As our school year wraps up, the mixed martial arts world delivers with what could turn into the fight of year. On April 30, the reigning Welterweight Champion, Georges Saint-Pierre, will take on Jake Shields at UFC 129 in the champ’s home country, Canada.
No one doubts St-Pierre’s power and takedown abilities, but his opponent this Saturday could pose a serious threat to Pierre’s rule over the Welterweight division. Shield’s wrestling and Jiu-Jitsu pedigree surpasses even the likes of B.J. Penn and Jon Fitch (both of which have given Pierre trouble in the past).
Pierre has developed a remarkable takedown despite never wrestling outside of mixed martial arts. His striking skills have not been seen lately, and if he is unable to revive his former self he may well see Shields walking around with his belt. Even though Pierre may possess a great takedown he does not possess a great takedown defense. He will need all three this weekend to defeat Shields.
The co-main event also has title implications as the Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo takes on Canadian Mark Hominick. Hominick is coming off a victory over tough opponent George Roop and looks to attempt do something no one has done in six years; defeat Jose Aldo. Aldo dominated the weight class in World Extreme Cagefighting by defeating the likes of Urijiah Faber, Mike Brown, and Manny Gamburyan. If the past shows any insight to the future, this fight will show the same result as Aldo still appears unstoppable. Hominick’s only hope is that Aldo’s seven month layoff will slow down the champion.
The most interesting fight of the night belongs between Randy Couture and Lyoto Machida. Couture, who still defies time and gravity, looks to fight one of the premiere fighters of the light-heavyweight division. Couture, which turns forty-eight this year, will be competing against a much younger and quicker Machida. Couture will need to utilize his Greco-Roman expertise to slow down the pace and lengthen the match in time and shorten the distance of the cage. If not then fans could see Couture retire after Saturday.
The interesting part of the fight, though, comes not from the match but the reasoning of why this fight needs to happen. Machida gains from this only if he wins but marginally. Couture gains no historic placement from this fight as his status as legend seems secure enough. Why would the UFC put this fight together? Machida certainly would not deserve a title shot after this fight and Couture realistically cannot think he can make another run for the title. Pierre and Aldo are both big enough names to pull in a large viewing for the event and the promotion did not need heavy names like these to help with revenue. This match up seems more of an itch that someone needed to scratch than anything else.
The greatest part of UFC 129 is that six of the eleven fights on the card will air free of charge. Four will air on Facebook and the other two will air on SpikeTV. The UFC apparently received more revenue from fans wanting to see more from the social media free views and it looks to add to that promotion.
UFC 129 Predictions
Georges St-Pierre V. Jake Shields R3 Submission
Jose Aldo v. Mark Hominick R2 TKO
Vladimir Matyushenko v. Jason Brilz R3 Majority Decision
Randy Couture v. Lyoto Machida R3 Unanimous Decision
Mark Bocek v. Ben Henderson R3 Unanimous Decison