UFC Welterweight Championship: Georges St. Pierre vs. Jake Shields – Round 1
Referee Herb Dean is in charge of this welterweight title tilt. Shields is flicking the jab out early, throwing body kicks which St. Pierre blocks. The challenger catches a kick from GSP and shoves him into the fence, where he lets the let go in favor of over-unders. St. Pierre spins him around and then disengages. Shields still trying to jab, but he’s not in range. St. Pierre stings him with a right straight, misses a spinning back-kick. Left jabs starting to get through for GSP. Another side-kick finds Shields’ midsection. St. Pierre with a right hand over the top just before the two-minute mark. A stiff left jab from St. Pierre coincides with a Shields kick, sending Shields toppling to the mat. He’s stung, but pops right back up and goes toe-to-toe with GSP again. St. Pierre is mixing right leg kicks with his left jabs in the last minute, already putting marks on his challenger’s face as the first round ends.
Blood comes from the mouth of Shields as the second round begins and St. Pierre paws with more jabs. Shields gets off a right straight, but that’s about it in the first 60 seconds. GSP, meanwhile, lands jabs and leg kicks, occasionally throwing an overhand right to back Shields up. One right hand lands behind Shields’ ear and the Cesar Gracie protégé tilts before circling out. St. Pierre stalks, hunting for the big, right-handed haymaker now. Turning back-kick goes straight to the gut of Shields, who is looking off-balance and unstable as St. Pierre picks his punches. St. Pierre dances and feints, chopping Shields down with leg kicks. Shields shoots, but there’s nothing there.
St. Pierre is still looking for the big right hand, keeping out of range of Shields, who stands flat-footed and moves in straight lines. Neither man finding much success in the first half of the round, but the champion undoubtedly looks the better and more in-control fighter. He sprawls all over a shot from Shields, lands a leg kick, then a right hand. Shields gets a kick to the body through, but eats a right hand in return. St. Pierre catches the next kick and drives a straight right down the pipe. St. Pierre doubles up on a jab and slams Shields to the ground, finishing in half-guard. The champion is clearly bothered by a small mouse under his left eye as he walks back to his corner at the end of the period.
St. Pierre gets another takedown early, but doesn’t want the fight there. He lets Shields back up and goes back to jabbing, kicking, Superman-punching. With 2:40 to go, a left head kick hurts Shields badly. He recovers quickly on the ground and St. Pierre wants to keep it on the feet. St. Pierre’s left jabs and straights are coming in at will. Shields throws his arms up in frustration, taunting the champion in the manner of teammate Nick Diaz. St. Pierre is bleeding on the left side of his face now, cut on the bridge of his nose.
St. Pierre looks to keep his rage as the final round begins, jabbing and switch-kicking as Shields inches in to close the gap. The champ catches Shields coming in with a combo and staggers him with a counter right hand. Halfway through, the last round is still up for grabs, but Shields likely needs a finish here. St. Pierre’s left eye looks a mess, now streaming blood, and Shields is trying to target it with straight rights. St. Pierre lands a left jab with 40 seconds left that has Shield pawing at his right eye. Shield’s nose is badly busted up now. At the 10-second mark, GSP tries for one last takedown, but Shields stuffs it. The men embrace at the final horn.
Official scores: It’s a unanimous decision, with judge Douglas Crosby scoring it 50-45, Nelson Hamilton 48-47 and Richard Bertrand 48-47, all in favor of the reigning UFC welterweight champion, Georges St. Pierre.
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