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Georges St. Pierre Dominates Fight, Apologizes to Fans for Performance

NEWARK, N.J. -- Georges St. Pierre isn't just fighting opponents; he's fighting history, too.

His quest to become the greatest MMA fighter of all time has taken him through Matt Hughes and B.J. Penn and Thiago Alves, and few expected Dan Hardy to be more than just a simple pothole on his road to glory. The brash Brit may have surpassed the expectations of most, but he was still little match for St. Pierre, as the French-Canadian superstar earned a lopsided unanimous decision in the UFC 111 main event at the Prudential Center.

Hardy did well just to make it 25 minutes and simply endure a beating rather than suffer a serious injury. St. Pierre had him in two seemingly fight-ending submissions, but Hardy refused to tap to both an arm bar and a kimura. Both moves looked deep and well applied, but Hardy snaked his way out twice. But even after the win, St. Pierre apologized for the method, saying it wasn't the resounding type of victory that will long be remembered.

"Tonight I keep my championship, but it was not a fight for legacy," he said. "This fight isn't going to be remembered. I want to win in beautiful fashion. I want a guy who doesn't know nothing about MMA to turn the TV on and tell a friend, 'I saw this guy fight. I didn't understand what he was doing but the technique he used was beautiful.'"

Though the champion voiced disappointment in his performance, particularly in his inability to close out Hardy with the submission holds, he had little to apologize for, except for perhaps a lack of style points. He took Hardy down at will, was able to land ground strikes, advance position and threaten with submissions. He did everything but close.

"I'm going to tell you the truth, I'm not happy," St. Pierre said. "I won the fight. To [compare it], it's like a sprinter who is a 100-meter world champ. You sprint, win the 100 in 10 seconds. A few month later, you win again the race, but your run it in 10 seconds still. You're still champ but you haven't beat your time. I won, but I haven't beat my performance from last time. I wanted to finish and have a clean win. For me it's not clean."

Hardy meanwhile, won the respect of the 17,000 that filled the arena as well as the millions who watched around the world. Though he could do little to stay off his back, he refused to go quietly in a fight in which many others probably would have succumbed.

"All I can say, it's an honor to fight him," Hardy said. "I can see how he's the champ. He's a strong athlete and very technically skiled. I wasn't quite there tonight. The one thing I do have above everything including my lack of technique and whatever strength I have, there's no quit in me. I told you that I don't give up. I don't give up."

Despite mowing through every welterweight the UFC has put in front of him (he's avenged his only two career losses), St. Pierre told the media he has no plans to change weight classes and still sees challenges there.

UFC President Dana White said he'd have to huddle with matchmaker Joe Silva to decide the course of St. Pierre's future, but hinted that the winner of the UFC 113 matchup between Paul Daley and Josh Koscheck might find his way to the front of the line.

St. Pierre said regardless of the opponent, next time, he won't miss his chance to finish.

"My mistake is fresh in my head," he said. "I know what I did wrong, and it won't happen next time."

Carwin Stays Unbeaten, Rocks Mir
Twelve up, twelve down for Shane Carwin.

The oversized heavyweight phenom kept his amazing string of first-round finishes intact, this time adding his most accomplished victim to his ledger, knocking out Frank Mir in just 3:48.

Incredibly, it is the longest fight of Carwin's career, but it's also the sweetest. It gives him the UFC interim championship belt, and assures him a summertime date with the current champ, Brock Lesnar.

"It's a lifetime of work right here," Carwin said. "I'm wordless, speechless."

After a long feeling-out process, Carwin opened up while holding Mir against the cage. A vicious right knocked Mir down and Carwin followed with punches from the back with Mir on his knees. Mir tried to stop the barrage by rolling away, but Carwin didn't let up, eventually knocking Mir out with punches from the back.

"The plan was to get him against the fence and dirty box," he said afterward. I'm kind of mean and aggressive there. We worked all camp getting him on the fence, beating him up there and getting him into the later rounds."

The later rounds didn't come. Carwin joked that he planned to go deep into the fight, just so the media would stop asking him what would happen should the scenario play out.

Perhaps it will against Lesnar. White said that since Carwin emerged relatively unscathed from the tussle, an "early July" date is likely. The UFC has an event scheduled for July 3 in Las Vegas that seems like a good bet.

The hype, though is already under way.

After Carwin put the finishing touches on Mir, Lesnar, who was seated cageside for the fight, walked in to the octagon to confirm he'd face Carwin in the summer.

"He's still wearing a belt that's a make-believe belt," Lesnar said. "We were supposed to fight last November. That's a wrong belt. I got the real belt."

