By Jaime C. Feal
Georges St. Pierre is the benefactor of a highly controversial judges’ decision after winning a split decision over Johny Hendricks. Early in the fight, GSP looked in danger of being finished on several occasions, barely recovering to last to the later rounds. After the fight, GSP hinted at retirement, but stopped short of saying he was done for good. In the co-main event, Rashad Evans decimated Chael Sonnen in the first round with heavy ground and pound. Also on the card, Josh Koscheck was annihilated by strikes from Tyron “The Chosen One” Woodley in a Knockout of the Night performance.
Photo: USA Today
Welterweight Division (170 lbs.):
Rory MacDonald (15-1, 6-1 UFC) vs. “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler (21-9, 6-3 UFC)
Hard leg kicks from Lawler to start. Rory looking to set up his jab, but eating leg kicks in the process. Head kick from MacDonald misses. Lawler tries to step in with a one-two but cannot find the mark. Head kick again from MacDonald, but blocked by Lawler. Another leg kick lands for Lawler. A couple jabs land solid for MacDonald. Front kick to the body lands for MacDonald. Hard jab lands for MacDonald, head kick in response from Lawler. 10-9 round for Lawler.
MacDonald goes for a takedown and has Lawler on one leg, but Lawler is able to escape while landing a good right hand. MacDonald greets him with a head kick a short time later. Front kick lands for MacDonald. The welterweights trade leg kicks, then a good punch to the body from Lawler. Nice straight right then head kick from MacDonald. Hard right hook lands for Lawler. Straight right to the body lands for Rory. Outside leg kick for Lawler. Good one-two from MacDonald, starting to win the stand-up now. Body kicks from Rory land on Lawler’s sternum. Rory gets a takedown with two minutes to go. MacDonald looks to posture up, and Lawler rolls to initiate a scramble. MacDonald maintains dominant position, but not really working to finish. Lawler regains guard with half a minute left. MacDonald passes to half guard, now he starts to unload with some elbows. 10-9 round for MacDonald.
Lawler nails MacDonald with some good punches that have Rory wobbly. MacDonald is able to get a desperation takedown and get on top. Ref stands them up, Lawler tags Rory again with a huge left. MacDonald goes for the takedown, Lawler reverses and starts unloading with potential kill shots, looking for the finish. Rory survives off his back, avoiding most of the shots. Lawler stands up and says to MacDonald to get up. Rory is bloodied up and has never looked this rattled before. Lawler clips him again with a hook. Incredible takedown defense from Lawler, then DESTROYS MacDonald with a combination of hooks. Lawler in top, looking to finish, passes to side control. Another big shot from Lawler, completely dominating MacDonald now. A heavy right hand lands for Lawler as MacDonald tried to roll free. MacDonald looking to sweep, cannot do it, Lawler stays on top with half a minute left. Lawler stands back up and starts chasing MacDonald, lands a left hook. MacDonald gets a takedown and starts working hard elbows with ten seconds left, then more heavy right hands but runs out of time at the end. 10-9 round for Lawler.
The judges scores the fight 29-28, 28-29, and 29-28 for the winner by split decision, “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler.
Light Heavyweight Division (205 lbs.):
Chael Sonnen (28-13-1, 7-6 UFC) vs. Rashad “Suga” Evans (18-3-1, 13-3-1 UFC)
Sonnen with a takedown attempt that Evans defends, but has his back to the cage. The light heavyweights grapple for position with each briefly gaining the upper hand. Evans tries to take Sonnen down but cannot. Dirty boxing now from Evans, then a big right hand. Sonnen on the defensive, Evans looking for a trip takedown. Evans goes back to the dirty boxing, then gets a double leg takedown. Evans beginning to pass the guard and work ground and pound. Left hands hitting home for Evans, Sonnen trying to escape but he’s stuck against the cage. Big right elbow from Evans. Sonnen turtled up now. Evans landing vicious ground and pound, full mount now. Evans starting to destroy Sonnen with punches, Sonnen gives up his back. Evans has him flattened out, unloading with heavy hooks from both sides, Herb Dean stops the fight as Sonnen taps to the strikes.
