Georges St. Pierre and B.J. Penn went into UFC 94 as somewhat bitter rivals, and the circumstances of the fight between two of the most skilled fighters in company history did little to quell the feud.
It was a battle of the welterweight champion vs. the lightweight champion, the first bout of champions in different weight classes in company history. On Jan. 31, the crowd at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas saw St. Pierre's superior size and conditioning spell the difference. The shockingly one-sided fight ended when both Penn's corner and the doctor at about the same moment, between Rounds 4 and 5, decided Penn had enough of a beating.
Penn, who had believed he had won their previous match, ruled a split decision loss back at UFC 58, had been spoiling for a rematch. While the two were already big stars in 2006, now they were considered significantly better and more popular. With three prime-time specials on Spike TV building up the fight, it was one of the most anticipated in history.
Penn came into the fight at 168 pounds, while St. Pierre weighed in at 170 pounds, but walked into the cage the next day at 187. St. Pierre's strategy was to use the first round to tire out Penn's right shoulder, weakening his stand-up game, which at least on paper figured to give St Pierre trouble. From there, St. Pierre started scoring takedowns and pummeling Penn on the ground.
But as one-sided as it was, it ended up controversial because of allegations that St. Pierre's corner put Vaseline on him between rounds. In fact, the Nevada State Athletic Commission ordered St. Pierre toweled off between Rounds 2 and 3, after believing the corner had done that very such thing. But Penn's later protests to the commission after the fact, trying to get the decision changed, claiming the grease was why he couldn't mount any offense from the bottom, fell on deaf ears.
In Lyoto Machida's last fight before winning the light heavyweight title, he dominated previously unbeaten Thiago Silva, knocking him out with a punch just as the first round was ending.
The show also featured the first televised appearance of 2006 national junior college wrestling champion Johnny "Bones" Jones, who used that wrestling to win a unanimous decision over veteran Stephan Bonnar. Jones became an immediate favorite using a variety of throws rarely seen in MMA competition.
Charismatic veteran Akihiro Gono made a splash before his match with Jon Fitch. Gono and two of his cornerman arrived in a sequined gowns and tiaras, and performed a dance routine outside the cage to the sounds of a Japanese disco song. Unfortunately for Gono, he then proceeded to be pummeled by Fitch for 15 minutes.
Quoteworthy: "I donât fight for money or for fame, because when I started I didnât have either. I fight for the challenge." – St. Pierre, on what floats his boat. RESULTS
Dan Cramer def. Matt Arroyo, unanimous decision
Jake OâBrien def. Christian Wellisch, split decision
John Howard def. Chris Wilson, split decision
Thiago Tavares def. Manny Gamburyan, unanimous decision
Jon Fitch def. Akihiro Gono, unanimous decision
Clay Guida def. Nate Diaz, split decision
Karo Parisyan def. Dong Hyun Kim, split decision
Jon Jones def. Stephan Bonnar, unanimous decision
Lyoto Machida def. Thiago Silva, TKO, 4:59 R1
UFC welterweight title: Georges St. Pierre def. B.J. Penn, doctor stoppage, 5:00 R4 (St. Pierre retains title).