"I can't agree more, that's why I'm coming after it," Carwin responded.

Pellegrino Subs Submission Wizard Camoes
Lightweight Kurt Pellegrino extended his winning streak to four straight, tapping out jiu-jitsu artist Fabricio Camoes with a second-round rear naked choke.

"He's a tough guy and I just had to weather the storm," Pellegrino said.

Camoes got Pellegrino's back early in the first round and almost had a rear naked choke of his own. But Pellegrino soon turned the tables and unleashed some ground and pound of his own.

Pellegrino was more assertive in the second, earning mount early and eventually improving his position before locking in the fight-ender to improve to 15-4.

Fitch Beats Saunders, Says He Wants GSP Next
Ben Saunders stepped up on short notice to face Jon Fitch in place of Thiago Alves, but all he got for his efforts was a beating.

Saunders could never get his offense going as Fitch fed him a steady diet of takedowns and ground and pound en route to a unanimous decision win. All three judges scored all three rounds for Fitch, who improved to 22-3-1 with his fourth straight win.

Afterward, Fitch said he wanted GSP.

"He's mine," Fitch said during the press conference when Dana White was discussing possible contenders.

"There's nothing more important than to fight for the title," Fitch said after. "I'm 12-1 in the UFC. I have one loss, and that's to St. Pierre. And I'm a better fighter than I was last time."

Jim Miller Outlasts Mark Bocek In Grappling Classic
There was plenty to be impressed about during the course of the event, but perhaps nothing was as riveting was watching Jim Miller fight off Mark Bocek's rear naked choke attempt with only one arm.

Miller did the seemingly impossible, and surived to win a tight decision.

The sequence was in the second round, when Bocek secured a body triangle and eventually trapped Miller's right arm with his leg. Bocek, a high level black belt, spent well over one minute trying to sink in a rear naked choke, and even with a one-arm advantage, he was unable to do it.

Miller took the decision after a close third swung his way on all three judges' scorecards.

"I consider myself a tough guy to choke," he said. "As long as I can still breathe, I'm going to do something -- and in this case, I was able to drop him on his head."

Diaz, Almeida Win Spike Bouts
Nate Diaz made the transition from lightweight to welterweight look seamless. Even though his opponent Rory Markham didn't come close to making the division limit, checking in at 177 during weigh-ins, Diaz handled him easily.

The proud Stockton, California native rocked Markham early with a knee to the face from the clinch, and when Markham went down, his fate was sealed. Diaz took his back, flattened him out with strikes, and continued raining down the punishment until referee Keith Peterson saw enough, leading to a first-round TKO victory at 2:47.

In the Spike TV opener, Ricardo Almeida imposed his grappling prowess on Matt Brown, eventually finishing him with a second-round rear naked choke.

Almeida was making his debut as a welterweight after spending the first part of his career as a middleweight. He was able to take down Brown several times in the first, he was unable to much with the position. In the second frame, he caught a Brown kick and countered with the right hand, putting him down.

After connecting with a short elbow, he took Brown's back, eventually adding a body triangle before locking up the fight-ending submission.

"This is my house, this is my home. I'm not going to let him come in here and beat me," said Almeida, who is from nearby Hamilton, N.J.

Palhares, Riddle, Hamman Win Undercard Bouts
Rousimar Palhares had one of the most emphatic wins of the evening, needing just 45 seconds to beat Tomas Drawl via heel hook.

Drwal slipped in the center of the octagon upon throwing a kick and fell to his back. That was the only opening the submission wiz Palhares needed, immediately cinching in the fight-ending submission.

In the first bout in the unaired preliminaries, Matt Riddle was awarded a disqualification victory when he couldn't continue after an illegal third-round strike from Greg Soto.

Riddle was still a grounded fighter when Soto upkicked him in the face. Riddle fell backwards and a timeout was immediately called. At first it appeared that the fight would continue with Soto deducted a point for the infraction, but it soon became clear Riddle couldn't continue, leading to the DQ ruling.

Riddle had dominated most of the action until that point with takedowns and ground work. He was taken to the hospital after the fight for precautionary reasons.

In a highly entertaining affair that won the Fight of the Night award, Jared Hamman won a three-round war of attrition over Rodney Wallace, earning the judges' decision in a close bout. Wallace controlled the early going with his powerful striking and takedowns, but a game Hamman worked out of several bad positions and began to shift the momentum as the fight went on.

Hamman might have turned the corner for good late in the first round, when he rocked Hamman with a headkick that would have probably knocked out most. While Wallace was able to withstand it, he likely felt the after-effects for the rest of the bout, and Hamman won most of the standup exchanges from then on.

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