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UFC Notebook: Georges St. Pierre had ‘perfect’ training camp

Xtreme Couture Toronto has a special guest this week

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ASSOCIATED PRESS

Welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre, left, and challenger Jake Shields face off for a photo opportunity in advance of their UFC 129 Main Event bout Saturday in Toronto at the Rogers Centre.

UFC 129 preview

KSNV advance coverage of UFC 129, featuring Randy Couture's final fight, in Toronto, April 27, 2011.

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TORONTO — Proclaiming a training camp before a fight the best ever is overused in mixed martial arts, but Georges St. Pierre is adamant it’s true headed into his UFC 129 Main Event bout against Jake Shields.

St. Pierre described his workouts in the last few months as “perfect” at the Direct Energy Centre during the UFC 129 press conference Wednesday.

“What I mean by that is that I’ve done everything that I could have done to be on the top of my game,” St. Pierre said. “To make an analogy: It’s like when you play golf. I had the perfect swing, I hit the ball, and now the ball is in the air. There is nothing more I can do to be more well-prepared and be more in shape than I did right now.”

St. Pierre, the UFC welterweight champion who is 21-2 and winner of eight straight, has sought out the best help he can find in a number of areas. For the second straight fight, he worked with renowned boxing coach Freddie Roach in Los Angeles. He also traveled to London to practice Brazilian jiu-jitsu with Roger Gracie, who is considered one of the foremost experts in the submission wrestling technique.

The recent Spike series UFC Primetime: St. Pierre vs. Shields has also shown him working with an Olympic sprinter and world-class gymnasts.

“The reason why I’m doing gymnastics is very simple,” St. Pierre said. “If you take any athlete in every sport and make them compete against each other in sports or other activities, the one that will have the most success is the gymnastics people. Nobody can reproduce the movement of gymnastics guys, but gymnastics can reproduce the movement of everyone.”

St. Pierre’s training techniques have gotten the attention of Shields, who said he had watched UFC Primetime to keep up with what his opponent was doing.

“Everything he does, he takes seriously,” Shields said. “He’s a phenomenal athlete.”

Randy Couture comfortable in Canada

St. Pierre and co-main event fighter Mark Hominick, who is from nearby London, Ontario, Canada, might not be the only ones to enjoy a home-field advantage in the feature bouts of UFC 129.

Randy Couture said he felt at home in Toronto on Wednesday. It helps that the largest city in Canada is home to one of his Xtreme Couture gyms.

“It’s been very, very nice,” Couture said. “It’s kind of home away from home with my own cage, my own space there.”

Couture arrived in Toronto on Tuesday afternoon and by night, he was at his gym for the first workout session on the road.

The gym is located a convenient eight miles from the Rogers Centre and not much farther from the Direct Energy Centre, where most of the activities leading up to fight night are held.

“I’ve been coming to Toronto for a few years now,” Couture said. “I’ve always had a great, warm reception.”

Jon Jones out with hand injury

Although two champions are on the UFC 129 card, plenty of chatter Wednesday surrounded a third — light heavyweight king Jon Jones.

Earlier this week, Jones announced he was out for a few months while recovering from torn tissue in his right hand. After beating Shogun Rua to win the title, Jones was supposed to face former teammate Rashad Evans in his first title defense.

That bout is now off and Evans will instead face fast-rising prospect Phil Davis on August 6 at UFC 133 in Philadelphia.

“This is an injury that’s been recurring since I was a college wrestler. It doesn’t affect my punching or grappling, but I am taking the time and the proper measures to correct this now, so it doesn’t happen again,” Jones said in a statement. “I look forward to getting back to training and to my first title defense. As for Rashad, let’s see what happens with Phil Davis. I will be watching that fight with great interest.”

Jones is scheduled to arrive in Toronto later this week, as the UFC will hold a ceremony with all seven current belt holders preceding Friday’s UFC 129 weigh-in.

“The Ultimate Fighter” results

Team Brock Lesnar moved to within one fight of Team Junior Dos Santos on Wednesday night's episode of "TUF."

Clay Harvison, a 30-year-old from Atlanta, used striking to defeat 26-year-old Mick Bowman from London. Harvison won a unanimous decision, as all the judges gave him both stanzas of the two-round contest. Team Dos Santos now holds only a 3-2 lead over Team Lesnar.

Two more fights are due for the first round before the show moves on to the quarterfinals.

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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