UFC 124 Recap: Finishes, Memorable Main Event Highlight Year End Show
After months of taunts and trash talking, Josh Koscheck and welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre went toe-to-toe in the Octagon for their highly anticipated rematch. During the challenger’s last visit to Montreal, he vowed to beat the Canadian on his home turn.
The champion made him eat his words.
Fresh off a training stint with boxing guru Freddie Roach, GSP stayed true to his word, battering Koscheck on the feet while mixing in a takedown here and there for a lopsided unanimous decision win.
The victory, St-Pierre’s eighth, came at the expense of Koscheck’s right eye, which was swollen shut midway through the fight.
Koscheck’s only significant spurt of offense: a takedown at the end of the opening round. From there, it was a Georges St-Pierre clinic in front of a raucous crowd at the Belle Center. The Pennsylvania native was at a total loss, unable to deal with St-Pierre’s jabs and low kicks.
The big right hand that would’ve been Koscheck’s key to victory caught nothing but air as St-Pierre consistently circled away from the blonde bomber’s right side.
In a show of class, the men embraced in the center of the cage after the final bell sounded. All three judges scored the fight 50-45.
St-Pierre likely faces UFC newcomer Jake Shields in his next defense.
Known primarily as a submission specialist, Stefan Struve is making a statement in the heavyweight division with his hands. After a three round war with veteran Paul Buentello captured the hearts of MMA fans everywhere, the “Skyscraper” once again used his hands en route to a TKO victory over previously undefeated Sean McCorkle.
McCorkle made the early first impression, elevating his 6’11 opponent for a hard slam on the mat. After a failed kimura attempt, McCorkle attempted to get to his feet to reign down shots from the top position. Another failed submission attempt allowed Struve to turn the tide and take a dominant position. From there, Struve unloaded a series of punches. Though the shots weren’t powerful, they were enough to force a stoppage. The official time of the bout was 3:55.
Jim Miller made it two for two for the family on the night, defeating UFC newcomer Charles Oliveira with a knee bar in the first round. The cagy Oliveira was scrappy on the feet and active when the bout hit the mat, transitioning from one submission attempt after another. When the pair scrambled, Miller grabbed a tight hold on Oliveira’s knee and twisted for dear life. The Brazilian delivered a couple body shots in an attempt to break the hold before finally tapping to the maneuver. The loss was Oliveira’s first professional blemish. Miller’s victory likely puts his name in the crowded lightweight title hunt.
Mac Danzig lived to fight another day, scoring his most impressive victory to date knocking out veteran fighter Joe “Daddy” Stevenson at 1:54 in the opening round. The pair started off swinging with Stevenson landing an overhand right to set the tempo. A second overhand right wobbled the Ultimate Fighter winner. A Stevenson charge was met with a stiff counter left hook from Danzig. The blow sent the father of four face first into the mat with referee Dave Mirgoliotta instantly halting the bout.
Thiago Alves rebounded from a summertime loss, using a balanced attack to defeat fellow heavy hitter John “Doomsday” Howard in the night’s opening main card bout. The “Pitbull” softened Howard up with leg kicks, which seemed to slow the usual hard hitting Howard. The Miami fighter secured a takedown in the second stanza
Dan Miller battled Joe Doerkson to a hard fought split decision. The men went back and forth for fifteen minutes, with Doerkson nearly finishing the fight in the second with a kimura. With the bout seemingly all even in the final frame, Miller took control, scoring an early takedown to control the final five minutes. The judges scored the bout 29-28, 28-29 and 29-28 for Miller.
Mark Bocek ruined Dustin Hazelett’s lightweight debut, earning a submission win via triangle at 2:33 in the first round. Bocek secured the hold after mounting Hazelett.
Rafael Natal and Jesse Bongfeldt fought to the rare majority draw. The judges scored it 28-28 twice and 29-28 for Natal.
Sean Pierson got the better of TUF alum Matt Riddle, earning 30-27 scores in the decision victory.
Ricardo Almeida got back in the win column, defeating TJ Grant via unanimous decision. All three judges gave the fight to Almeida by scores of 30-27.
In the night’s opening bout, John Makdessi earned a lopsided decision victory over Pat Audinwood. The judges scored the bout 30-27, 30-27 and 30-26.