There are some big events this weekend in the world of professional fighting. You have a light heavyweight boxing fight between Bernard Hopkins and Joe Calzaghe, but then you also have UFC 83, that seems to be the main draw of the weekend.
The event’s main event will be the second meeting between welterweight champ Matt Serra and Georges St-Pierre, being held on Saturday (April 19) in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Both men have something to prove here. In the first fight, Serra won in an upset over St-Pierre, one of the biggest in UFC history, when he knocked out the champ with ease in the first round.
Since that fight, Serra has had to endure the constant “St-Pierre will return to avenge his loss” and has never really been accepted as the champ. He was slated to defend his title against Matt Hughes at UFC 79, but pulled out due to a herniated disc in his lower back. So being that this is his first title defense and rematch against the man he won the belt from in the first place, he’s looking to silence naysayers and certify himself as champion.
St-Pierre, on the other hand, wants to regain the title Serra took. He’s trained hard this time around, and wants redemption for his loss. He chalked up the first loss as a “life lesson” because of limited training time coming off a knee injury — in addition to his father being sick and his cousin in a coma after a car accident, and he’s admitted since then he lost focus after winning the championship.
St-Pierre is the favorite by almost everyone, once again. And he, himself, seems pretty confident as well. “The real champion is right there,” he said pointing to Serra during a pre-fight news conference on Thursday (April 17). “If you ask me the question Saturday night, it’s going to be me… the champion.”
He added that training won’t be an issue this time, telling Yahoo! Sports, “I trained to fight an army, not a single person. I’ve been sparring every week with very high-caliber fighters. If an army can’t break me, one person can’t do it. I’m very well prepared. I’ve never been so sharp in my life.
“I’ve been studying [Serra] a lot. I’m going to fight him in a way that nobody has fought him before. He’s going to be surprised, and it’s going to be a different story,” he continued.
The champ, Serra, has a mountain to climb. He’s accepted that he’s not the fan or experts’ fave, and isn’t letting it faze him.
“I’m having my trainers and sparring partners boo me on a regular basis, so I can get used to it,” said Matt Serra. “I expect a lot of boos. It’s all right, I got thick skin. But I’m not the guy who tapped out the last time.
“I hear (UFC president Dana White) saying things like, ‘The old Georges St-Pierre is back.’ Kinda like the guy I beat before wasn’t Georges. I mean, who was he, a freaking stunt double? It sure looked like Georges St-Pierre, had the same accent and everything. Gimme a break here … If everything goes right for me Saturday night, is it the best three-out-of-five?”
Both men have a lot on the line, so it’s only going to add to the intensity. Saturday will answer everyone’s questions.
The Lutter and Franklin fight is another to watch for. Both fighters have a clash of styles — Lutter has a solid ground game, while Franklin is known mostly as a striker.
Lutter is returning 14 months after infamously failing to make weight for his title shot against Anderson Silva, which he says he regrets to this day. Franklin’s stock is also dwindling. After two big losses to Anderson Silva, and wins only against lesser opponents, he might not have a career much longer.
Both fighters come into this fight needing to win to continue fighting, or fall off into oblivion. So, it’s now or never.
Other fights on the main card include Michael Bisping versus Charles McCarthy, Mark Bocek versus Mac Danzig, and Kalib Starnes versus Nate Quarry.
UFC 83 kicks off at 10 p.m. ET on Saturday, April 19. It will also air live on pay-per-view.