St-Pierre outthinks, dominates Koscheck
Put aside those preconceived notions of mixed martial artists. Don't let the tattoos and graphic T-shirts fool you. There's a cerebral side to MMA. See Georges St-Pierre for further clarification.
"My game doesn't rely on chance," St-Pierre said. "I don't gamble when I fight. I try to put all the odds on my side."
St-Pierre beautifully and thoroughly picked apart nemesis Josh Koscheck for five rounds at UFC 124 in Montreal on Saturday night, winning a unanimous decision. All three judges scored the fight, 50-45.
And get this: St-Pierre did it all with a left jab. No takedowns followed by grappling. No wrestling. Just good old-fashioned stand-up striking, 24 minutes worth of it. Guess working on his boxing with respected trainer Freddie Roach (Manny Pacquiao, Mike Tyson, James Toney, Amir Khan) paid off a little bit.
Early in the first round, Koscheck began to swell both above and below his right eye as St-Pierre continued to throw the left jab. Koscheck's eye ballooned to the size of a lemon throughout the five rounds.
St-Pierre said he was not satisfied with the result of the fight, though. Despite winning all five rounds and dominating the man who taunted him for six weeks as opposing coach on Season 12 of "The Ultimate Fighter," St-Pierre was unable to finish Koscheck.
One of the big criticisms the pound-for-pound No. 2 mixed martial artist in the world has faced is his inability to finish his opponents. Typically, St-Pierre (21-2) gets his opponent to the ground and out-wrestles him to win. Not this time, though. Koscheck (17-5) is too good on the ground. "It was a good fight, entertaining, but I wanted to finish him," St-Pierre said. "That was my goal and I did not reach my goal."
But St-Pierre's strategy worked perfectly. An intelligent fighter, St-Pierre kept the fight standing because Koscheck (and the rest of the MMA world) didn't expect it.
St-Pierre landed 143 strikes, compared with 30 for Koscheck. Of the 145 jabs St-Pierre threw, 58 connected. That's a 40-percent connect rate, double that of an average boxing match, according to CompuStrike.
Float all the numbers out there, and St-Pierre is still singularly focused on what he did not do. "It's a mental thing," St-Pierre said. "When he looks at me and I look at him, I can say 'I finished you.'"
Fighting once every six months or so, St-Pierre has the time and talent to reinvent himself each fight. He was a wrestler first coming into Saturday night. In his next fight, his opponent won't know what to expect.
After eight straight victories at welterweight, what's next for St-Pierre?
The next two logical fights would take place at 170 pounds against Jake Shields and Jon Fitch. But the fight everyone wants to see would be against middleweight champion Anderson Silva.
It's the Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao of the MMA world. The only difference is St-Pierre vs. Silva could actually happen in the next 16 months. "If I go up in weight class, I'm going to have to put more muscle on my body because I'm going to be too small," St-Pierre said. "If I go up, I need to stay up."