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On This Day

On This Day in UFC History: GSP Gets Even With Serra

On this day 12 years ago Georges St-Pierre earned vengeance in his rematch with Matt Serra at UFC 83.

I hate to be that guy, but if you weren’t in the Bell Centre on April 19, 2008, you can’t possibly imagine just what it was like for the UFC’s first show in Canada. It was that loud, that crazy, and something that can’t be put into words. But I tried anyway. So, here’s how I saw (and heard) it twelve years ago in the great city of Montreal.

It was loud at the Bell Centre on April 19, 2008 – chair shaking, eardrum breaking, can’t hear ring announcer Bruce Buffer loud. But just when you thought the decibels couldn’t go higher, they did, when hometown hero Georges St-Pierre regained his UFC welterweight crown from Matt Serra via a second round TKO, putting a fitting cap on UFC 83, the organization’s first ever show in Canada.

Five seconds into the bout, St-Pierre secured a takedown, trying to ensure that there would be no repeat of April 7, 2007, the night Serra took his title via a first round knockout. St-Pierre worked his punches and forearms while muscling the New Yorker to keep him down, and the Canadian kept firing away, wrapping up a dominant opening round.

On This Day: Georges St-Pierre vs Matt Serra 2 | Free Fight
On This Day: Georges St-Pierre vs Matt Serra 2 | Free Fight
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The second round didn’t start much better for Serra, as he found himself on his back again. For his part, St-Pierre kept moving and kept throwing punches, and even when the two stood, St-Pierre was throwing everything in his arsenal at Serra to keep him off balance, which led to another takedown with under three minutes left. The 33-year old Serra, as expected, would not surrender to his younger foe, but for everything he tried, St-Pierre had an answer, and with under 30 seconds left, the Montrealer opened up and let all the frustration of the last year out in the form of vicious knees to the body. Again, Serra wouldn’t quit under the onslaught, but referee Yves Lavigne intervened, stopping the bout at the 4:45 mark and crowning St-Pierre champion once again.
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Based on the reception he got from the packed house at the Bell Centre, you would have thought that Rich Franklin was Canadian.  But the former UFC middleweight champion from Cincinnati justified those cheers in emphatic fashion, posting his most impressive win in over two years by stopping Travis Lutter in the second round of their UFC 83 co-main event.
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MONTREAL - APRIL 19: Michael Bisping (red shorts) def. Charles McCarthy (white shorts) - TKO - 5:00 round 1 during the UFC 83 at Bell Centre on April,19,2008 in Montreal, Canada. (Photo by: Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
MONTREAL - APRIL 19: Michael Bisping (red shorts) def. Charles McCarthy (white shorts) - TKO - 5:00 round 1 during the UFC 83 at Bell Centre on April,19,2008 in Montreal, Canada. (Photo by: Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

After a heated war of words with Charles McCarthy, Michael Bisping made his final statement in the Octagon, stopping the Ultimate Fighter 4 alum at the end of the first round, notching a successful middleweight debut in the process.
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The Ultimate Fighter season six winner Mac Danzig began his post-reality show UFC career in style as he submitted Toronto’s Mark Bocek in the third and final round of their lightweight bout.
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Nate Quarry tried to make a fight out of it against Surrey, British Columbia’s Kalib Starnes, but it was to no avail, as what promised to be an exciting middleweight bout turned into a track meet, with the aggressive Quarry cruising to a unanimous decision victory that was easy for him, but dreadful for the fans.
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Edmonton, Alberta’s Jason MacDonald made it two in a row over Joe Doerksen in their middleweight bout, surviving some dicey moments in the opening round to stop his foe in round two. The two first fought in October of 2005, with MacDonald winning via fourth round submission.
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Lethbridge, Alberta’s Jason ‘Dooms’ Day showed no sign of the first time UFC jitters in his middleweight bout against Alan Belcher, impressively stopping his foe in the first round.
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Brazilian Middleweight Demian Maia made the jump from prospect to contender as he submitted a game Ed Herman with a triangle choke in the second round of an intriguing ground battle.
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Streaking lightweight veteran Rich Clementi spoiled the Canadian homecoming of London, Ontario’s Sam Stout, pounding out a hard-earned three round split decision to run his unbeaten streak to five fights.
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MONTREAL - APRIL 19: Cain Velasquez (green shorts) def. Brad Morris (black shorts) - TKO - 2:10 round 1 during the UFC 83 at Bell Centre on April,19,2008 in Montreal, Canada. (Photo by: Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
MONTREAL - APRIL 19: Cain Velasquez (green shorts) def. Brad Morris (black shorts) - TKO - 2:10 round 1 during the UFC 83 at Bell Centre on April,19,2008 in Montreal, Canada. (Photo by: Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

The pre-fight talk about Cain Velasquez labeled him as the heavyweight division’s next big thing.  The former Arizona State wrestling standout did nothing to dismiss that notion in his UFC debut, as he improved to 3-0 as a pro with a first round TKO win over Brad Morris.
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Welterweights Jonathan Goulet and Kuniyoshi Hironaka got the UFC era in Canada off to a rousing start, putting on an exciting bout with plenty of twists and turns before Victoriaville, Quebec’s Goulet ended matters via strikes in the second round.
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