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UFC 129 live blog: Both champions keep belts; Couture goes out with KO loss

Couture can’t defend against familiar front kick

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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.

Updated Saturday, April 30, 2011 | 9:26 p.m.

UFC 129 Fight Night

Randy Couture, bottom, attended to by the referee after being knocked out by Lyoto Machida during the light heavyweight bout at UFC 129 in Toronto on Saturday, April 30, 2011. Launch slideshow »

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KSNV's Kevin West and Sun sports reporter Case Keefer discuss UFC 129, April 28, 2011.

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Randy Couture catches his breath after a workout Thursday, April 21, 2011 in preparation for what he says will be his final fight April 30 at UFC 129. Launch slideshow »

TORONTO — How the biggest event in UFC history is remembered will likely come down to personal preference.

The three featured bouts at UFC 129 all ended with a defining image. Two champions atop the pound-for-pound rankings kept their titles while a legend had an inglorious end to a career.

Many of the 55,000 fans at the Rogers Centre will recall Canadian superstar Georges St. Pierre standing on top of the 170-pound class once again. St. Pierre won his ninth straight and succeeded in defending his title for the sixth time against Jake Shields. The judges gave St. Pierre a unanimous decision by scores of 50-45, 48-47 and 48-47.

Others might think back to Canadian featherweight challenger Mark Hominick pushing Jose Aldo for five rounds. Hominick didn't let massive swelling on his face bother him and destroyed the 24-year old Brazilian champ in the final round. But Aldo won every other round and kept his title via unanimous decision by scores of 49-46, 48-46 and 48-45.

Lyoto Machida was the only headlining fighter to enjoy a stoppage. He sent Randy Couture into retirement with a knockout loss at 1:05 of the second round with a front kick that landed square on the 47-year old's chin. Couture got up to a raucous standing ovation and re-iterated that he won't return to the octagon.

Check out full results from the card below with round-by-round analysis of the main card. Then, come back to lasvegassun.com for full coverage later.

Welterweight Title Fight: Georges St. Pierre vs. Jake Shields

Fifth Round: Shields made St. Pierre work for it for five more minutes. That's all that can be said about the challenger. St. Pierre retreated to his corner looking more beat up than he had in recent bouts after this one, but don't be fooled by the looks. St. Pierre did it again. He wasn't flashy. He wasn't exciting. But he eked out a 10-9 win in every round. The Sun gives St. Pierre a 50-45 victory. The judges agreed. St. Pierre won a unanimous decision by scores of 50-45, 48-47 and 48-47.

Fourth Round: This one won't rival Aldo-Hominick for Fight of the Night, but St. Pierre has done what he's known to do. And that's win however possible. St. Pierre bloodied Shields' face with his jab repeatedly hitting him square in the nose. He also sent Shields to the mat with a body kick midway through the round. Perhaps as a sign of frustration, Shields started taunting the champion by putting his hands up and leaving himself open. Shields had some success late and St. Pierre's is actually banged up. But St. Pierre still took another round in the end. This scorecard reads 40-36.

Third Round: St. Pierre kept boxing. Shields continued to lose points. Although Shields found more success than the first two rounds with leg kicks and a few jabs, St. Pierre still was able to control the round. When Sheilds shot for a takedown, St. Pierre shrugged it off. He let Shields regain his feet before feeding a combination of his jab and hook. St. Pierre got his own takedown with about 30 seconds left to assert his dominance over Shields a little more. But Shields has not sustained any real damage, so it's still a fight. St. Pierre leads 30-27.

Second Round: Georges St. Pierre had total control over where the round took place once again. And he wanted it to be standing up. St. Pierre methodically picked Shields apart much like the first round. Shields appeared hesitant to shoot for a takedown because the one time he did, St. Pierre responded with a straight kick to the stomach. Shields tried to throw his own kicks, but St. Pierre eluded them or tossed them to the side. Another round for the champion. GSP leads 20-18.

First Round: Georges St. Pierre had won 30 straight round coming into this one, a streak that goes back three years. He can add another after the first five rounds at the Rogers Centre. The entire first round was spent standing, which is not what challenger Jake Shields would prefer. Shields, a grappling ace, failed on his two attempts to bring St. Pierre to the floor. St. Pierre didn't do anything outstanding, but his boxing was more impressive than Shields. St. Pierre takes round one and it's 10-9 early.

