St. Pierre and Cote cap big Canadian weekend
For two Canadians, UFC 74 was, in fact, all about "Respect."
This week in news and notes we take a look back at the weekend's action in the UFC and MFC, speak with newly crowned King of the Cage heavyweight champion Tim Hague and look ahead to a busy schedule coming up for Canada's best athletes on the world stage.
Canadian News and Notes will be taking the holiday weekend off but will return September 10. So enough with the idle chatter and let's get rolling then, shall we?
Cote and St. Pierre win convincingly
Finally, for once, a pay-per-view title that actually made sense. For two Canadians, UFC 74 was, in fact, all about "Respect."
Former UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre looks to have shrugged off the potentially career-crippling loss to Matt Serra as he dictated all aspects of his fight with Josh Koscheck Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. St. Pierre, who at one point heard his name in those conversations about best pound-for-pound did what many, more specifically, Koscheck never expected: put the four-time NCAA Division I All-American on his back.
St. Pierre used Koscheck's greatest strength to better his opponent.
"Josh Koscheck is a great wrestler, he's used to fighting from the top position," St. Pierre said in a post-fight interview with Sportsnet's RJ Broadhead. "He's not used to fighting from his back. I knew it: my game plan was to take him out of his comfort zone."
Patrick Cote made good on his promise that his fight with Ultimate Fighter 3 winner Kendall Grove would be over before the bell to end round two. In fact, he pulled out the knockout win a full round earlier after connecting with a hard overhand right behind the ear.
For Cote, not only is it a much-needed win against a highly recognizable fighter, but the victory is also meaningful for the way the French Canadian pulled it out.
Cote has much been criticized for his unwillingness to engage and press the action after having come in to the UFC with the aura of being a devastating striker in his native Quebec. Saturday night a noticeably different Patrick Cote fought in the octagon and a bright, new future appears to be on the horizon.
Hollett halts Valimaki's MFC reign
There seems to be certainly more to "The Hulk" than just hype, as Roger Hollett continued his destruction of the Canadian light heavyweight division with a convincing win at MFC Lucky 13 in Edmonton Friday night.
With ECC gold already on the mantel, the product of Halifax added yet another belt to the collection after stopping UFC veteran Victor Valimaki with strikes. A three-punch combination was nicely capped off by a left high kick that sent Valimaki to the mat, where Hollett wasted no time in hammering away until "The Matrix" was forced to tap.
Though Hollett may have taken this battle, apparently the war is far from over as these two combatants will collide again, this time for "The Hulk's" ECC belt possibly as soon as October in Hollett's hometown.
Knockout of the Night honors went to Ryan Ford, who extended his undefeated streak with a TKO win over Randy Valette. Ford impressed the capacity crowd with his numerous slams and overall aggressive style.
"The Thrashing Machine" talks title
The terms classy, respectful, humble all get tossed around the world of mixed martial arts with almost reckless abandon, but with good reason. The sport is blessed with a great number of these types of individuals. King of the Cage Canadian heavyweight champion Tim Hague "The Thrashing Machine" Hague is part of that list.
"I've never actually felt like I was in the zone for anything but when the bell rang, I couldn't hear anything and his head looked as big as a beach ball," Hague told Sherdog.com regarding his recent fight with Adrian Bernardo. "I just kept hammering away at it. I'm sure the ref could have stopped it in the first round, and he very well may have if it wasn't a championship fight. He let it go to the second round, and things just went the same and I finished him off three and a half minutes in."
The series of events that unfolded to end the fight saw Hague aggressively stalking his opponent while looking to land heavy leather.
"I remember throwing one hook that I completely missed and he went down, but the last flurry I threw standing, I threw two jabs and then a quick hook which seemed to catch him pretty flush and he went down," Hague said. "I just remember firing away with my right hand and Vern Gorman stopped the fight."
Bernardo came into the championship bout with a 1-0 professional MMA record, but carried with him a long list grappling credentials.
"When we went to the ground in the first round I was on top of him but he kept trying a scissor sweep and it actually felt fairly strong and I think he actually almost had it," Hague said. "But I just maintained a good base and got out of it and into side-control. That was basically the only time I felt in a little trouble during the fight."
After Gorman pulled Hague off of his fallen rival, the new champion collapsed to the mat, overwhelmed by elation and was subsequently mobbed by his corner and trainers.
"I just couldn't believe that I won in such a dominating fashion because he was regarded as one of the top grapplers in Canada," he said. "I think a lot of people were expecting me to get submitted in under a minute."
Hague is already looking to the future and has his eyes on another title.
"Fighting for King of the Cage is awesome," he said. "They are 100 percent class act from top to bottom. I'd like to fight the winner of the Manny Rodriguez-Ben Beebe fight for the King of the Cage world heavyweight championship at Brawl in the Mall 2 Oct. 19th."
Tim credits his success to many and took a moment to thank those who have helped him along the way. "I just wanted to say a big thanks to my beautiful fiancÚ Brianne, my training team Triple Threat MMA and to my sponsors Bushido.ca, AssasinFightwear.com and bountyfishing.com."
UCW September to remember
Ultimate Cage Wars returns to Winnipeg and looks to make their final show for 2007 one to remember with a solid card featuring co-main events.
"We have Jesse Bongfeldt taking on Dan Grandmaison," said co-promoter and Krzysztof Soszynski. "Jesse is coming off of a huge win over [Sean] Pierson from Toronto. Jessie's on a roll and he's fought for me before. I was supposed to have Dan [Grandmaison] on my last show as well until he got injured, but he's healed up and ready to go so it should be a good fight at 170."
The second of the two co-main events has Soszynski, an IFL light heavyweight for the Los Angeles Anacondas, pitting local fighters in front of the home crowd.
"Two Winnipeg boys are going to be fighting each other," he said. "Lindsey Hawkes, who's coming off of a big win over Rory McDonnell, and he'll be taking on a local fighter named Kevin Manderson, who everybody knows very well. He's fought all over the country in Canada; he's a very tough wrestler and it should be a really great fight."
Lindsey Hawkes vs. Kevin Manderson
Jesse Bongfeldt vs. Daniel Grandmaison
Steve Taylor vs. Justin Doyon
Jordan Mein vs. Garret Vernoy
Aaron Basso vs. Dave De Lorenzi
Ryan Brigham vs. Andre Burkovsky
Markhalie Wedderburn vs. Jamie MacDonald
Here's a quick rundown of the Canadians in action on the major circuit featured as part of upcoming UFC and HERO'S cards in the coming month.
OLYMPIA HERO'S 2007 - 9/17/2007
Kultar Gill vs. Caol Uno
UFC Fight Night - 09/19/2007
Jonathan Goulet vs. Mike Swick
UFC 77 "Hostile Territory" - 10/20/2007
Kalib Starnes vs. Alan Belcher
Jason MacDonald vs. Yushin Okami