St. Pierre Dominates Gutsy Fitch

By Joe Hall Aug 10, 2008
UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre (Pictures) had Jon Fitch (Pictures) on his back five seconds into their title fight Saturday at UFC 87 in Minneapolis.

The Montreal native ducked a punch and completed a double-leg takedown that let him work from the top early. Fitch got up, but St. Pierre put the former Purdue University wrestler right back down with a single-leg.

Again Fitch got to his feet. Moments later he was down again -- this time from a straight right hand that countered a leg kick. St. Pierre pounced with a two-minute onslaught of punches and elbows that foreshadowed the punishment to follow over the next four rounds.

The fighters stayed on their feet throughout the second. After a punishing first round, it was a good stanza for Fitch. The American Kickboxing Academy-trained fighter punched in combinations, landing well to the body and also finding success with a left hook to the head. St. Pierre began to look a little less invincible, though he consistently stuck a jab in Fitch’s face and followed with enough strikes to win the round.

Fitch was floored again to start the third. He had tried to lead with a left hook, which St. Pierre slipped and countered perfectly with a right. The way Fitch fell resembled any other opponent St. Pierre has dropped, but the way he recovered is what surely distinguished him as the gutsiest fighter to have gone up against St. Pierre’s well-stocked arsenal.

Fitch looked terrible, however, when the fight went back to the feet. His face was at once blue and bloody.

A knee wobbled him back to the fence, where a kick followed and another knee. Fitch was all heart at that point, somehow staying on his feet until St. Pierre scooped him up for a slam to close out the round.

Fitch cut St. Pierre’s eye in the fourth. The 30-year-old native of Fort Wayne, Ind., just kept coming, though he lost the round when he couldn’t complete a takedown and instead gave one up to St. Pierre.

In the fifth, St. Pierre continued yet another impressive performance. He landed a left hook and a spinning backfist before taking Fitch to the mat. Fitch got up but got taken back down. He wouldn’t get up again, and there was no doubt about the decision: 50-43, 50-44 and 50-44 for St. Pierre.

The loss was Fitch’s first in the UFC, dropping him to 17-3 overall and improving St. Pierre to 17-2.

“I’m ready to fight everybody, everybody who deserves a shot,” said St. Pierre, who surely knows that almost everyone wants to see him fight B.J. Penn (Pictures) again. “I know B.J. Penn (Pictures) wants it, and I’m ready to do it. Whoever they give me, I’ll do it. He deserves it.”

Penn then entered the Octagon. He congratulated St. Pierre, but he also said he wants to fight him.

“You know I want to put the fight together. Let’s do it,” said an animated Penn as he summoned the audience’s support. “Let’s do it, Georges. You want to do it?”

“Of course I want to,” St. Pierre replied.
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