MONTREAL – Georges St. Pierre did what he said he would do, bullying the bully and pulling out a methodical unanimous-decision victory over bitter rival Josh Koscheck on Saturday to retain his welterweight title in the main event of UFC 124 at a noisy Bell Centre.
St. Pierre pumped a jab in Koscheck's face, closing Koscheck's eye late in the first round. Koscheck had very little vision in the right eye over the final four rounds, and referee Herb Dean looked at it closely several times. Koscheck pleaded with Dean to allow him to go on, but all it did was extend the beating.
All three judges had it 50-45 in favor of St. Pierre, who won his eighth straight fight. St. Pierre was completely dominant, though he never came close to finishing Koscheck. He ran his UFC record for consecutive round victories to 30, dating back to St. Pierre's first victory over Koscheck in 2007.
St. Pierre had several takedowns, but Koscheck managed to get to his feet fairly quickly. However, St. Pierre didn't throw many combinations and so Koscheck, although his face was battered and beaten, was never in trouble of being stopped.
Koscheck had talked trash throughout the promotion of the fight, enraging the St. Pierre camp and his fans, and the result was a mammoth and boisterous crowd well in excess of 20,000.
After the fight, though, St. Pierre and Koscheck embraced in the ring and St. Pierre credited Koscheck with a good job of hyping the fight.
Heavyweight Stefan Struve took a lot of abuse – verbally – from Sean McCorkle in the weeks before their bout. But Struve got the last laugh when he scored a first-round ground-and-pound stoppage over McCorkle.
McCorkle took Struve down early and had the advantage as the fighters were grappling for position. McCorkle was working for a Kimura and seemed to be close to getting it, but Struve fought it off.
He then swept McCorkle to reverse position. When he got into McCorkle's guard, he fired punches and elbows until referee Yves Lavigne stopped it at 3:55 of the first.
Jim Miller completed a 2-0 night for the Miller family of New Jersey as he followed his brother Dan's win with one of his own, an impressive knee-bar submission over Charles Oliveira.
The bout was on the ground and Miller was in guard, as Oliveira was active from the bottom and maneuvering for submissions of his own. But the previously unbeaten Oliveira made a mistake and Miller quickly capitalized, forcing the 21-year-old UFC rookie to tap at 1:59 of the first round.
"A lot of people underestimated me coming in against this kid," Jim Miller said. "Charles is a tough kid, but I'm one of the best in the world."
Mac Danzig entered his lightweight bout against Joe "Daddy" Stevenson having lost four of his last five. But Danzig survived the possibility of being cut by catching Stevenson on the point of the chin with a perfect counter left, knocking him out at 1:54 of the first round.
Little had occurred until the final sequence as Stevenson charged at Danzig firing punches. As he backed up, Danzig fired off the left and Stevenson did a face plant, falling directly to the canvas.
"I've been landing that for years and years and never knew how to put power on it the right way," Danzig said. "I just started loosening it and popping it the way it's supposed to go."
Thiago Alves was told by UFC president Dana White following a loss to Jon Fitch at UFC 118 in August – a bout in which he missed the 170-pound welterweight limit – that he would have to move to middleweight.
Alves, who has a history of missing weight, pleaded for a second chance and proved Saturday that he deserved it, making weight and taking an impression unanimous-decision victory over John Howard. All three judges scored the bout 30-27 for the Brazilian.
It was a standup battle from start to finish, as had been advertised. But Alves was punching harder, kicking more often and was more precise. His kicks took a toll on Howard's front leg and he was moving gingerly in the second half of the bout. In addition, Alves' punches swelled Howard's jaw.
Alves made the weight after hiring conditioning coach Mike Dolce, known for the "Dolce Diet." He looked in fabulous shape and had plenty of energy throughout, firing away until the final bell.
"I'm happy that I got an opponent who I knew would want to stand and bang with me," a relieved Alves said.
In a bout between a pair of middleweights who both desperately needed a win, Dan Miller pulled out a split-decision victory over Joe Doerksen in the final preliminary card bout.
All three judges had it 29-28, two for Miller and one for Doerksen.
Doerksen appeared to do more damage and nearly finished the fight in the second round, when he had a Kimura and held it for a considerable period before Miller rolled out of it.
Miller spent most of the night in the top position, and that apparently was enough to give him the victory in a solid grappling contest.
"I kept hitting him and he kept hitting me back," a bruised-up Dan Miller said. "He's got very good elbows. As you can see, I looked to finish but he kept escaping. He's truly a crafty vet."
Mark Bocek pulled off an impressive victory, winning by a triangle choke at 2:33 of the first round over Dustin Hazelett, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt. Bocek took Hazelett down and quickly rolled into position for the choke.
After the bout, he called out lightweight contender George Sotiropoulos.
"I've been quiet way too long," Bocek said. "I have the best jiu-jitsu in the lightweight division and I want to prove it by fighting George Sotiropoulos in Toronto."
Sean Pierson, one of three Canadians making his UFC debut, outslugged Matthew Riddle in a back-and-forth battle that had the crowd on its feet, winning 30-27 on all three cards.
Pierson, from Toronto, had a strong first round, countering a knee attempt by Riddle with a big right hand to the jaw. Riddle went down and Pierson pummeled him for much of the rest of the first round.
The last two rounds were closer, but Pierson was more often than not getting the edge in the action, largely by virtue of his more powerful strikes.
Ricardo Almeida got back on the right track after being submitted by Matt Hughes, pounding out a workmanlike unanimous decision over T.J. Grant. All three judges scored it 30-27 for Almeida.
Almeida took Grant down early in each round, and while he never came close to pulling off one of his many submissions, he landed a lot of punches and elbows from the guard.
Grant was never able to mount much of an attack, spending most of the round flat on his back trying to fend off Almeida.
"I would have liked to have gotten the finish, but he was a hard guy to control," Almeida said. "But I was happy with my positioning in the fight. Usually the fighter on top will win the decision, so I did my best to get in dominant positions and do damage."
Lightweight John Makdessi, a kickboxer from Montreal who was making his UFC debut, had little problems handling Pat Audinwood. Makdessi used an assortment of punches and kicks to open an assortment of cuts all over Audinwood's body and win a wide unanimous decision.
The judges had it 30-27 twice and 30-26.
"I've been in martial arts since I was 6 years old, so those kicks come natural to me," Makdessi said. "My strategy was to kick his legs. He was fighting me outside-in, trying to use his reach. I thought he'd be the aggressor and I thought he'd engage more, but he did what he had to do. I was trying to finish the fight, but he kept his distance from me."