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Georges St. Pierre dominant in unanimous decision victory at UFC 111

Carwin scores first-round victory against Las Vegan Frank Mir

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Gregory Payan / AP

UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre, top, in action against Dan Hardy during their match at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., on Saturday, March 27, 2010. St. Pierre methodically defeated Hardy by a unanimous, five-round decision in the main event of UFC 111 and retained his welterweight belt.

UFC 111: GSP, Carwin Victorious

Shane Carwin nabs the interim heavyweight belt after his KO of Frank Mir in the first round, while Georges St. Pierre maintains his welterweight title.

St. Pierre v. Hardy

UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre, top, in action against Dan Hardy during their match at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., on Saturday, March 27, 2010.  St. Pierre methodically defeated Hardy by a unanimous, five-round decision in the main event of UFC 111 and retained his welterweight belt. Launch slideshow »

Mir v. Carwin

Shane Carwin, right, in action against Frank Mir during their heavyweight match at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., on Saturday, March 27, 2010.  Carwin won at 3:28 of the first round to take the UFC interim heavyweight title. Launch slideshow »

UFC 111

England's Dan Hardy is interviewed by Joe Rogan after making weight on Friday, March 26, 2010, at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., in advance of his UFC 111 fight against  Canadian welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre. Launch slideshow »

NEWARK, N.J. — Dan Hardy said all he needed to do was land one good punch to take the UFC welterweight title away from Georges St. Pierre.

Armed with possibly the best takedowns in the UFC, St. Pierre didn't give Hardy that chance.

The Canadian champion put on a dominant performance to a sold-out crowd in the Prudential Center Saturday night, dominating Hardy through every round and nearly submitting him multiple times.

It was St. Pierre's fourth consecutive title defense and second straight unanimous decision win.

"I apologize to my fans because I wanted to finish this fight," said St. Pierre, immediately following the fight. "I'm a professional and I always want to finish my fights."

It's not like he didn't try.

It looked as though the fight was headed to a swift conclusion in the first round, as St. Pierre took Hardy's back and nearly sank in a rear-naked choke.

Hardy managed to escape that only to fall into an armbar later in the round which had many of the fans inside the packed arena cringing.

But no matter what submission attempt St. Pierre was able to put Hardy into, the British fighter escaped.

"I thought he was made of rubber," St. Pierre said. "It's a win but I'm not very happy with myself. I did a lot of stupid technical mistakes. I wanted to avoid fighting where my opponent was the strongest and fight him where he was weakest which is on the ground. But he was a lot better there than I thought he was."

Hardy was determined to not throw in the towel.

"(That is) one thing I do have above everything else," Hardy said. "I might lack technicality. I might lack strength. But I don't quit. I don't give up. I don't know the meaning of tap."

While Hardy came up short in his upset bid, the night wasn't without surprise.

Undefeated heavyweight Shane Carwin continued his trend of never fighting into the second round, knocking out a slightly favored Frank Mir in the first round of their interim title fight.

The win earned Carwin the next shot at heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar, who is coming back from an intestinal illness that nearly ended his fighting career.

"It was a good fight," said Lesnar, who sat ringside for the event. "But you're still wearing a make-believe belt. That's the wrong belt you're wearing."

Carwin was quick to agree.

"That's why I'm coming after it," he said.

The two heavyweights are likely to meet this summer in Las Vegas.

Here are some highlights from UFC 111.

Dan Hardy (23-7) vs. Georges St. Pierre (20-2)

Round One: St. Pierre throws one jab and takes Hardy down immediately in first 20 seconds of fight. Crowd chanting GSP as he works into Hardy's half guard. Hardy latches on to St. Pierre's neck trying to avoid shots, but St. Pierre passes his guard and moves into side control. Hardy tries to get up but he ends up leaving his back exposed and St. Pierre takes it with over three minutes to go. Hardy works out of it though and gets back to his feet but he's not even able to get his full balance before St. Pierre takes him down again. St. Pierre passes guard again and moves into full mount. Hardy in a tough spot here with over a minute to go. Hardy gives up his back again and now he transitions to the armbar. It looked like it was over, but Hardy squirms out and gives him a smile instead to finish the round.

Round Two:Hardy smiles again at St. Pierre in between rounds. Good leg kick lands for St. Pierre. Hardy looks for the big shot in a counter left but just misses. St. Pierre goes for the single leg and takes Hardy down again. St. Pierre looks to pass his guard and does, moving into side control. St. Pierre goes for Hardy's back and has it again, but Hardy reverses it and puts St. Pierre's back to the ground for the first time. St. Pierre pushes him off and gets back to his feet, where Hardy wants the fight anyway. Hardy throws a hard head kick that blocks away. St. Pierre lands a right hook and Hardy laughs and sticks out his tongue. St. Pierre fakes a jab, goes low for the takedown and body slams Hardy to the ground again with 30 seconds left. A better round for Hardy than the first, but still owned by St. Pierre.

