Sunday, August 10, 2008

Jon Fitch loses title fight

By Chad Ryan

Jon Fitch may not have fulfilled his intention to claim the Ultimate Fighting Championships world welterweight championship on Saturday at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minn., but he proved he deserved to be there.

Fitch, a Fort Wayne native and the No. 1 welterweight contender, entered his fight against Georges St. Pierre in the premier match of Saturday’s UFC 87 pay-per-view broadcast as a heavy underdog despite not having lost a match in more than five years.

St. Pierre successfully defended his title, beating Fitch by unanimous decision (50-43, 50-44, 50-44), shutting Fitch out in five five-minute rounds. St. Pierre said on the broadcast that Fitch, whom he previously said was going to be his biggest challenge, proved his worth.

“He showed up tonight and wanted it,” St. Pierre said. “I said congratulations to him. His first title shot. He did awesome, and I told him that this loss is maybe the best thing to have happen to him. It’s going to make him stronger.”

Midway through the first round, it appeared the decidedly stronger St. Pierre would end it early. St. Pierre landed a big right hand that knocked Fitch to the canvas then proceeded to pound him to near submission, but Fitch was able to absorb the blows and keep St. Pierre in his guard long enough to survive to the second round.

Fitch came out dancing in the second round and both fighters traded blows while staying on their feet throughout the round. St. Pierre landed several sharp jabs, while Fitch worked the body and put together combinations.

St. Pierre nearly knocked Fitch out in the first minute of the third round with another huge right hand that landed flush on Fitch’s left eye. He went down hard and St. Pierre got on the mount then rained down punches and elbows battering Fitch’s badly cut and bruised face.

Once again Fitch took the beating, used his ground-fighting skills to get himself out of danger and got back to his feet to survive another round.

Fitch landed blows in the fourth round that opened up cuts to St. Pierre’s face, and the pair traded takedown attempts with each successfully blocking the other.

At the start of the fifth round, Fitch came out blazing, but failed to connect on anything solid and St. Pierre went to work taking the fight to the mat.

Although Fitch, who wrestled for Purdue, defends takedowns as well as any fighter in the UFC, St. Pierre took him down with ease in the final round, winding precious time off the clock. Fitch made a desperation attempt in the final minute, but St. Pierre’s strength proved to be too much.

Fitch’s mixed martial arts fight record dropped to 21-3, and his UFC record dropped to 8-1 with the loss.

**Disclaimer - I did not attend this event. This story was written after viewing the television broadcast.

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