Serra out, St. Pierre in for UFC 79
Who says news slows down during the holidays?
It certainly hasn't this Thanksgiving weekend for UFC. The promotion informed fans on UFC.com on Friday that Matt Serra had injured his back last week and would not be able to defend his welterweight title against Matt Hughes at UFC 79.
Just when I thought the mega-card had taken a mega-hit, UFC announced yesterday on its Web site that Georges St. Pierre will step in to fight Hughes for the interim title at UFC 79. The winner of that fight faces Serra sometime next year for the undisputed title.
While I'm not sure exactly what the interim title truly signifies, I do know that this will be a great fight. I was looking forward to Serra-Hughes, but St. Pierre-Hughes is pretty special, too. The fight pits the two previous champs in the weight class and represents the rubber match in their trilogy. With five weeks still remaining before the bout, the main question is: Will this be enough time for St. Pierre to train and get ready for the fight?
At the very least St. Pierre has the benefit of having fought Hughes twice before and Hughes himself will also have to rethink his game plan, since St. Pierre is a very different fighter from Serra.
If St. Pierre wins -- which sets up St. Pierre-Serra II -- I hope Serra and Hughes get an opportunity to fight each other sometime in 2008. The animosity that has been building up between the two deserves a decisive resolution inside the Octagon.
Along with the announced dream match between Chuck Liddell and Wanderlei Silva as well as the introduction of Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou to UFC fans (in a bout against Lyoto Machida), the St. Pierre-Hughes match maintains the mega-status of the card. After a couple of harrowing days, fans can exhale, knowing the integrity of this card has not been affected by the recent developments.