Featherweight Title Fight: Jose Aldo vs. Mark Hominick

Fifth Round: Mark it down as a round mixed martial arts fans will not soon forget. Despite a hematoma engulfing most of his forehead, Mark Hominick rallied for a decisive round against the champion Jose Aldo. Hominick took Aldo down and beat on him for a full four minutes. Aldo survived the barrage and bowed to Hominick at the end. Hominick put in his trademark push-ups even though he had to know he lost this. This scorecard had Aldo retaining the belt by a 48-46 score after Hominick wins the final round 10-8. The judges scores are 49-46, 48-45 and 48-46 to give Jose Aldo a unanimous decision victory.

Fourth Round: Aldo is probably one of the best athletes in mixed martial arts and that might be the difference in this fight. His quickness has proven too much for Hominick as he can elude his strikes while throwing his own. Aldo dropped Hominick again midway through the round and landed ground-and-pound that Hominick couldn't defend. A hematoma that can't possibly get much bigger has formed on the left side of Hominick's foreheads. The referee stopped the bout to have doctors to look at it, but Hominick said he can keep going. The hometown crowd loves him for it, but he's nowhere close on the scorecards. Aldo leads 40-36.

Third Round: This was what the fans wanted to see. The first three-and-a-half minutes of the third round were spent standing and Hominick may have actually been ahead of Aldo for the round. But Aldo countered one of Hominick's combinations with a straight left that sent him to the ground. Hominick defended himself well enough to continue, but was clearly drained compared to Aldo. Two welts have formed below each of Hominick's eyes. Aldo is bloodied, too, but has won every round. He's ahead 30-27 on the Sun's scorecard.

Second Round: Hominick developed an early rhythm on the feet, out-boxing the champion Aldo with a steady dose of jabs. For the first two minutes of the second round, the fight was Hominick's. Perhaps sensing that, Aldo took down Hominick and started his ground-and-pound game. The hometown fans booed as Aldo stayed on top of Hominick without much action. The referee brought them to their feet, but nothing change. Aldo got another takedown, something Hominick has been helpless defending against. Aldo leads 20-18.

First Round: So much for Jose Aldo doing everything to stay on his feet and being only a stand-up fighter. That's Aldo's reputation and what he said he would do this week, but the champion must have been trying to mislead Hominick. Aldo shot for two takedowns in the first round and both ended in success. Hominick, the local product, held his own when on the feet and actually won a few exchanges. But Aldo was dominant on the ground when he was on top of Hominick, raining elbows on the him. Aldo leads 10-9 on this scorecard.

Light Heavyweight Bout: Randy Couture vs. Lyoto Machida

Second Round: The two fighters moved around a little bit to start before Machida took a page straight out of fellow Brazilian Anderson Silva's book. Machida, standing in the middle of the octagon, throws a kick that lands perfectly on Couture's chin. He falls down and the referee stops the fight. Lyoto Machida wins via TKO at 1:05 of the second round and a legend's career comes to an end. It was exactly like the kick Anderson Silva used to knock out Vitor Belfort at UFC 126.

First Round: Machida found the only success to start the fight. He kept his distance and let Couture come to him. When Couture did charge, Machida worked his jab and landed a couple nice shots. Couture tried to tie Machida up twice and went for one single leg takedown, but "The Dragon" slipped out of all three attempts. Machida also hit Couture with a knee and kick to assure the first round went his way. Couture got the loudest response of the night and "Randy" chants filled the 55,000-capacity Rogers Centre. But he lost round one for sure. Machida is up 10-9.

Light Heavyweight Bout: Vladimir Matyushenko vs. Jason Brilz

First Round: It's over. Vladimir "The Janitor" Matyushenko won via TKO at 0:20 of the first round. Brilz protested the stoppage and it did seem early, but Matyushenko is the winner. He landed one combination that sent Brilz crashing to the floor.

Lightweight Bout: Mark Bocek vs. Ben Henderson

Third Round: A cut somehow opened on the top of Bocek's head, but he didn't let it bother him early. Bocek took Henderson down again, but didn't get much work done. Henderson elbowed Bocek repeatedly from bottom position before passing guard and getting back to his feet. Henderson unleashed some punches to the grounded Bocek before grappling once again takes over. Henderson stayed out of trouble against the submission-hungry Bocek until 30 seconds remained. Then, Bocek gets another takedown. This might be the hardest fight to score of the year. All three rounds were dead even. Henderson controlled more of the third, so the Sun gives it to him and a 29-28 win. The judges don't see it as close and award Ben Henderson a win via unanimous decision. They all scored it 30-27.

