UFC 87: Seek and Destroy came to us all live on August 9, 2008 from the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Would Georges St. Pierre successfully defend his belt for the first time? Would Kenny Florian vs. Roger Huerta be the showstopper that many were saying would eclipse the main event? For that matter, what about Brock Lesnar and Heath Herring?
Get ready, get set, and go!
The night started off with a fight between Jason MacDonald and Demian Maia. In sum, as good as MacDonald is on the ground, Maia's resume on the canvas was way better coming in. Of course, these two weren't about to partake in a grappling match here.
But would that matter?
Early on, MacDonald purposefully went to the clinch and took his opponent down. Surprising. From there, Maia sunk in a triangle on MacDonald. It looked deep, but somehow MacDonald spun out and took Maia's back.
The move was short lived but proved that MacDonald would not be intimidated by his adversary's ground resume.
MacDonald nearly pulled off a guillotine but when he fell to his back Maia got out, took side control, and then took his opponent's back. From there, he struggled to try to get the rear naked choke but was unable.
One heckuva technical round on the ground. And a hard one to score, at that, though Maia probably took it. By the way, one of the ground and pound strikes by MacDonald opened up a cut over Maia's left eye.
MacDonald caught Maia with a hard left to start things off in the second. That said, after some jostling inside Maia took MacDonald down and gained the mount position. And for the most part he hit home with ground and pound until about the 20 second mark of the stanza when The Athlete turned him over.
Still, it was clearly a round won by Maia.
In the third, Maia took MacDonald down again but was turned over near immediately. Later, however, Maia turned MacDonald over and once again moved to mount. Then he took opponent's back. Then he choked him out.
A great fight. Both fighters showed technique and heart.
Demian Maia wins via rear naked choke at 2:44 of round three.
"He's a very durable fighter; he's gonna keep coming at me; he's kind of like the Terminator. You know, you hit him and you expect him to be out but he keeps coming at you, he keeps coming forward," said Kenny Florian before taking on Roger Huerta in a fight that many believed could go down as one of the best of the year coming in. Two guys with great heart and skills.
What else could you ask for?
After trading some strikes, Florian took Huerta down and mounted him along the cage wall. From there he took Huerta's back and flattened him out. Then came some strikes.
But, being the survivor he is, Huerta got to his feet.
While on their feet, Florian got tagged but recovered quickly. Then both fighters traded some sporadic strikes. Interestingly, Huerta was looking pretty decent on his feet, hitting home with the better shots there. Then the bell.
Real close. Florian's ability to mount his opponent may have given him an ever so slight edge. But it was close enough to go the other way.
Florian started out the second round a tad more aggressively with his kicks, but Huerta once again started to connect with more strikes. That said, he was unable to get Florian to the ground when he attempted it whereas Florian was able to get his opponent down after a struggle. From there he moved to the mount and then took his back.
After some Florian strikes, however, Huerta somehow escaped once more.
Florian connected with multiple low kicks and then swept Huerta to the canvas. El Matador got up. The rest of the stanza was pretty close on their feet, but Florian hit home with most of the stronger and cleaner shots.
A good round that goes to Florian. It's either one to one or two nothing him going into the final stanza.
Florian came out and connected with a nice kick, big flying knee, and a good punch in the third. Then came the takedown. While on top, he hit home with some ground and pound before Huerta made it back to his feet.
With both fighters clearly showing some fatigue, Florian began to take over by popping in and out and connecting a lot. From there, he took Huerta down and connected with a big right on the ground. Though his opponent once again got to his feet, Florian connected several times before the bell.
This one's going to Florian, folks. And the judges agreed.
Kenny Florian wins via unanimous decision.
Next up was a match between Manvel Gamburyan and Rob Emerson. "I'm looking to cut him, hurt him, beat him until the referee stops it," said Emerson coming in.
Would his words prove prophetic or inaccurate?
One word. Prophetic.
Basically, Gamburyan came out aggressively and got hit with a hard right that floored him. Then came a left on the ground and that was all she wrote.
Rob Emerson wins via knockout after 12 seconds in round one.
"I'm the wolf, and he's the victim," said Cheick Kongo before taking on Dan Evensen in the next fight. Of course, Evensen was from Norway; so he's a Viking.
Those Vikings don't usually end up being victims. Watch Joachim Hansen for reinforcement.
After trading some kicks for a period of time, Kongo brought Evensen down hard. From there, he stood over him and started hitting home with strong kicks to Evensen's legs while he was in the bicycle position. Then the referee brought him to his feet.
Soon after, Kongo clinched with Evensen up along the cage wall. But this worked against him for a moment when Evensen started looking for a standing guillotine.
Kongo popped his head out moments later. Then he took Evensen down again.
Kongo started raining down ground and pound from his opponent's half guard. After they got to their feet once more, Kongo landed two hard kicks to the body before a right hand floored his adversary. From there, the punches came in bunches on the ground until the referee had no choice but to step in.
Cheick Kongo wins via TKO at 4:55 of round one.
"I'll be in the great state of Minnesota, in my backyard. That's huge for me," said Brock Lesnar coming into his fight against Heath Herring. Of course, some fighters have spoken about how competing in front of the hometown fans can bring some undue pressure. So which would it be for the former WWE star?
