Fans flooded the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., on Saturday for the UFC’s first title fights of 2010 at UFC 111.
The main event between welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre and challenger Dan Hardy, built up by the return of UFC Primetime on Spike TV, was not as competitive as expected. St. Pierre performed to his strength, taking Hardy down with ease every chance he got, improving his position and landing ground-and-pound.
St. Pierre took away Hardy’s greatest chance of winning the fight by eliminating the stand up, and his gameplan worked effectively as Hardy was unable to do much damage over the five-round contest. St. Pierre was successful on all nine of his takedown attempts and attempted eight submissions throughout the fight according to compustrike.com, including a deep armbar and then a kimura, which were both close to ending the fight.
St. Pierre outstriked Hardy 130-22 and executed his gameplan to perfection. He retained his title via a unanimous decision victory: 50-45, 50-44, 50-43.
In the co-main event, undefeated heavyweight phenom Shane Carwin continued his domination of the UFC heavyweight roster by running through Frank Mir and earning the interim heavyweight championship. Carwin shot in on Mir and drove him to the fence, off of the opening exchange, where he landed strong knees and punches.
After a separation by the referee, Carwin pinned Mir back to the fence, where he landed a flurry of hooks and uppercuts, which dropped Mir. Carwin took his back and pounded him unconscious, ending the fight at 3:48 into the first round. Carwin outstriked Mir 68-3 in the contest and won “Knockout of the Night” honors.
New Jersey native and crowd favorite Kurt Pellegrino earned “Submission of the Night” honors by beating second-degree BJJ black belt Fabricio Camoes at his own game. Pellegrino defended the takedown successfully and outstriked the Brazilian 59-15 in the bout. He locked in a rear-naked choke and got the tap from Camoes at 4:20 into the second round.
After a failed CT scan due to a brain irregularity, just 2 days prior to the event, Thiago Alves was forced out of a scheduled rematch with Jon Fitch. Ben Saunder’s match with Jake Ellenberger was scratched from the card and Saunders was rescheduled to face Fitch in the second main card fight.
Fitch wanted nothing to do with the standup of the muay thai expert, and rather worked to take down Saunders from the clinch through most of the fight. Fitch took Saunders down several times, controlled the fight, and landed some good ground-and-pound in the final two minutes. After three rounds, all three judges scored the bout 30-27 in favor of Fitch.
In the first match of the evening New Jersey native Jim Miller faced Mark Bocek in a back and forth battle. Bocek continuously went for the takedown and succeeded in getting the fight to the ground four times. However, Miller landed effective strikes from his back and attempted submissions, including a guillotine and then a kimura, which almost ended the fight in the first round.
Bocek controlled the second round and even mounted Miller. The fighters exchanged on the feet for most of the third round and Miller ended the fight by taking Bocek’s back. Miller outstriked Bocek 53-36 and won a close unanimous decision, with all three judges scoring the contest 29-28.
A light-heavyweight bout between Rodney Wallace and Jared Hamman earned “Fight of the Night” honors. Hamman won the fight via unanimous decision and it was featured last on the pay-per-view broadcast. All fighters earning bonus honors received $65,000.
Rousimar Palhares received a disciplinary suspension of 90 days after winning a preliminary card fight against Tomasz Drwal. Palhares ended the fight 0:45 into the first round via heel hook, but failed to release the submission until being forced off of Drwal by the referee.
UFC 111 marked the first time that a UFC pay-per-view was aired live in HD on the big screen. The event was available in 300 select movie theaters across the country. Two preliminary fights were broadcast live on Spike and drew 1.2 million viewers, according to MMApayout.com
Overall, the Prudential Center had an attendance of 17,000 and a total gate of $4 million. The next UFC event, Ultimate Fight Night 21, will feature a main event between Kenny Florian and UFC newcomer Takanori Gomi. The event will be held at the Bojangles Coliseum in Charlotte, N.C., and will air live on Spike Wednesday, March 31, at 8 p.m. EST. The event will be followed by the premier of the eleventh season of “The Ultimate Fighter” on Spike at 10 p.m. EST.