Second Round: The theme of this fight is clear. Henderson is winning the striking and Bocek is dominating the grappling. Henderson got Bocek down himself once, but did most of his damage with kicks and punches. But Bocek had Henderson in a number of precarious positions with submission holds. As is typical for Henderson, he worked out of them. But it's not enough to win this round. The Sun leans to Bocek in another close stanza that could go either way. On this scorecard, the bout is tied at 19 heading to the third round.

First Round: Henderson showed no fatigue from the tough weight cut down to 155 pounds. Henderson was a half-pound over at yesterday's weigh-in before making the 156-pound cut-off on his second attempt. He dominated the opening four minutes, getting Bocek against the cage in the clinch and easily winning the striking exchanges. Henderson patiently worked his jab, but Bocek made a comeback with 1:20 left. He went for a single leg takedown, which ultimately succeed. He won on the ground, but it wasn't enough. The Sun scores the first round for Henderson, 10-9.

Pre-main card

TORONTO — UFC President Dana White bit his tongue all week and declined to go into detail about what the inside of the Rogers Center would look like for UFC 129 tonight. He wanted it to be a surprise.

Now, everyone has seen why. The Rogers Centre layout for UFC 129, the main card starts at 6 on pay-per-view with the preliminary bouts just concluded, is beyond massive. It’s some combination of monumental, colossal and gigantic.

Four screens — one facing each direction — that are bigger than 90 percent of those found in American stadiums accentuate the action. Six more smaller screens hang from the roof for those fans stuck in the upper section of the 55,000-capacity venue with two more sizable ones facing inward for good measure.

As for sound, well, UFC has installed double the amount of speakers that AC/DC did the last time they played the Rogers Centre. The UFC has lived up to the hype with this environment far surpassing any previous event.

Now, it’s time to see if the main card fights can do the same. The rabid Canadian crowd is going to make the building rumble for welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre regardless of what happens.

St. Pierre, of course, faces Jake Shields in the Main Event of the night. St. Pierre insists it’s the toughest test of his career, but has also admitted to feeling some pressure to finish Shields. St. Pierre is on a stretch of three straight decisions with only one victory by stoppage in the last three years.

It would be a surprise if there isn’t a knockout or TKO in the co-Main Event. Both featherweight champion Jose Aldo and challenger Mark Hominick are strikers first. The winner will likely be whoever catches the other with the cleanest, most powerful strike.

Before Aldo’s UFC debut, Las Vegas-based Randy Couture will try his best to end his career on a high note against Lyoto Machida. After winning three straight, the 47-year old once again finds himself near the top of the light heavyweight division.

The two main card opening acts, so to speak, are a 205-pound bout between two veterans and a lightweight contest pairing two submission stalwarts.

Jason Brilz and Vladimir Matyushenko face each other in the light heavyweight division, while former WEC champ Ben Henderson meets Mark Bocek in the 155-pound class.

Canada fought its way over the USA in the preliminary bouts. With all seven matchups featuring an American against a Canadian-based figher, the Northerners won by a 5-2 margin.

Check below for full results from the preliminary card and stay tuned to lasvegassun.com for bout-by-bout updates from the pay-per-view card.

Rory MacDonald, a 21-year old Canadian welterweight, won a unanimous decision over Nate Diaz. The scores were 30-27, 30-26 and 30-26. MacDonald got the crowd going with three emphatic slams in the third round.

American Jake Ellenberger knocked out Toronto's Sean Pierson at 2:42 of the first round in their welterweight fight. Ellenberger countered a Pierson punch with a vicious left hook that put him on the ground immediately.

Hometown hero Claude Patrick thrilled the fans with a unanimous decision victory over American Daniel Roberts in a welterweight bout. All three judges scored it 29-28.

Canada's Ivan Menjivar scored a knockout victory over America's Charlie Valencia just 1:30 into their bantamweight clash. Menjivar broke Valencia's nose and sent him to the mat early before following with punches to end it.

Canadian Jason MacDonald finished American Ryan Jensen at 1:37 of the first round in their middleweight bout. MacDonald caught Jensen in an early traingle choke that he couldn't escape.

Canadian lightweight John Makdessi knocked out American Kyle Watson at 1:27 of the third round. Makdessi will likely pick up the knockout of the night bonus for his victory, which came via a spinning back fist.

American Pablo Garza registered a slight upset in the featherweight division by defeating Canadian and St. Pierre teammate Yves Jabouin via submission at 4:31 of the first round.

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

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