UFC 111: GSP retains belt; Carwin crushes Mir

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NEWARK, N.J. – Georges St. Pierre continued his dominance of the UFC’s welterweight division, whitewashing Dan Hardy to retain his title with a one-sided unanimous decision in the main event of UFC 111 on Saturday at the Prudential Center.

St. Pierre repeatedly took Hardy down and went for submissions the entire way. The judges had it 50-43, 50-44 and 50-45. Yahoo! Sports scored it 50-42 for St. Pierre. The champion has won a UFC-record 25 consecutive rounds dating back to 2007.

St. Pierre went for chokes, arm bars and Kimuras in an excellent display of submission fighting.

St. Pierre, who said he made “a lot of stupid technical mistakes,” nearly finished Hardy with a Kimura that was very deep in Round 3. Hardy showed great toughness in not submitting, but he was nowhere near in St. Pierre’s league.

The champion, though, wound up apologizing for not finishing Hardy.

“I want to apologize to my fans for not finishing that fight,” St. Pierre said.

Hardy said he would not quit and that’s why he didn’t tap despite the Kimura being in deep.

“I don’t know what it means to tap,” Hardy said.

He knows what it is to lose, though, as St. Pierre won with a dominant performance.

Shane Carwin went longer than he ever had in an MMA bout, but he still didn’t need a second round to win the UFC interim heavyweight title.

With champion Brock Lesnar seated at ringside, Carwin stopped former champion Frank Mir at 3:48 of the first round with a series of punishing lefts and then a bit of ground-and-pound. Referee Dan Miragliotta gave Mir an opportunity to escape as Carwin was pounding on him, but Mir had no way out and Carwin took the huge victory.

Little of significance had occurred until Carwin caught Mir with a left uppercut along the cage. Carwin rocked Mir several more times before Mir hit the canvas.

Carwin, who works full time as an engineer, followed him quickly. He was raining punches down on Mir when Miragliotta stopped it. Mir was so disoriented from the onslaught that after he around, he attempted to defend himself from the doctors and attendants who were checking on him.

Lesnar called the interim championship “a fake belt,” but said Carwin “has some legitimacy to him now” with wins over Mir and Gabriel Gonzaga. Lesnar said he’d be available to fight Carwin for the title in July.

Kurt Pellegrino scored an impressive submission victory over Fabricio Camoes in a lightweight bout.

Camoes got Pellegrino’s back in the first round and jumped on him piggy back. He made Pellegrino carry his weight for a long time and nearly pulled off a choke.

Pellegrino dumped Camoes and landed some elbows in the second half of the first. He then controlled the second round and slapped on a rear naked choke.

Camoes tapped quickly as Pellegrino celebrated.

Jon Fitch won a fight but did himself little good by outwrestling Ben Saunders in a welterweight bout. All three judges had it 30-27 for Fitch, but the fans booed throughout the bout and at the announcement of Fitch’s win.

Fitch, who was supposed to take on Thiago Alves, met Saunders instead when Alves had to withdraw because he failed a pre-fight brain scan. Fitch wanted to compete and Saunders stepped in to fight him.

Fitch clearly won, using his wrestling to take Saunders down and pin him against the cage.

Jim Miller continued his nice run in the lightweight division, pulling out a hard-fought victory over Mark Bocek. Miller nearly submitted Bocek with a Kimura in the opening round and slipped on a choke just before the bell to end the fight.

Missing weight by an astonishingly high six pounds did no good for Rory Markham, who was pounded out in just 2:47 by Nate Diaz. Diaz, who was making his welterweight debut, agreed to take the fight on Friday despite the fact that Markham came in at 177 pounds, six over the contract limit.

Diaz, though, knocked Markham down, took his back and then pounded him with shots until referee Keith Peterson had seen enough and stopped the bout.

“I wanted to change things up and get back out there,” Diaz said. “I didn’t care if I went up in weight. I just wanted another fight. I was the faster fighter. I’m just looking to get better. I’ll fight anybody. I heard his corner yelling, ‘Control the hands,’ so I let go of him and threw punches.”

Ricardo Almeida, who once fought as a 205-pounder, made his 170-pound debut a successful one when he submitted Matt Brown at 3:30 of the second round.

Almeida, the former PRIDE and Pancrase star, decked Brown with a right that opened a cut on Brown’s forehead. Almeida then maneuvered into position and caught Brown with a rear naked choke.

Rousimar Palhares needed little time to dispose of Tomasz Drwal, catching him in a heel hook and forcing a submission just 45 seconds into their middleweight bout. Drwal tapped immediately, but referee Kevin Mulhall didn’t get in quickly enough to break it up.

As a result, Palhares hung on until Mulhall pulled them apart.

“I didn’t feel he was tapping,” Palhares said. “I thought he was trying to push me off. If I hurt him, I’m sorry. I didn’t want to hurt him.”

A pair of former college football players fought a spirited back-and-forth bout that Jared Hamman wound up winning by a unanimous decision. All three judges scored it 29-28 for Hamman. Yahoo! Sports scored the bout 29-28 for Wallace.

Matthew Riddle was in control of his bout with New Jersey’s Greg Soto when Soto was disqualified in the third round for kicking Riddle in the face. Soto was on his back and Riddle was on his knees in guard when Soto pulled back his right leg and kicked Soto in the face with the ball of his foot.

Ringside physicians decided Riddle could not continue, so Peterson awarded the bout to Riddle by disqualification.

“The doctor was talking to me,” Riddle said. “He asked me where I was and I said, ‘In a cage.’ At that point, I thought the fight was over and when they went to restart the fight, my corner didn’t want me to continue. I didn’t really know what was going on after the kick.”

Kevin Iole covers boxing and mixed martial arts for Yahoo! Sports. Follow him on Twitter. Send Kevin a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.
Updated Saturday, Mar 27, 2010