411ís Countdown to UFC 74 - Respect: Couture vs. Gonzaga Report
Posted by Larry Csonka on 08.23.2007
The big hype for Saturdayís show, featuring Randy Couture vs. Gabriel Gonzaga for the UFC Heavyweight Title as well as Georges St. Pierre vs. Josh Koscheck!
Countdown to UFC 74 - Respect: Couture vs. Gonzaga
The two big fights are Randy Couture vs. Gabriel Gonzaga for the UFC Heavyweight Title and then a match with a possible Welterweight Title shot on the line, former champion Georges St. Pierre vs. Josh Koscheck.
Randy Couture vs. Gabriel Gonzaga: Gonzaga respects Randy and knows this is the most important fight of his life. Randy wants to beat the dog shit out of him. Dana says he'll never doubt Randy again. Dana talks about the fact that Randy has accomplished so much. He was originally brought into lose to VITOR. He was supposed to lose to Chuck when he went to Light Heavyweight, but he won. He lost the two fights to Chuck and retired. But he decided to come back because he didn't like the heavyweight division and Joe Rogan says the initial shot on Sylvia was a defining moment for UFC and sports. At 43 Randy destroyed a young giant for the title. Very few people have his drive and determination, he is a rare human being.
-But is that enough to beat Gabriel Gonzaga? We see Gonzaga knocking MIRKO the hell out with the high kick. They say it was the KO of the year. He deserves the shot. Gonzaga says after the fight the UFC could see he was the top contender. He will give us a great fight. We see Randy offering his praise and saying that it will be a hard fight for him. Rogan puts over Gonzaga's size and says it is a bad match up for Randy. Gonzaga respects Randy and says he is one of the best. He knows to be the champion and the best he has to defeat Randy.
-Back from commercial and we head to see Gonzaga train in Ludlow, Mass. Comes here because he has built a team and he is preparing for the fight his way. It is a small town and everyone expects him to win and bring the title home. He has the Brazilian and American flags, and a space for the title reserved. To fight Randy he has to train non-stop, because Randy will try and take it the full 5-rounds, and he will be ready for that. He trainer has to remind him to take days off for proper rest, he has the heart of a lion. The team says you have to train smart to prepare for Randy. They are making sure that Gonzaga can negate what Randy does well. They seem to think that Randy has bad habits and Randy says no one has learned it yet and he will be interested to see what they have in mind. They are working on everything to make Gonzaga well rounded. Gonzaga has hard hands and has more power than Randy. The team says Gonzaga is at an all time strength level and they are amazed. He destroyed a bag slamming it, damn.
-Rogan says he is a scary man and Randy takes everyone seriously, because no fight is easy. He knows that Gonzaga is a submission guy because he is a wrestler and loves to take it to the mat. The Gonzaga team says they have a ton of respect for Randy and his abilities. Gonzaga is working his BJJ as well as wrestling and grappling. He is also working on defending the take down because Randy is dangerous there. Gonzaga is hungry because this is the fight of his life and is totally focused. They feel he will beat Randy badly. Rogan says Gonzaga could win and go on a reign of terror.
-Back from commercial and we head to see Randy train. Rogan discussed age and that the model has changed due to Randy. If you look at him, he looks better than ever. Randy is only out to prove that he can compete at this level. He doesn't look down at Gonzaga, he will be a challenge for sure and h has to be ready. Randy feels he can out work him. He isn't doing much different, other than a new strength coach for better core strength. They do 5-minutes of conditioning, full body and then muscular endurance. They go through this 5-6 times. He loves it because he is motivated and he has to show up to work. He likes having someone else call this shots. The strength guy says he is an animal for 43 and runs circles around younger guys. They now discuss how his is prepared for every scenario and will be ready. He brought in big guys, some bigger than Gonzaga to work and prepare him. Watching him slam Stephan Bonnar is great. The team says he is a physical freak. Randy walks around at 220 and Gonzaga is 240-245. Randy knows he has to keep a high pace and tactics he has learned over the years. 5-rounds is a different animal. Gonzaga's trainer promises Randy will gas first. Randy is curious to see if he will be aggressive like against MIRKO or passive like his other bouts. Gonzaga says he will fight his own fight, not Randy's. Randy says he will not throw a lot of high kicks because he will be afraid of takedowns.
