Wayne’s Walk Back Into Time
Georges “Rush” St-Pierre vs “The Prodigy” BJ Penn 1
Article courtesy of Wayne Carl of NickPortellaMMA.com and MMA Freaks
UFC 58 USA v Canada
On March the 4th 2006 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States future UFC legends of the sport would face off in the Octagon. Georges “Rush” St Pierre (11-1) at this stage had only lost to the then-champion Matt Hughes. That loss was followed by 4 straight wins over some impressive fighters most notably Sean “The Muscle Shark” Sherk and Jason “Mayhem” Miller.
“The Prodigy” BJ Penn was still at his most dangerous, carrying with him his own 3 fight winning streak (coming off Matt Hughes beating him in their rematch). He also had defeated great fighters like Joe “Daddy” Stevenson and Jens “Little Evil” Pulver. Would Georges St-Pierre’s MMA wrestling mixed in with his karate-based style be able to handle the BJJ expert and very well-rounded icon from Hawaii? The winner would get a shot at Matt Hughes’s Welterweight UFC title! History will show this fight would end in a contentious split decision!
As in previous editions of “Wayne’s Walk Back Into Time”, I will look to re-watch, re-score, and re-cap this memorable UFC mixed martial arts clash.
** Please note the fight is re-watched without commentary. Below I will provide significant moments and a score round by round.
** The crowd is right behind the former champion Penn.
** Herb Dean the referee in charge.
** Penn comes out hard and stalks GSP.
** Nice overhand right GSP.
** GSP with inside leg kicks–no real power behind them.
** Penn lands a nice punch-looks like his thumb went straight into GSP’s eye.
** GSP bleeding badly from his eye area.
** Left inside leg kicks with no real punch behind them for GSP.
** Penn coming forward and is the definite aggressor.
** Penn lands a hook that grazes GSP’s nose and it bleeds immediately.
** GSP is a bloody mess.
** Penn taking octagon control.
** Head feints and movement from the hips up from Penn as he stands flat-footed loading up his shots.
** Excellent spinning back kick GSP.
** Penn cutting off the ring and isn’t deterred by GSP’s distance kicking.
** Counter left-hand punch by Penn uses it to gain a clinch.
** GSP reverses the situation and wins the grappling game against the cage.
** Great takedown defense Penn.
** Under hooks gained by Penn.
** GSP using his kicks to control Penn’s distance. Not enough power in them at the moment. That nose must be hurt.
** Hard right hook by Penn–the power is evident.
** Penn standing in the pocket–GSP must gain his respect early next round.
** They exchange hand combinations.
Score: 10-9 Penn. (Octagon control, power and damage all to Penn. GSP is a mess, lacking power in his shots)
** GSP’s nose clearly broken.
** Straight out of the gate GSP comes out with a lot more power in his attacks.
** GSP landing hard low leg kicks.
** Back leg attack from GSP. His power has risen dramatically.
** Takedown to GSP, change of game plan.
** Penn pulls full guard.
** Penn the BJJ black belt comfortable off his back.
** GSP postures up and lands some brutal ground and pound.
** GSP stands back up, kicking a downed Penn to the thigh.
** GSP launches back into Penn’s guard.
** Penn uses butterfly guard and pops straight back up.
** Octagon control now with GSP–much more aggressive.
** Combination punches exchanged. GSP punching straighter and now hitting harder than Penn.
** Grappling against the cage controlled by GSP.
** Penn wanting to stand flat footed and bang.
** GSP’s movement and footwork starting to control the fight.
** Hard high roundhouse head kick via GSP.
** Left-right punch combination, into a grapple, finished with a hard knee-great work GSP.
** More clinches and grappling against the cage.
** Penn defensive this round.
** Hard elbow on the break to GSP. Penn leaving his head on the center line now that he is fatigued.
** Penn wanting GSP to stand and trade in the pocket.
** GSP’s length and kicking game plan unsettling Penn.
** Another under hook battle with both unable to secure both under hooks at once.
** Takedown GSP.
** Penn’s guard defence is elite as he limits the damage.
Score: 10-9 GSP. (Clear round for GSP, better striking, more powerful shots landed, and takedowns secured it)
** Third and final round.
** Must be 1-1.
** GSP lands the first hard shot with an unchecked leg kick.
** Snapping left hook to GSP.
** GSP has taken the center of the cage.
** Penn still not getting off the center line and is open to counters now fatigue has set in.
** Penn not throwing punches and swivelling out of the pocket. Throws and watches his work.
** Grappling against the cage. GSP the stronger competitor.
** 1-2 punch combinations traded.
** Penn with heel kicks in the clinch.
** GSP drops for a single leg–pursues it relentlessly.
** GSP switches to a double leg, locks his hands together, picks Penn up and slams him hard on the mat.
** Elbows from the bottom for Penn.
** GSP posturing up and dropping his own elbows.
** Penn working his butterfly guard.
** Penn uses his feet against GSP’s hips to get back to a standing position.
** GSP ties up Penn’s arms and pins him against the Cage.
** Penn now attempting a takedown.
** GSP bleeding profusely.
** Penn completes a takedown.
** GSP showing off his cardio gets straight back up.
** Grappling battle with under and over hooks swapped.
** Wild punches exchanged.
** Both men stand and trade in the pocket.
** GSP lands another takedown–huge–did that secure the fight?
** Penn working from the bottom.
** GSP busy from top position with ground and pound.
** Penn looking for a late submission with a shoulder lock–doesn’t secure it.
Score: 10-9 GSP. (GSP was a lot more active, landed the harder shots and his takedowns secured the round)
Final Score 29-28 Georges St-Pierre.
Under no circumstances should it have been a split. A clear 29-28 points decision to Georges “Rush” St-Pierre.
The judges scores:
Nelson Hamilton Cecil Peoples Marcos Rosales
29-28 GSP 29-28 Penn 29-28 GSP
Georges St Pierre would go on to be (in my opinion and many others) the greatest MMA exponent in the history of the sport we love. He would amass a record of 26-2, his two blemishes have been avenged. He is the modern day pin up boy of honor, respect, and warrior spirit.
BJ Penn’s career like many before him would nose dive in the following years. Wins over Kenny Florian, Diego Sanchez and a trilogy win over Matt Hughes were overshadowed by 7 losses. He is on a current 6 fight losing streak. Georges St-Pierre and BJ Penn would share the octagon for another fight–with Georges St-Pierre taking another win via a TKO.
Until the next edition……