By Thomas Gerbasi
MONTREAL, May 8 – Josh Koscheck incensed Montreal fans at the Bell Centre Saturday night, not only by predicting that the Pittsburgh Penguins would defeat the beloved Canadiens in their Stanley Cup playoff series, but by scoring a shutout three round unanimous decision over Paul Daley in the co-main event of UFC 113, a bout that will win no votes for Fight of the Year, but that did earn Koscheck a shot at national hero Georges St-Pierre’s welterweight title and a coaching spot against GSP on season 12 of The Ultimate Fighter. Watch post-fight interview
Scores were 30-27 across the board for Koscheck, who dominated the bout behind takedowns and ground positioning, completely stifling the striking attack of the British knockout artist.
Daley opened the bout with a flying knee that fell short, but he was undeterred as he kept moving forward. Koscheck then faked a takedown attempt, smiling all the way. After a few tense moments, Koscheck shot for real and put Daley on his back. “Semtex” tried to get back to his feet, but Koscheck responded with a slam to the mat. Daley tried to tie Koscheck up to force a re-start, but Koscheck kept busy enough to avoid the intervention of referee Dan Miragliotta. With less than two minutes left, Koscheck took Daley’s back and looked for a rear naked choke, but Daley escaped and scrambled to his feet, throwing a knee at the downed Koscheck, who claimed that he was hit in the eye, forcing a stoppage to the action. When the bout resumed, Daley went on the offensive, but Koscheck was able to tie his foe up until the bell intervened.
Koscheck immediately nullified Daley’s striking with a takedown early in round two, and he kept his opponent pinned there and unable to find breathing room. Late in the round Koscheck took Daley’s back again, and though the Nottingham product’s defense was solid, he was unable to get back to his feet, putting another round in the bank for Koscheck, albeit a less than exciting one, something evident when the biggest cheers erupted because of a glimpse of St-Pierre on the arena’s viewing screens.
Daley fired off uppercuts to begin round three, hoping to open Koscheck up for a left hook. Koscheck wasn’t buying it though, and as the one minute mark approached, he shot in for a takedown. And while Daley was able to resist at first, Koscheck soon got him to the mat, and the fans weren’t happy about it. Again, Koscheck kept Daley pinned, and in the final two minutes, he was content to fire away with ground strikes while controlling position and talking to Daley until the bell sounded.
This final sequence apparently didn’t sit well with Daley, who took a swing at Koscheck after the fight ended, prompting referee Dan Miragliotta to intervene and UFC President Dana White to give the fighter a talking to in the Octagon and to later release him from the UFC due to the cheap shot.
“I’m probably the most lenient guy in sports and this is probably one of the most lenient organizations, and we’re all human, we all make mistakes, things happen, but there’s no excuse for that,” said White at the post-fight press conference. “These guys are professional athletes, and you don’t ever hit a guy blatantly after the bell like that, whether you’re frustrated or not. It was probably one of the dumbest things I’ve ever seen because he is a talented guy and he is one of the best 170-pounders in the world.”
“He’s done,” continued White. “I don’t care if he fights in every show all over the world and becomes the best and everybody thinks he’s the pound for pound best in the world; he will never fight in the UFC ever again.”
With the win, Koscheck improves to 17-4; Daley falls to 23-9-2.
Stout vs. Stephens
Jeremy Stephens and Sam Stout left it all in the Octagon during their three round lightweight war, with Stephens’ heavier hands proving to be the difference as he pounded out a three round split decision victory.
Scores were 30-27, 29-28, and 28-29 for Stephens, who improved to 18-5; Stout falls to 16-6-1.
Stephens was effective early, landing with strikes before taking Stout to the mat. The Ontario native got back to his feet quickly, but was still taking hard shots from Stephens. By the 90 second mark, Stout was beginning to settle in, and he got his offense in gear. A hard right hand caught Stout coming in though, and it dropped him. His face beginning to get marked up, Stout began using his kicks to slow Stephens down, but the Iowan kept landing with thudding shots from all angles, capping off an impressive first round.
