Kendall Grove def. Alan Belcher by Darce choke at 4:42 of the 2nd round. This was almost a one-sided affair. Kendall put forth such a well-rounded performance, that I am tempted to think he's the real deal. But he's not on the level of the top middleweights... and neither was his opponent. Good opening fight.
Middleweight Bout Yushin Okami vs. Mike Swick
Yushin Okami def. Mike Swick by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27). Outside of a final flurry in the closing seconds of the 2nd round, Swick was just overmatched. The 1st round was pretty even until an Okami takedown. The 2nd round had a couple more Okami takedowns. Finally, in the 3rd round, Okami took down Swick and didn't lay off. In fact, for nearly three straight minutes, Okami was in full mount. For whatever reason (the UFC "Golden Boy" rule), the ref let the fight keep going and going while Swick got his ass handed to him. It was ground-and-pound for so long, that even Joe Rogan tried to question why the fight hadn't been stopped. Swick was the hometown boy, and it was fun to watch him be exposed. He's good... just not as good as the UFC wants us to think he is. Okami is the real deal.
Lightweight Bout Roger Huerta vs. Leonard Garcia
Roger Huerta def. Leonard Garcia by Unanimous Decision (30-27). Great fight, very fun. Huerta and Garcia shared a nice moment after the fight was over.
Welterweight Bout Diego Sanchez vs. Josh Koscheck
Josh Koscheck def. Diego Sanchez by Unanimous Decision (30-27). The nightmare is over. This fight sucked, plain and simple. Koscheck at least brought some personality to it. He was pushing the whole fight from the start, and didn't let up on Diego. Sanchez looked like a nobody in there. Good for Koscheck. Diego was too cautious for someone who still hasn't earned a title shot and possibly won't for quite some time after this loss.
UFC Welterweight Championship Georges St-Pierre vs. Matt Serra
Matt Serra def. Georges St-Pierre by TKO at 3:25 of round 1. WOW! Who in the world saw THIS coming? Not only did Serra knock out St-Pierre, but he did it in the first round!! Amazing to watch! Serra wasn't even surprised that he won so easily either. He will likely make his reign as champion as fun to watch as he did the 4th season of Ultimate Fighter. Serra is the "Rudy" of ultimate fighting, and damn... what a way to win the belt!
This was a night of upsets.
And yes, Matt Serra is now your new UFC Welterweight champion. You read that correctly.
I would've bet a million bucks on GSP not just winning, but destroying Serra. What a shocker. That has to rank right up there among the biggest upsets in MMA history. It was funny to see Matt Hughes as the second-most excited man in the building after Serra, since it now means that Hughes will now get his rematch against Serra instead of having to face another beating against St. Pierre.
What next for GSP? Perhaps a fight with Koscheck to decide the next contender to Hughes/Serra. You've got to give it up to St. Pierre, however, for being a class act and praising Serra after the fight -- none of Tim Sylvia's "I was injured" bullshit.
I figured Okami would win in spite of the hometown advantage for Swick, and win he did. This win doesn't get Okami a title shot, but it will probably net him a couple of what I call 'grooming' fights (i.e. against tough but beatable opponents) as he is prepared for a title match in early 2008. I'd say earlier, but Silva still had Marquardt in June and the rematch with Rich Franklin to get through.
Diego should be ashamed with himself. What a pathetic showing. You can't blame Koscheck for not getting more aggressive, since he knew he was winning the fight with what little he did and his nature as a conservative fighter makes him less likely to take wild risks. But Diego....fuck, he had to know he was losing after the first two rounds, yet he still went out there and hung back in the third. You'd figure a man's pride would make him elevate his game, rather than getting decisioned to lose his unbeaten streak to his arch-rival. He should've spent less time arranging his ring entrance and more time working on his standup.
Overall, not a bad event, with Huerta's fight being the clear slobberknocker that was necessary to push the night above 'average' status.
I don't know what is more disquieting -- the fact that the rest of the statue is missing, or that it has four toes.