeks till 2011, both MMA and Boxing are closing out 2010 with a bang. After last weekend's KO fest at Strikeforce and a strong past month and a half for boxing, combat sports fans have had much to cheer about and enjoy.
This past weekend, the trend continued with an entertaining UFC 124: St. Pierre vs. Koscheck card from Montreal, Canada. On the same night from one of the UFC's regular stomping grounds, Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada, a candidate for fight of the year in boxing was waged as Amir 'King' Khan defended his WBA light welterweight championship against Argentinean contender Marcos Maidana.
In the main event of the UFC, welterweight (170 lbs.) champion Georges 'Rush' St. Pierre (21-2, 8 KO's 5 subs), ironically used his boxing skills as he literally jabbed his way to a decisive unanimous decision over Josh 'Kos' Koscheck (15-5, 4 KO's 5 subs). St. Pierre's jab throughout the fight was so quick, effective and on target, that Koscheck's right eye was pretty much swollen shut after two rounds.
Mixing up his effective striking with an occasional takedown (pictured above), the champion was never really challenged or in any serious danger throughout the five rounds. Koscheck was unable to mount any offense, having to resort to swinging wildly in the hopes of catching St. Pierre on the chin. So, how is it then that this was voted "fight of the night" and earned both St. Pierre and Koscheck a bonus of $100,000 each?
The UFC and its president Dana White, always hand out bonuses for 'Fight of the night', 'KO of the night' and 'Submission of the night' as an incentive for fighters to go out and try to finish their fights in exciting fashion. Great idea, but it's a real shame when two fighters deep on the undercard such as welterweights Matt Riddle and Sean Pierson, put on a great show for the fans and are not rewarded for it.
Those two slugged it out for three rounds, acknowledged each others efforts throughout and clearly earned the fans appreciation for it by their rabid reaction. That fight must've left an impression as it wasn't even on the main card and has no significance whatsoever in the scheme of what's to come in the welterweight division, yet the UFC felt it worthy enough to show on the pay-per-view portion of the show.
It is why I chose to comment on it besides any other fight outside the main event. My small tribute may not be worth $100,000 dollars, but as a fan all I can say is thanks for the effort; which brings me to the main event of the HBO boxing card, Khan vs. Maidana. What Riddle and Pierson did for three rounds in a cage, these two did for twelve in a ring.
Khan (24-1, 17 KO's), a budding superstar in a stacked division of budding superstars, the 140 lbs. class, defended his title against another of the young hungry lions within the division Maidana (29-2, 27 KO's). Defend is the operative word as Khan needed every bit of skill and heart he could muster to ward off the hard charging Maidana.
Strangely, the fight looked like it wouldn't amount to much as Khan, using superior hand speed, foot work and punching combinations, dropped Maidana with a punishing left hook to the liver, that had the challenger wincing in pain for the final minute of the first round. Maidana weathered the storm and ended up creating one of his own. His only downfall was a fifth round point deduction from referee Joe Cortez for a blatant elbow he threw at Khan's face, which luckily missed, but caught Cortez flush in the chest.
Besides that, the two battled back and forth over 12 rounds with Khan landing crisp combinations and Maidana smashing Khan with vicious uppercuts and an overhand right in the eighth that clearly had the champion on Wobble street. A scheduled fight next month between the other two champions in the division, Devon Alexander (WBC, IBF) and Timothy Bradley (WBO), has the present and future for boxing looking extremely promising.
As for UFC 124, three fights of note on the main card all ended in the first round as 6'11" heavyweight Stefan 'Skyscraper' Struve defeated 6 '7" Sean 'Big Sexy' McCorkle via TKO referee stoppage; also, lightweight (155 lbs.) Jim Miller derailed the undefeated record of young Charles Oliveira with a slick knee bar submission. Finally, it took lightweight Mac Danzig less than two minutes to finish Joe Stevenson via KO with a crushing left hook to the jaw.
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