Round Three: Hardy throws a straight right to start the round but St. Pierre ducks right under it and gets another easy takedown. Hardy trying to land strikes from his back now with St. Pierre in his guard. St. Pierre standing up now over Hardy and lands a good left elbow. Now a hard right hand. Two more left hands and Hardy is covering his left eye like it was poked. His left eye is clearly bothering him as he tries to tie up St. Pierre from the bottom. Hardy tries to take St. Pierre's arm but he can't get it and St. Pierre ends up in side control. Hardy does everything he can to squirm to his feet but St. Pierre is right back on top of him, dragging him to the ground with a minute to go. Thirty seconds left, St. Pierre takes his back but still can't quite finish the fight.

Round Four: Round starts exactly the same as the last, with Hardy throwing a right hand, St. Pierre ducking under and getting the takedown. He quickly moves into full mount this time and Hardy gives up his back. Hardy nearly wrestles out of it to a clean break but again St. Pierre's strength is too much and he's put on his back. Crowd begins to chant 'Hardy sucks' as St. Pierre keeps him down on his back with his legs over his head against the cage. St. Pierre moves to side control and a kimura . He's cranking it hard but Hardy refuses to tap. Still 90 seconds to go and it doesn't look like Hardy can get out of this. St. Pierre is even looking over to his corner for advice with Hardy unable to move. Hardy breaks his arm into better position but he's still in a terrible spot with St. Pierre over him in side control. St. Pierre finishes round with ground and pound and to continue the shutout.

Final Round: St. Pierre lands a straight left to open the round before taking Hardy down yet again. St. Pierre transitions to side control and he's looking hard for a way to finish this fight. Nice left lands for St. Pierre from top position. St. Pierre on top and calmly looks over to his corner to talk over strategy. One minute to go and Hardy is able to get to his feet only to be thrown immediately back down. St. Pierre can't get the finish but he dominates every round of the fight for the unanimous decision.

Shane Carwin (12-0) vs. Frank Mir (13-5)

Round One: Both fighters feeling each other out early herein the co-main event. Mir comes forward first with a left and right and Carwin ducks under and shoves him up against the fence. Carwin lands a few punches with his right hand as Mir is pinned up. Carwin lands another series of right hands. Referee breaks it up with 3:00 to go after lack of action in the clinch. Mir comes forward with a flurry but Carwin shows good head movement and looks to counter. Carwin lands a few left uppercuts with Mir's back to the cage and Mir goes down to his knees. Carwin flattens him out starts to rain down punches and Mir is done. The end comes at 3:28 of first round, Carwin winner by knockout.

Fabricio Camoes (10-5-1) vs. Kurt Pellegrino (21-4)

Round One: Camoes goes for the immediate single leg takedown. Pellegrino defends it but Camoes gets the takedown when he spins and flips Pellegrino over by the arm. Pellegrino seems surprised by that move as Camoes transitions straight to his back. Pellegrino stands up with Camoes latched to his back and Camoes sinks in a rear naked. It looks very deep. Pellegrino said before the fight he's done tapping and he doesn't here. He throws himself down, flings Camoes off his back and now he has the rear naked choke. Cames breaks the choke but is stuck on his back with Pellegrino in side control. Pellegrino works his ground and pound to the end of an exciting round.

Round Two: Camoes gets things going with the left jab but gets quickly taken down. Pellegrino looks to take his back but is unsuccessful and Camoes gets to his feet. Camoes throws a wild right haymaker that misses and leaves him open to another takedown. Pellegrino goes to work from top position and now moves to the full mount. Camoes gets out of the position but Pellegrino wrestles him up against the cage in another bad spot. Camoes works to his feet but Pellegrino has his head trapped and he lands a nice left knee that puts Camoes back on the ground. He moves to his back and sinks in the rear naked and it's done. Pellegrino very impressive in this one, gets the second-round win via submission.

Ben Saunders (8-2-2) vs. Jon Fitch (25-3)

Round One: Fighters touch gloves at center of octagon. Good leg kicklands for Fitch as Saunders came in with a left hand. The two clinch and work to the cage with Fitch's back against the fence. Fitch able to drag down Saunders for the first takedown of the round. Fitch doing what he does best as he controls the fight from top position. Saunders is able to land a few upkicks when Fitch stands over him but it's mostly Fitch doing just enough from top position to not hurt Saunders but win the round.

