Josh Koscheck, GSP’s opponent for his 16th professional fight (10th in UFC) was an NCAA Division I Champion in wrestling and was considered at the time of this fight the best wrestler in the UFC. Koscheck expanded his abilities, joining the AKA (American Kickboxing Academy) back in ’06 to make himself a dangerous striker as well. His record of 9-1 at the time of this fight reflects that all-around ability.
Georges St-Pierre had something to prove with this fight. After coming off an embarrassing loss to Matt Serra, St-Pierre needed to refocus and return to his dominant ways to regain the welterweight crown.
The fight went the distance with St-Pierre winning by unanimous decision. The first round saw St-Pierre take down Koscheck, but not accomplishing much on the ground. Koscheck escaped by grabbing St-Pierre’s left leg and standing up. While holding St-Pierre’s leg, Koscheck showed why he’s a strong wrestler by explosively taking GSP to the ground. But as with GSP previously, Koscheck accomplished little afterward.
The second round was all St-Pierre. GSP had Koscheck on his back most of the round and spent what time he wasn’t hitting Koscheck with fists and elbows trying to submit Koscheck with a kimura. Unfortunately for GSP, he didn’t have the leverage to succeed in his attempts.
Like the second round, St-Pierre dominated the third. Koscheck was on the receiving end of superman punches and leg kicks that got through his defense. When Koscheck saw an opening for a take down, he took advantage and got GSP’s left leg in the air as he did in the first round. But the result of the take down attempt was quite different. St-Pierre defended in spectacular fashion and reversed it. GSP spent the rest of the round on top of Koscheck, raining blows down on him with better effectiveness than in the first two rounds (although not enough to knock Koscheck out). The round ended just as St-Pierre moved out of Koscheck’s guard into a leg lock.
Georges St-Pierre (14-2-0) vs. Matt Hughes (UFC 79 Nemesis, Dec. 29, 2007):
In a rubber match, which determined the interim welterweight champion (belt-holder Matt Serra was out indefinitely at the time with a herniated disc in his lower back), GSP faced Matt Hughes. Hughes bounced back from his previous beating at the hands of St-Pierre to take out Chris Lytle by unanimous decision at UFC 68. Many felt that Hughes was past his prime when they saw St-Pierre beat him so easily at UFC 65, 13 months previous; in some observers’ eyes, this match would determine if that were true.
St-Pierre took this fight on 30 days’ notice. Originally it was to be Hughes vs. Serra for the welterweight title, but, as stated previously, Serra was out with an injury. St-Pierre didn’t mind the short time frame as he jumped at the chance to face Matt Hughes for a third time.
With the submission (arm bar) at the end of the second round, St-Pierre proved that Hughes was in decline (he was 34 at the time) and that he himself was the greatest welterweight in the UFC. St-Pierre dominated Hughes throughout the fight spending almost all of the two rounds mounted or on Hughes’ back. St-Pierre finished Hughes by moving from an attempted kimura into an arm bar to which Hughes verbally tapped out.
Georges St-Pierre (15-2-0) vs. Matt Serra (UFC 83 Serra vs. St-Pierre II, Apr. 19, 2008):
The rematch between GSP and Matt Serra that everyone wanted to see in order to prove that St-Pierre’s loss of the belt to Serra back at UFC 69 (April 2007) was either a fluke or showed that Serra belonged amongst the elite in the welterweight division happened in this, St-Pierre’s 18th professional fight (12th in the UFC).
Serra recovered from his back injury and was out to prove most observers wrong (a majority thought his win vs. St-Pierre was an anomaly).
Serra was no match for St-Pierre the second time around. The first fight he got lucky, tagging St-Pierre with a combination, but this time St-Pierre didn’t let the opportunity manifest itself. St-Pierre took down Serra almost immediately after the fight commenced and spent most of the remainder of the fight in Serra’s guard, half-guard or on his back.
After about a minute into the second round, when both fighters were on their feet, it was easy to see that Serra was exhausted (he had his hands down, leaving his head unprotected). Spending all of his time defending against St-Pierre and trying to escape St-Pierre’s mounts took away all his energy and when GSP took him down again, he hadn’t much strength left to defend himself. St-Pierre repeatedly kneed Serra in the ribs while Serra was in turtle position until Referee Yves Lavigne stopped the fight. GSP became welterweight champion for the second time with the win.