-They start to wrap up with Gonzaga saying if Randy takes him down he will work the BJJ and take out Randy. Randy says if he can do that good for him, but he feels it will go 5-rounds and he will push the pace and make Gonzaga work more than he expects. Gonzaga says he will go 10-rounds if he has too and will be announced the new champion. Randy is looking forward to a great fight, the old man will be on him.
Back from commercial as we move onto discussion of Georges St. Pierre vs. Josh Koscheck: GSP vs. Koscheck is a great fight says Rogan. He admits it is a dangerous fight for both men. Dana thinks GSP is one of the most talented guys in the world. Matt Serra shocked the world when he beat him and Dana says he was totally shocked. We see clips. Serra dominated him and knocked him out and GSP was rocked. Rogan says that was a humiliated feeling for GSP. GSP says he made many mistakes, but he has learned from it. He says he is back on track. Koscheck says he expected Serra to win and Serra proved to the world that he is for real.
-GSP says he didn't want an easy fight, he wanted a top guy. He cannot prove that he will not lose again, but he will bring his A-GAME. Dana says that Koscheck is a string kid and while Diego tried to get into his head, it failed and in the end Koscheck stayed on his feet and won the fight. Koscheck says that fight was important and he had to prove that he could win. He is improved and he is better than him. His coach says a great fight is something, but there is risk and he wanted to make sure he beat Diego. But for GSP they have to risk it all. GSP has more skills, but Koscheck says he is out of his fucking mind. Koscheck says GSP will NOT out wrestle him. GSP says he will prove that he is right. Koscheck says GSP has NO heart! GSP says Koscheck just talks to talk, he fights for himself and his fans. Koscheck says that GSP is a tin man and he will oil him up. GSP says he will not trash talk, but he is motivated. Dana says Koscheck has to beat GSP to be considered top three. If GSP beats him though, look out because GSP is back. Rogan asks what GSP we will see, a beaten GSP or a machine who is determined to win and beat Matt Hughes. If we see that GSP, then it is on. Koscheck hope sit is a war and wants not to be boo'd. Koscheck says he will combo him, knees and an uppercut and nighty night! GSP says he will prove why he was champion.
-Back from commercial and we head to see Koscheck train. He says he is not trying to piss people off, sometimes he is but if you know him and spend time with him, you'll see the real him. 8-months ago he wasn't a well-rounded fighter, but he is now on his way. His trainer says he was a great wrestler, and they started to add to that little by little. He says he is stealing slow kick boxing from Chuck. He trains with Swick, Thompson and some others. Three guys like GSP. The team says Koscheck is getting KO power. His boxing coach says he is learning boxing well and can take a hell of a shot. Koscheck says he is working on putting the hands on the face, chin shots. We see Koscheck wrestle and grapple. That's his escape route. He says he can always depend on that. The team says he is the best wrestler is MMA and is more dangerous as he becomes a better "MMA" fighter. We see Koscheck pushing a car! He does it after training for mental purposes. It is there to prove that his mind is tough. OLD SCHOOL~! It kills your legs and mind but he needs that for this fight. This is a fight of the elite of the welterweight division. His coach says he will steamroll GSP. This is his town and his time, GSP won't now what hit him.
-Back from commercial and we move to GSP training. GSP says he lost and put himself under a lot of pressure. He fights for himself and that was bullshit, so he has to realize his dream and he thanks God that he has the chance to do what he loves. He made a lot of changes, and especially in boxing. Pro boxers as partners in training and Howard Grant has taught him boxing like no one else has. Howard says GSP called and wanted to change and learn. He has done that. GSP says the more you sweat in training the less you bleed in the fight. He is training with Eastern European Wrestlers to counter Koscheck. GSP says he has never been in such good shape before in his entire career. He is way stronger than he used to be and is ready. He has studies a lot of boxing and they all say the first title defense is the toughest because of false security. He fell into that. Koscheck says they touch gloves and then he whops his ass. GSP wants to he champion again and Koscheck will go down.
Remember to join 411 for our LIVE UFC 74 Coverage, starting at 10pm this Saturday Night!