When the first fight of an event the magnitude of UFC 129 begins with a flying triangle choke victory, are there any doubts that we were in for a great night of action?
UFC 129 was arguably one of the greatest—if not the greatest— event the history of mixed martial arts.
That statement was true up until around 10:45 CST.
For nearly six hours, mixed martial arts fans around the world were treated to 11 outstanding fights. We saw a slew of knockout victories, the end of one of the greatest careers in the history of mixed martial arts, the aforementioned flying triangle choke, the comeback of two fallen champions, the emergence of a new featherweight star and a "Janitor" prove that he still has plenty of fight left in him.
Then George St-Pierre and Jake Shields entered the Octagon.
For a painful-to-watch 25 minutes, we saw a current champion and a former champion participate in a very disappointing fight that had the fans in attendance leaving before the bout was over.
St-Pierre, to his credit, did try to end the fight on a couple of occasions. Well, that's if you consider going right-hand happy after landing with it once attempting to end a fight.
For the rest of the fight, St-Pierre was content on throwing out his jab, just as he did in his match against Josh Koscheck, and getting a couple of brief takedowns.
Not all the blame can be put on St-Pierre. It takes two to tango, and Shields wasn't doing his part.
After trying to get the fight to the ground early, Shields looked gun shy and a bit lost in the cage. Shields knew his best chance of winning this fight was to get it to the ground.
After the second round, he even asked his corner about pulling guard to get the fight to his world. His corner replied "not yet."
The time to attempt pulling guard never came.
Instead, Shields seemed content to miss with a majority of his punches and land a few decent leg kicks until the fight finally came to an end.
Neither St-Pierre nor Shields seemed eager to end the fight in a spectacular way. St-Pierre seemed content with skating by with is superior boxing abilities, and Shields seemed content on making it to the final bell.
Had this bout had a concussive or submission ending, there would be little doubt that UFC 129 may have been looked at as the defining event in the sport's history. Unfortunately, this opportunity was squandered by George St-Pierre and Jake Shields.
Instead, it will be remembered as another solid card put on by the UFC.