NEWARK - Georges St-PIerre, the Canadian, and Dan Hardy, the Englishman, met in the center of the Octagon after UFC 111 and embraced.
That's really all that was left to be done inside the Prudential Center, seeing how GSP, the UFC welterweight champion, imposed his will on Hardy. GSP won a decisive unanimous decision to retain his title. The judges scored it 50-43, 50-44, 50-45.
GSP (20-2) took down Hardy (23-7) at will throughout the five rounds and nearly had two submissions, but Hardy refused.
"I thought he was made of rubber," GSP said.
Even after thoroughly dominating every second of the bout, GSP still apologized to fans for not being good. He claimed he made too many technical mistakes. Um, OK.
"I can see now why he's the champion," Hardy said. "There's no quit in me. I don't give up. I don't give up. I don't know the meaning of 'tap.'"
While we try to figure out what's next for GSP, get the round-by-round analysis below.
GSP should get a bonus for Entrance Music of the Night: "Juicy" by Notorious B.I.G. And he's blowin' up like we thought he would, and Prudential Center had sold out seats to hear GSP speak.
GSP took Hardy down almost immediately to start the bout. Hardy managed to get back to his feet with a little more than two minutes left, but GSP is too smart. He quickly took him down again before Hardy could get enough space to attempt to fire off some punches.With about 20 seconds left in the round, GSP got an arm bar that nearly pulled Hardy's shoulder off his body, but Hardy managed to escape with a few seconds left.
GSP and Hardy exchanged punches for the first 75 seconds until, surprise, GSP shot in and took him down. GSP got Hardy's back again, but Hardy managed to slip out. But before he could get off any shots while mounting GSP, the champion quickly pulled him into guard. The fighters got to their feet and remained standing for about 40 seconds. GSP landed a big right hand that make the brash Brit smile. To prove a point, GSP took down Hardy again.
Oh lookee here, GSP took down Hardy to open the third round. While in Hardy's guard, GSP landed quite a few big shots to his head. Much of the same here in the third round. GSP is dominating Hardy with his ground control. Hardy managed to get to his feet with 10 seconds left, but the grounded GSP just took him down with his legs.
This time, it took GSP all of 13 seconds to duck a punch and take Hardy down. Hardy got back to his feet in a minute, but couldn't keep GSP from clinging to his back like a little kid on a dad's shoulders. GSP took him down again. The crowd is surprisingly not booing the overall lack of serious back-and-forth action so far. That's the power of GSP. With less than two minutes left, GSP got a kimura on Hardy. Despite wincing in pain, Hardy refused to tap and eventualy was able to slip out of it, thanks in part to 18 minutes of sweat on each fighter's body.
Perhaps feeling the need to prove a point, GSP waited 19 seconds this time to take down Hardy with a single-leg. And that was after throwing a few punches AND a leg kick. MIraculous. (Slightly sarcastic, right there.) GSP worked side control for much of the round, seeking arm submissions. Hardy got to his feet with about 30 seconds left, and of course, GSP was right there continuing to control Hardy. And, voila, a takedown.