St-Pierre has beaten some big names in his career and been part of some major match-ups. Still, few performances were as satisfying as GSP’s gutsy effort against Condit from a little less than a year ago. Going into the bout St-Pierre had spent more than a year on the sidelines due to back-to-back knee injuries, the second involving a torn ACL. During his absence, Condit emerged with the interim belt and a bout was booked for St-Pierre’s return to the ring. Once the cage door closed it didn’t take St-Pierre long to prove he hadn’t lost a step, getting the best of Condit while standing and on the ground. He even ate a beautiful head kick and was wobbled but kept fighting on instead of succumbing to the ensuing series of strikes. More than just a great fight, it was a defining moment in the first-ballot Hall of Famer’s career. While stakes are high in the Octagon, action in the infamous eight-sided cage occasionally produces laughter. One such instance came at the UFC’s first event in Canada when middleweights Quarry-Starnes collided. As fans undoubtedly remember, Starnes refused to engage with Quarry for enormous portions of the pairing. Things got so bad “The Rock” decided to have some fun with the situation, covering his eyes at one point while swinging wildly with his other arm and running in place during another sequence. As a result, Quarry easily won a Unanimous Decision and Starnes was released for the bizarre behavior. “Cigano” is one of the nicest fighters in the game. However, his fists aren’t so friendly. Carwin found that out first hand when the two tussled Vancouver, getting beaten badly from pillar to post. When the smoke cleared Carwin was left looking like a victim in a horror movie, though to his credit he weathered one helluva storm and only lost a decision rather than a TKO as most men would have. Franklin and Liddell are two of the most iconic competitors to ever set foot in the Octagon. From that standpoint alone, their match-up from a few years back is worth remembering. However, what truly sets the scrap apart from other efforts is the way things went down. Liddell came out strong, hurting Franklin early and even breaking his arm with a powerful, well-placed kick. Interestingly enough, the success would ultimately come back to haunt Liddell who got a little over-aggressive and ate an uppercut from Franklin sent him down to the mat in a heap, finishing “The Iceman” off with five seconds remaining in the first round. Also notable, the bout marked the final fight of Liddell’s storied career. On average the UFC draws about 15,000 fans to its PPV events. Throw another 40,000 rabid MMA enthusiasts on top of that and you’ve got the backdrop for UFC 129. The wildly successful event set the record for a North American crowd at a MMA show and hasn’t been challenged in the 2+ years since. Welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre was also able to send his fellow Canadians home happy, outpointing Jake Shields with relative ease in the evening’s main event.
This weekend’s lineup for
will undoubtedly produce some highlight-reel moments. Whether it’s a bloody brawl, spectacular stoppage, instance of unintentional comedy, freak occurrence, or something else notable, Canada has served as the backdrop for plenty of eye-popping moments and rightfully so given the energy the nation’s fans consistently bring into any arena. However, whatever ultimately leaves a lasting impression after Saturday night’s show will definitely have some competition if hoping to go down as one of the most memorable moments in the organization’s history up north. (Photos by USA Today Sports Images) UFC 165