When the province of Ontario finally legalized mixed martial arts, the UFC understood that its debut event in Canada’s most populous city and province had to be something special, and boy was it!
UFC 129 saw more than 55,000 people pack into the SkyDome (fine, Rogers Centre) for an absolute spectacle of a show that included a John Makdessi spinning back fist knockout, Jake Ellenberger starching Sean Pierson, and Rory MacDonald tossing Nathan Diaz around the Octagon, all on the prelims.
On the main card, future lightweight champ Benson Henderson made his UFC debut with a win over Mark Bocek, Lyoto Machida sent Randy Couture into retirement (and his tooth into orbit), and Jose Aldo out-hustled Mark Hominick to defend his featherweight title for the first time before the evening was capped by St-Pierre successfully defending his welterweight strap with a win over Jake Shields.
As a kid that grew up in Southern Ontario and was just breaking into covering this sport at the time, it was incredible to be back home covering this event. I can still close my eyes and picture Hominick hustling out to the cage wearing a Hamilton Tiger-cats hat as “Coming Home” echoed through the cavernous venue.
This one was truly special.