George St. Pierre defended his welterweight title vs Jake Shields

May 3, 2011 6:06 AM

The biggest crowd in UFC history assembled at the Rogers Center in Toronto Ontario to see George St. Pierre defend his welterweight title against Jake Shields, and witness what may have been Randy Couture’s final fight in the octagon.

But it was the co-main event between heavily favored Jose Aldo and Ontario native Mark Hominick, for Aldo’s featherweight title that stole the show. The four-time Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Champion and current UFC title holder came into the bout 18-1 and without a loss since 2005.

Aldo had outclassed both former WEC Champions Uriah Faber and Mike Brown in previous fights and bookmakers had him as high as -550 to beat Hominick. The contender hadn’t lost in three years and was unbeaten in the UFC. Nicknamed "the machine," Hominick came to fight and held his own for five full rounds against a fighter many MMA experts consider one of the top three pound-for-pound fighters in the world.

It appeared the fight would be stopped after an Aldo elbow created a huge hematoma on the head of Hominick but referee John McCarthy and the ringside physician allowed it to continue. To the delight of the fans, the home-grown product had top-control for most of the final round but couldn’t force a referee stoppage after ringing down blows on what appeared to be an exhausted Aldo.

In the end, the heavy favorite won a unanimous decision but it does appear that at the UFC level the competition will be much stiffer than before.

In what may very well have been Randy "The Natural" Couture’s final fight inside the octagon, the heavily favored (-340) Lyoto "Dragon" Machida made his entourage which consisted of actor and martial arts practitioner Steven Seagal proud by finishing the fight in the second round.

Couture tied Matt Hughes for the most UFC appearances at 24 but the legend just couldn’t get anything going against Machida. This was a huge fight for Lyoto after back to back loses in the UFC, but beating the five-time champion and Hall of Fame fighter in electrifying fashion puts him right back in the mix at 205 lbs.

The main-event between Georges St. Pierre and Jake Shields was billed as the "biggest threat" to GSP’s title to date. Once again the UFC did a masterful job of promoting the fight as one that was extremely dangerous for St. Pierre. In fact, Shields came in on a 15-fight win streak and hadn’t lost since Dec. of 2004.

The Cesar Gracie brazilian jiu-jitsu protégé and former Strikeforce middleweight champion was making only his second appearance in the UFC after a less than impressive split-decision victory in his first fight against Mark Kampmann. Even though odds makers made GSP an overwhelming favorite at -500 but the betting public bought into the hype and actually forced an adjustment down to -380 just days before the event.

But after the weigh-in on Friday, sharp bettors went ahead and laid the heavy chalk on GSP and forced the books to adjust back up to -500, where the fight went off. Although Shields was known as a submission specialist, his prior three fights had gone to a decision and he was unable to attempt even one submission on GSP.

In fact, the champ put Shields on the defensive throughout the entire fight by backing him up with jabs and over-hand rights that staggered Shields at times. St. Pierre had an eight-fight win streak coming in and was in the 11th title fight of his career. He complained of not being able to see out of his left eye at the close of the second round but his corner, including the master strategist Greg Jackson calmed GSP down and made him focus on staying out of harms way and coasting to what amounted to an easy unanimous decision.

In other fights, former WEC champ Ben Henderson received a unanimous decision after judges scored all three rounds in his favor against Toronto native Mark Bocek. Then late replacement Jake Ellenberger who took his fight on two weeks notice made quick work of Sean Pierson, while former Belarus & Russian Wrestling Champion Vladimir Matyushenko ko’d Jason Brilz only 20 seconds into the 1st round.

Finally, another member of the "scrap pack" and Cesar Gracie disciple Nate Diaz also fell victim to a unanimous decision as Rory McDonald showed he is definitely a prospect at 170 lbs.