By the way, the Minneapolis crowd was just a little loud when Lesnar came out. And he came out to "Shout at the Devil" by Motley Crue.
Got to admit, kind of cool.
Lesnar came out aggressively, missing with a flying knee. But moments later, a huge Lesnar right hand floored his adversary. Herring recovered to his feet quickly, finding himself in a Lesnar standing guillotine that had little chance of success. But when the two separated, the former WWE star took Herring down easily?who was bleeding, perhaps from the right hand he got caught with?and started raining down the ground and pound. Lesnar hits hard, people.
As if you didn't know that.
With Herring turtled up, Lesnar took a form of side control and hit home with some terrific knees. Then after another dose of them, the bell tolled.
A big round for Lesnar. Possibly even a two pointer. Herring looks bloody, swollen, and battered.
The second started with some feeling out before Lesnar once again took Herring down. Then the ground and pound started. Then Lesnar took the mount position.
But Herring escaped rather easily when Lesnar didn't sink in his hooks.
After some knees to the ribs, Lesnar took side control on his opponent. But Herring then managed to get to his feet. From there the two traded some shots inside, but Lesnar's knees inside were just killer.
This guy is a scary athlete.
At the bell, Lesnar took Herring down again. Herring needs a stoppage to win in the third round.
Lesnar connected with a low kick and the two clinched to start the final stanza. Then the big man took Herring down once again. From there, Lesnar began hitting home with those knees against a man nearly flat on his stomach.
Then Lesnar moved to the full mount. Herring got out. With Lesnar on his back, Herring connected with a couple of elbows while turtled up. Then some knees by Lesnar again. But when Lesnar looked for the rear naked choke, Herring got to his feet and connected with some nice knees.
Then Lesnar took him down again, in the story of the fight. It's going to be hard for any heavyweight to stop this guy's takedowns. Several strikes later and the bell sounded. Lesnar pretended to lasso Herring after the match. Don't like that stuff.
But it was still an impressive performance by him.
Brock Lesnar wins via unanimous decision.
"I want to fight the best guys and right now he's the number one welterweight in the world," said Jon Fitch regarding Georges St. Pierre before meeting up with him in the cage in the main event of the evening. But the question was, would he still be considered the best welterweight afterwards?
Right off the bat, St. Pierre took Fitch down. Immediately, Fitch's active guard was noticed, as he did a good job of keeping his opponent on the defensive. Still, a minute or so later St. Pierre began landing punches and then an elbow.
Fitch got up for a moment but was then taken down again. Moments later he was on his feet once more. What did he get for his efforts?
How about a huge right that floored him.
From there, St. Pierre continued landing some big shots, including elbows. But somehow Fitch managed to survive, even if a cut opened up under his left eye. Fitch got up again was dropped once more with a flurry of punches. On the ground St. Pierre dominated things.
Then he moved to side control. Then to mount. However, Fitch escaped the position and then the bell sounded.
That was a two point round for the champion. It was amazing that Fitch even survived.
The second round saw a game Jon Fitch show up. That said, for the most part St. Pierre picked him apart with timely jabs, some strong punches, and even a spinning back kick. That's not to say that Fitch didn't hit home with some strong combinations of punches during the stanza, but St. Pierre probably took it.
The third round started with St. Pierre landing a huge right hand that dropped his adversary. From there, the Canadian took his opponent's back. But while going for the rear naked choke, Fitch turned him over.
Bad spot for St. Pierre.
Still, the Canadian fighter did a good job of defending against Fitch's attempts at ground and pound. And moments later, he slipped through the middle of his opponent's legs and took the top position.
Then to their feet.
For the rest of the fight, St. Pierre connected with several harmful punches, kicks, and even a knee, all of which dizzied his opponent. Then came a St. Pierre takedown.
Fitch needs a stoppage in order to win. One thing you have to say is that he is one tough hombre.
Early in the fourth it was noted that St. Pierre had a cut over his left eye. For the most part, this round was less active than the three former ones. In terms of striking, it was pretty even, which is where the majority of the stanza took place. But then Fitch went for a takedown that his adversary successfully stymied. Soon after, St. Pierre turned things over on him, executed some mild ground and pound, and went for a leglock at the bell. It fell short, but did it give the champion the round?
Onto the fifth.
The final round saw St. Pierre hit home with some nice punches and then a huge spinning backfist before taking his opponent down. The ground and pound was pretty brutal until Fitch got up with only about 100 seconds left.
Soon after, he was put back on the ground. St. Pierre controlled things until the bell from there.
Georges St. Pierre wins in dominant fashion via a unanimous decision. Afterwards, B.J. Penn came into the Octagon. Looks like there may be a rematch.
In the end, UFC 87 was a very good night of fights. The Florian- Huerta fight was solid. The Lesnar- Herring fight signaled the entrance of a contender into the UFC. St. Pierre was absolutely dominant in the main event, reaffirming just how good he is. And the fight between MacDonald and Maia was a technical ground war that was a lot of fun.
A good night for sure.