Stout came out fast for round two, but his quicker strikes were no match for Stephens’ more powerful ones. After nearly flooring an off-balance Stout, Stephens put him on the canvas briefly, but was unable to capitalize. As the round progressed, the steady and busier Stout began to pile up points, as it appeared that Stephens – now bleeding from the nose - was looking for a one-punch knockout and not staying as active as he did in the previous round.
An inadvertent low kick by Stout opened up the third round and halted the bout briefly, but once the fight continued, the two resumed their punishing standup battle, and neither man was ready to pack it in anytime soon. Just before the midway point of the round though, Stout hurt Stephens with a body shot and then moved in for the finish. He got Stephens to the mat and scored with ground strikes until letting the ‘Lil’ Heathen’ back to his feet. From then on the two stood in the pocket and kept throwing, with only a brief Stephens takedown breaking things up before the final bell of an exciting 15 minute scrap.
Slice vs. Mitrione
It was one of the most highly-anticipated bouts on the UFC 113 card, and heavyweights Matt Mitrione and Kimbo Slice certainly entertained the Bell Centre faithful, with Mitrione outlasting Slice and showing off a varied array of skills before halting his Ultimate Fighter season ten castmate in the second round.
As the bout opened, Mitrione stunned Kimbo with a high kick that barely missed landing flush. When Mitrione rushed in for the finish, Kimbo fired back and then scored a takedown. Mitrione responded by trying to sink in a triangle choke, but Kimbo escaped the choke and the crowd erupted as he moved into side control. After a brief lull, the two stood and locked up against the fence. Kimbo got Mitrione back to the mat, and again the NFL veteran briefly looked for a triangle choke. The fighters then got back to their feet and traded, with Mitrione scoring with close range knees and kicks while Kimbo fired away at the body. Kimbo would get dropped to the mat late in the round and Mitrione sunk in a choke, but was unable to finish before the bell.
Scoring with a quick 1-2 to start the round, Mitrione kept the pressure on, but Kimbo shook off the shots and tied Mitrione up against the fence. After separating, Mitrione started attacking his foe’s legs, visibly bothering him. A subsequent takedown attempt by Kimbo was stuffed, and Mitrione went back to the legs before moving upstairs with his punches. Kimbo showed resilience though as he tried for another takedown. Mitrione wouldn’t give up position though and he fired away with knees on the ground. With two minutes left, he got into the mount position and looked to finish, but a series of unanswered ground strikes didn’t do the trick. Neither did a kimura attempt. But finally, after another set of unanswered ground strikes, referee Dan Miragliotta had seen enough, and he halted the bout at 4:24 of the round.
With the win, Mitrione improves to 2-0; Kimbo, who White said at the post-fight press conference will be released from his UFC contract, falls to 4-2.
Cote vs. Belcher
Rising middleweight star Alan Belcher scored the most impressive victory of his UFC career, submitting former middleweight title challenger Patrick Cote in the second round.
“I’ve finally started fighting to my potential,” said Belcher. “I know if I step back and breathe, I can take apart anybody.”
Montreal’s Cote received a thunderous ovation from the crowd, something Belcher tried to silence with some early kicks to the midsection and legs, but the one that did the trick was a low kick that forced a halt to the action. After the bout resumed, Cote went on the attack, firing off punches as Belcher continued to use his kick-based attack. Midway through the round, Cote, caught one of Belcher’s kicks and took him to the mat. Belcher tied up his foe in order to forced a standup, but Cote broke loose and worked for a kimura. It appeared as if Belcher was ready to tap, but he found his way out and assumed control until round’s end.
After a brief stoppage to insert his mouthpiece, Belcher began the second aggressively, just like Cote. Cote landed the cleaner punches though, drilling Belcher with hard shots that the Biloxi resident nonetheless shook off. As if on cue, Cote against caught a Belcher kick midway through the round and used it to score a takedown. This time, Belcher got back to his feet quickly and slammed Cote to the mat. Still stunned, Cote fell victim to a rear naked choke and was forced to tap out at the 3:25 mark.
With the win, Belcher improves to 15-5; Cote falls to 14-6. It was Cote’s first bout since a knee injury suffered in his 2008 championship bout against Anderson Silva.