Round Two: Saunders comes forward with a combination and Fitch ducks under and pushes him to a clinch against the cage. Now Fitch picks him up and slams him and goes right back to his top position. Crowd begins to boo heavily as Fitch stays on top but not creating a ton of offense. Cell phones are being checked. Texts are being sent. Fitch lands a few good left hands out of Saunders's guard. Now a few good elbows that have bloodied Sanders's nose. Referee stands up the fight with one minute to go. Saunders comes forward aggressively, Fitch ducks a punch and clinches again until end of round.

Round Three: Round three and Saunders needs to do his best to stay off his back these five minutes. Fitch lets his hands go, throws a few knees and then goes for the takedown against the fence. Fighters still in a clinch with 3:30 to go and referee separates them. Fitch takes it immediately back to the clinch though and lands a few left uppercuts as Saunders is pinned up. Saunders gets the break, looks to land something but Fitch gets the better of the exchange, landing a straight right that puts Saunders on his back. Fitch follows him there and goes back to work from top position with 1:45 remaining. Fitch dominates from there the rest of the way but can't finish the fight. He wins the lopsided unanimous decision.

Mark Bocek (8-3) vs. Jim Miller (17-2)

Round One: Miller lands the first good shot of the fight with a right hook. Bocek shoots for a takedown but Miller sprawls and stays on his feet. Bocek still with a grip on Miller's right leg and still looking for the takedown. Miller works for a guillotine choke but couldn't get the grip and he ends up on his back. Miller works back to his feet with three minutes to go and the two fighters move into a clinch against the fence. Bocek breaks off and they move back towards the center of the octagon. Bocek shoots, picks up Miller and slams him down away from the fence. Miller is a dangerous fighter from his back and goes for Bocek's arm in a kimura hold. Miller close to ending the fight here but Bocek rips the arm free and finishes the round on his back.

Round Two: Bocek goes for an early takedown again and gets the slam. Bocek looking to pass Miller's guard here and does, moving to side control. Miller puts him back in closed guard quickly. Miller transitions to a leg lock when but Bocek rolls out of it. Now Bocek works some good ground and pound and ends up taking Miller's back with two minutes left in the round. There is a huge gash on Bocek's forehead but he's still dominating this second round. Bocek is really looking for the rear naked choke and with 10 seconds left, Miller stands with Bocek still on his back and forward slams him into the ground. Looks like a tie score headed into the final round.

Round Three: Miller was pumped up between rounds, raising his arms to the crowd. Miller feints a jab and lands a good right uppercut. Good leg kick lands for Miller. One minute into round Bocek goes for the takedown but there's not much on it and Miller sprawls and stays upright. Both fighters jabbing but neither landing much. Bocek shoots again and Miller backs up to the cage. Bocek still going for single leg takedown but it's a no go and Miller lands a couple good knees in a row. Bocek not giving up on the single leg. He looks to trip the other leg, Miller goes down but is able to spin around and stay in the clinch. Bocek stays with it and drags Miller down with 30 seconds left in the fight. Not much from either fighter the rest of the way. Miller squeaks out a unanimous decision win with three scores of 29-28.

Rory Markham (16-5) vs. Nate Diaz (11-5)

Round One: Diaz blocks a jab from Markham and comes forward but Markham rotates away. Markham throws a hard right head kick that Diaz blocks. Diaz lets Markham comes to him and counters effectively. Diaz lands a good knee and Markham covers up and goes to the ground. Diaz moves to his back while he’s curled up. Diaz landing some nice head shots from Markham’s back and doesn’t even seem to be looking for the choke. Markham continues to cover up and referee Keith Peterson has to step in to end the fight. First round TKO for Diaz in his move up to welterweight.

Matt Brown (13-8) vs. Ricardo Almeida (12-3)

Round One: Almeida ducks under a punch and goes right for the takedown. Brown backs up to the cage and stays on his feet. Almeida still going for the takedown up against the fence and drags Brown down still in the first minute of the fight. Brown does a nice job of using the fence to help him get to his feet, but Almeida is smothering him against the cage and giving the striker no room to get his game going. Crowd starts to boo as neither fighter getting much done against the cage and referee breaks them apart with two minutes to go. Almeida goes immediately for the takedown again, Brown backs to the cage and they’re right where they were a moment ago. Almeida lands a few good elbows from the clinch but for the most part not much action here in the first round.

Round Two: Brown comes out to the middle of the octagon and Almeida again looks for the takedown. He gets it, but Brown easily backs up to the fence and uses it to get back to his feet. It’s back to where most of the first round was fought, with Brown’s back against the cage but Almeida unable to get him down. He gets him down for a moment but Brown is quickly back to his feet. Crowd begins to boo for the second round in a row. Again the referee steps in to break it up. Brown comes forward with a leg kick but Almeida gets the better of the exchange with a straight right that opens a cut over Brown’s left eye. Almeida looks to take his back and Brown is trying to back up to the cage to prevent it. Almeida moves into position though and sinks in the rear naked choke. Slow fight turned in a second with that straight right from Almeida, he takes the second round submission win.