Rashad Evans win by TKO at 4:05 at Round 1.
UFC Welterweight Championship (170 lbs.):
Georges “Rush” St. Pierre (24-2, 18-2 UFC) vs. Johny “Big Rig” Hendricks (15-1, 10-1 UFC)
GSP starts jabbing, then lands a beautiful takedown. GSP going for a guillotine choke, Hendricks gets to his feet. The fighters clinch in the center of the cage. Hendricks pushes GSP to the cage, the fights trade knees to the thighs. Ref breaks the fighters. Hendricks lands an uppercut. GSP trying for a takedown but cannot get it. Hendricks landing heavy, hard elbows to the side of the head. Hendricks starting to take over in the clinch. Hendricks gets a takedown. GSP gets back to his feet, Hendricks still riding him. Nice knee from Hendricks, has GSP’s face bruised early. Jabs from GSP, heavy knee in return from Hendricks. Jab from St. Pierre, outside leg kick from Hendricks. GSP scoring with a few light strikes, Hendricks looking for the kill shot but missing. 10-9 round for Hendricks
Nice jab lands for St. Pierre. Big counter left lands for Hendricks, GSP lands another good jab. Hendricks catches GSP with a hard left uppercut that stumbles him, reminiscent of when he got caught by Serra. Hendricks senses this as starts swarming, landing heavy uppercuts and punches, actually spits his mouthguard out while doing so. Ref stops the fight for Hendricks to put his mouthguard back in, and when it resumes he is all over the still wobbly St. Pierre with more brutal hooks and punches. GSP has his back to the cage, trying to defend against the surging Hendricks. Good left hook-jab combo by GSP. Another good jab from St. Pierre. Hendricks just misses with a huge knee. Good right hand from GSP. Hendricks tags him again on the temple. Good jab from GSP, same from Hendricks. Head kick from the champion, Hendricks still looking for a huge punch. Good counter right hands from GSP. The welterweights clinch and exchange knees to end the round. 10-9 round for Hendricks.
Good leg kick from GSP, but hard knee by Hendricks. Jabs from GSP finding the mark, then an outside leg kick. Left hook from St. Pierre, right hook from Hendricks. Counter left hook lands for GSP off a missed left uppercut from Hendricks. GSP’s cardio advantage starting to show. Hendricks gets hit with another jab, then a right hand. Good left hook from St. Pierre, his punches have more string on them now. Hendricks power is decreasing but he is still very dangerous. Good right hand from the champion, scoring points nicely. More jabs from GSP, controlling the range more this round. Hendricks seems to be taking the round off somewhat. Uppercut to the body from Hendricks. Hendricks tries for a takedown, can’t get it initially, and then gets GSP down. St. Pierre able to get up before the round ends. 10-9 round for St. Pierre.
Outside leg kick for GSP, Hendricks tries to land some big punches but misses. Another leg kick from GSP. A couple right hooks land for Hendricks, but then gets his head snapped back from a jab. GSP slips in a scramble, and Hendricks capitalizes by swarming him. Hendricks is on top inside the guard. Hendricks lets him up to his feet, GSP is busted up bad. Hendricks lands some big left hands. Nice combination from the challenger, winning this round clearly. Good right hand from GSP. Hendricks rides out the round by controlling GSP against the cage. 10-9 round for Hendricks.
Left hooks from GSP, then tries for a single leg. Hendricks defending well. Hendricks has GSP against the cage, then tries an arm lock but GSP escapes. Solid right hand from GSP, then takes Hendricks down. Hendricks trying to sneak out, GSP trying for a front headlock. Hendricks gets back to his feet. A grappling match against the cage ensues, ref breaks due to the stalemate. Head kick from St. Pierre, doesn’t do enough damage. GSP gets another takedown, but Hendricks pops right back up. GSP struggling hard to get something going, but only did enough to win the round, as the men grapple against the cage to end the fight. 10-9 round for St. Pierre.
The judges score the fight 48-47, 47-48, and 48-47 for the winner by split decision, Georges “Rush” St. Pierre.
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