UFC 129 Main Event: Will St. Pierre vs. Shields Live Up to the Hype?
With UFC 129 less than a week away, and with the UFC broadcasting UFC prime time for the past few weeks, there is great anticipation and hype leading up to the event. The main event specifically has been the main topic of conversation among MMA fans, as it has been showcased and promoted as one of the biggest fights of the year. And based on the their professional record and title pedigree, it would appear that the fight will be a highly competitive and entertaining spectacle. It is, after all the main event in UFC's first show since getting approved and licensed in Toronto.
Taking a closer look at these two fighters indicates that they both lean towards the more conservative and low-risk approach when applying their technique. Neither one of these fighters is considered to have serious striking power; in fact there are many question marks surrounding Jake Shield's standup game altogether. He isn't very comfortable and is vulnerable in the standup position and would much rather take the fight to the ground. GSP in contrast, is very good at using combination striking and has what many consider to be the best wrestling and takedowns in MMA today. Couple that with the fact that he is very good at controlling his opponent on the ground and all in all you have the ingredients for another drawn out five round decision victory for the Canadian.
Jake Shields does pose a threat on the ground as his noteable BJJ submission skills have have paved the way for his many victories. But GSP is known for studying his opponents game and coming up with a strategy that capitalizes on his opponents weaknesses while avoiding unnecessary risk. That being said, we could all be in store for another safety first approach by both of these fighters and ultimately a five round decision looks to be looking in the balance and will be the deciding factor in this bout.
With other notable superstars that include Jose Aldo, Randy Couture and Lyoto Machida also on the card, there is the potential for the main event to be overshadowed by other less promoted fights.
Randy Couture vs. Lyoto Machida
This fight is extremely important for both fighters, as Randy Couture has indicated that this could very possibly be his last fight in the octagon, and Lyoto Machida is coming off two losses in row. Both fighters will be very motivated as a result; having to prove to their doubters that they still belong in the organization.
Randy Couture has always shown up well prepared and conditioned for all of his UFC fights. He is also known to be a methodical game planner as he studies his opponent thoroughly and extrapolates their weaknesses from fight footage and tapes. Randy recently indicated that he did see "something" in Machida's game that he thinks he can capitalize on, in a recent UFC Primetime program. Couture has shocked the world and beaten heavily favoured fighters before in Gabriel Gonzaga and Tim Sylvia, he definitely has the potential to do the same against Machida if he imposes his will in the fight.
Machida on the other hand is coming off a very disputable decision loss against Quinton "Rampage" Jackson and now has consecutive losses in a previously unblemished UFC record. He will definitely want to avoid a judges decision in this fight, having already been a participant in two questionable decisions before (his loss against Rampage and his win against Shogun). He will be looking to end the fight with a knockout against Randy as soon as he can in the fight, and being the decision maker himself.
These two fighters have all the motivation they need to finish the fight before three rounds expire, and because of this I think it will be highly entertaining and the fans can expect to see a knockout.
Jose Aldo vs. Mark Hominick
Considered to be one of the best and arguably the best pound for pound fighter in MMA, the man often referred to as "The Anderson Silva of the featherweight division" Jose Aldo enters this fight as the undisputed champ and king of the division after his recent demolition of Urijah Faber. There can be no arguments with the fact that Jose Aldo is one of the most entertaining and explosive strikers in the UFC as highlighted by his eight second double flying knee knockout of Cub Swanson. Jose has showcased his very serious striking power and explosiveness in his fights; and his kicks in particular are his weapon of choice that he uses to break down his opponents.
ALdo's opponent, Mark Hominick is no slouch when it comes to knockout ability, as he utilizes his hands and boxing ability to beat down his opponents. Hominick, nicknamed "The Machine" for good reason; he has very impressive cardio and is always pushing the pace in his fights. In a recent interview broadcasted on UFC Primetime, Mark explains how he will go after Aldo and get him out of his comfort zone; something that no other fighter has done against him before.
Hominick will be playing with fire should he implement this tactic as Aldo's phenomenal striking can dramatically change the momentum of a fight with a single shot.
Don't blink for this one, there will be fireworks and someone is going to get knocked out. This fight will win the fight of the night as well as the knockout of the night honours.
GSP Decison Win and Aldo vs. Hominick Fight of the Night
As I have already mentioned, the GSP fight will most probably end up being a decision victory for either fighter. Shields will be avoiding GSP's striking and will be hesitant to engage him, as GSP will use his superior athleticism and quickness no move in and out of the pocket striking Jake and avoiding his takedowns. GSP on the other hand will look to avoid Jake's ground game and will also avoid risky positions. I see this fight ultimately being a replica of the GSP vs. Koshchek II, where George was able to stick and move and out strike Jake, who will have a frustrating night trying to catch him.
The Couture vs. Machida fight represents one fighter who wants to cement his legacy in Couture and another fighter who is in pursuit of title contention again in Machida. All this will culminate to an intense and entertaining fight.
The Jose Aldo vs Mark Hominick fight though will be the highlight fight in terms of entertainment and highlight reel footage. Look for this fight to be the best one on the card.