Tomasz Drwal (17-3) vs. Rousimar Palhares (20-2)

Round One: Drwal slips on a kick attempt and that’s all it takes. Palhares goes right for the heel hook and Drwal taps immediately. That’s Palhares’s move, he’s won two straight now with that submission. Palhares wins via submission in first round.

Jared Hamman (12-2) vs. Rodney Wallace (9-2)

Round One: Wallace fakes a takedown and then nearly lands a huge right hook. That would have been early trouble for Hamman. Hamman throws a kick, Wallace catches and takes him down easily. Hamman foolishly tries to get up with Wallace still holding one of his legs and he gets caught with an overhand right. He’s survives though and Wallace puts him into a clinch against the cage. The clinch breaks and Wallace going right after him. He’s chasing him around the octagon landing hooks but Hamman shows a ton of durability. The scramble ends with Hamman’s back to the fence as he’s working to stay on his feet. Wallace looks tired from going after Hamman early. His hands are down and Hamman lands a head kick with two minutes still to go. That shot shook Wallace but he ‘s able to get back to his feet after Hamman takes him down. Both fighters exchanging now against the cage. An action-packed first round finally comes to an end.

Round Two Wallace gets the early momentum of the round again, landing a clean uppercut to start the action. He works for the takedown and gets it and it’s clear he’s the more tired of the two. Hamman gets to his feet and now trips Wallace for the takedown. Hamman looking to posture up and work his ground and pound. Wallace reverses the position and gets on top but Hamman is still landing the more effective strikes with his back to the mat. Hamman gets up to his feet twice but both times Wallace gets low and takes him back to the ground. Wallace rolls into an triangle choke from his back but Hamman breaks it and crashes down with a hard right. Hamman stays on top the rest of the round and lands more than a few good elbows. Wallace looks exhausted.

Round Three: Wallace goes for the takedown early in the third round. He gets Hamman to the ground but Hamman uses the momentum of the fall to reverse it and put Wallace on his back. Hamman works Wallace up against the fence and will look to finish the fight right here. Wallace shows heart though and gets back to his feet and comes up swinging. Now Wallace catches a kick and lands another straight left and then a body slam. Hamman showing good wrestling here, working around Wallace and reclaiming top position. Hamman works into side control and lands a few hard knees to Wallace’s ribcage. Hamman wins by unanimous decision.

Greg Soto (7-1) vs. Matthew Riddle (4-1)

Round One: Soto stalking Riddle here in opening moments. He lets his hands down for a second when Riddle doesn't engage and his corner yells at him to keep them up. Soto throws a big right hand that grazes Riddle's chin and then looks for the takedown. Riddle working to stay on his feet and after a scramble he does. Riddle comes forward with a right uppercut. Soto again goes for the takedown but Riddle defends. Riddle puts Soto's back against the fence in a clinch and looks to land knees to his midsection. He lands a big one and Soto looks off-balance. Riddle lets his hands go but Soto able to clinch back up. Fighters stay in the clinch for solid minute until Riddle ends up taking Soto to the ground right before round ends.

Round Two: Soto goes for an early single leg takedown but Riddle defends again. He puts Soto back into the clinch against the fence and looks to land another one of those knees that rocked him in the first round. Riddle wrestles him to the ground but he needs to be careful as Soto's strength is his submission game. Riddle lands a good right elbow as Soto tries to move into rubber guard. Soto creates some space and is nearly able to get back to his feet but Riddle wrestles him back down. Soto using all his energy to get back up and he finally does, using the cage for help. Riddle is right on him though, shoving him into the face and now takes him back down. Soto gets back to his feet though and lands a big elbow, hook combination that staggers Riddle. Riddle gets low for the takedown and gets through the round.

Round Three: It's Riddle this time who goes for the early takedown and Soto defends. Soto lands a hard shot as Riddle gets too aggressive, but Riddle is able to turn to that wrestling base and take down Soto yet again. Soto going for rubber guard, Riddle pulls out and now Soto throws a vicious illegal upkick that knocks Riddle out cold. Riddle is out. He wakes up and is asking what happened. On replay it doesn't look like it was an intentional move from Soto, he looked clearly upset with himself for the shot. Doctors are looking at Riddle and now they wave it off. Riddle ends up winning the fight by disqualification.

Brett Okamoto can be reached at 948-7817 or [email protected]. Also follow him on twitter: LVSunFighting.

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