Sunday, March 28, 2010

GSP Shuts Out Hardy; Carwin KOs Mir

Despite considerable efforts to convince the buying public otherwise, Dan Hardy was no match for Georges St. Pierre.

In another virtuoso performance, St. Pierre retained his welterweight crown with a unanimous decision over the Team Rough House stalwart in the UFC 111 “St. Pierre vs. Hardy” headliner on Saturday at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. Scores were 50-43, 50-44 and 50-45 in St. Pierre’s favor. Even so, the champion was far from satisfied.

“I wanted to finish the fight in beautiful fashion,” he said. “I’m very sorry.”

Hardy had no recourse for St. Pierre’s patented takedowns. Grounded repeatedly, the mohawked Brit never found an opening for his strikes. Twice St. Pierre threatened to end it, as he hyperextended Hardy’s arm with a first-round armbar and wrenched the opposite limb with a wicked fourth-round kimura. Hardy, though he grimaced in noticeable pain, refused to surrender, his toughness keeping him in the fight until the bitter end.

“The one thing that I do have above everything else … I might lack in technicality. I might lack in strength, but there’s no quit in me,” Hardy said. “I don’t give up. I don’t know the meaning of tap.”

Still, it was not nearly enough to dethrone the incomparable St. Pierre. He took down Hardy nine times in the five-round fight and passed his guard at will, setting up ground-and-pound and submission attempts. Hardy spent precious little time upright, a fact which left his primary weapons, his hands and feet, in their holsters.

“I had a strategy for the fight,” St. Pierre said. “I wanted to avoid the fight where my opponent was the strongest and fight him where he was weakest -- on the ground.”

The defeat halted Hardy’s four-fight winning streak inside the Octagon but figures to earn the former two-division Cage Warriors champion considerable respect. St. Pierre, meanwhile, has won 13 of his last 14 fights and has taken an astonishing 24 consecutive rounds from his opponents.

“All I can say is it was an honor to fight him,” Hardy said. “I can see now why he’s champion. He’s just a very, very strong athlete, very technically skilled. I wasn’t quite there tonight.”

Carwin Smashes Mir, Captures Interim Crown

Shane Carwin still has never seen the second round.

The monstrous Coloradan smashed through Frank Mir in 3:48 to win the UFC interim heavyweight championship in the co-main event. Carwin, unbeaten as a professional, has finished all 12 of his opponents inside one round. His latest conquest puts him in position to challenge recovering UFC heavyweight king Brock Lesnar this summer.

“That fight’s been canceled two times,” Carwin said. “It’s destiny that we meet.”

Carwin wiped out Mir in the clinch, where he landed a series of left uppercuts against the cage that crumpled the former champion in his tracks. Mir fought valiantly to survive, but Carwin proved relentless in his pursuit of victory. He hammered Mir with heavy punches from behind until he lay prone and motionless, forcing the referee to intervene.

“It’s a lifetime of work right here,” Carwin said. “I’m speechless. I don’t know what to say.”

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