Top MMA News Breaks Down UFC 154: St. Pierre vs. Condit
The UFC has not been to Montreal, Quebec in nearly two years, but the city could not have asked for a better event for the organization’s return. After a long stretch of injury prone UFC events, little has occurred to affect this major card. The UFC finally has their opportunity to move forward and it does not hurt that one of the biggest Pay-Per-View draws in their 19 year history makes his long awaited return.
On November 17th, the UFC makes their way to the Bell Centre for UFC 154. The main event of the card will mark the return of UFC Welterweight Champion, Georges ‘Rush’ St. Pierre, as he takes on current Interim Welterweight title holder, Carlos ‘The Natural Born Killer’ Condit. The co-main event will include a Welterweight battle between potential number one contenders, Martin ‘Hitman’ Kampmann and Johny Hendricks. This Canadian heavy card will have the likes of former Featherweight title challenger, Mark ‘The Machine’ Hominick and former Ultimate Fighter contestant, Nick ‘The Promise’ Ring competing. The five main card fights will air live on Pay-Per-View.
Unified UFC Welterweight Title Fight
Champion Georges St. Pierre (22-2) vs. Interim Champion Carlos Condit (28-5)
Well, he’s back. April 2011 in Toronto was the last time we were able to lay eyes on one of the greatest fighters in history. Georges St. Pierre has dominated in his reign as the UFC Welterweight champion and will look to continue his supremacy against the current Interim Welterweight champion, Carlos Condit. After missing out on over a year of action due to an injury to his ACL, St. Pierre will have a tough challenge ahead of him. Condit is one of the best finishers in MMA, however, in his bout with Nick Diaz, he properly implemented a game plan that would not allow him to engage in a war with a fighter that would likely get the best of him. The last time St. Pierre was in the Octagon, he was dominating Jake Shields until an eye injury slowed him down and forced him to look less than stellar en route to a decision win.
When it comes to disciplines, nothing Condit does is better than St. Pierre. After a long and dominant career, St. Pierre has proven that he is arguably the most well rounded talent in MMA. Condit has one advantage that could make a major difference in the bout: his finishing ability. Condit is a good enough grappler to be able to submit St. Pierre, but most importantly, he has nasty power in his arms and legs, and if he connects, the fight could be over. Condit will need to control the pace of the fight and prepare to backpedal like he did against Diaz. He will need to change angles and maneuver to get away from St. Pierre’s powerful double leg. Most importantly, even if it sounds horrible to say, he must test the injured leg of the Canadian. St. Pierre will need to do what he does best. That is, move forward and use his versatile striking to frustrate his opponent. When he finds his opening, get the takedown and dominate like he always does from top position. You could pretty much assume that if St. Pierre consistently gets top control, he will win each round with his superior work ethic. He needs to be cautious of Condit’s power but there are always intangibles that he has proven time and time again that he could defeat. Expect this to be another time. St. Pierre should, once again, be crowned the undisputed Welterweight champ.
Prediction: St. Pierre via Unanimous Decision
Martin Kampmann (20-5) vs. Johny Hendricks (13-1)
People were beginning to wonder when the Welterweight division would make way for some legitimate contenders. Well, after Martin Kampmann submitted Thiago Alves and knocked out Jake Ellenberger, there was at least one. Johny Hendricks then decided to burst onto the scene by knocking out Jon Fitch in seconds then getting a hard fought decision over Josh Koscheck. Huge wins for both Kampmann and Hendricks, putting them in position for a war to determine the number one contender. Kampmann is the proud owner of a wide array of offensive talent. He can finish the fight anywhere and he has the balance that makes him a threat to every opponent. What makes him special is his ability to recover from rough patches. In his last two victories, he was extremely close to losing but came out of nowhere to finish the fights. He will need that ability to recover if he gets hit by either of Hendricks’ fists. Hendricks is a multiple Division I National Champion in wrestling and has looked great in his transition to MMA. Kampmann has more ways to finish but Hendricks will be the one pushing the pace and trying to mix up his wrestling as well as trying to knock out the Danish fighter. Kampmann will need to find a way to finish the fight. Decisions have not exactly been his friend lately and his finishes have brought him to this point. Hendricks is tough to finish and he is a very tough fighter but his wrestling has not been as dominant as many expected. He will likely utilize the cage and work some dirty boxing instead of trying to exchange with a more talented striker. It should be a very close one and picking either would not be incorrect, but Hendricks tends to get in trouble far less than Kampmann.
Prediction: Hendricks via Unanimous Decision
Francis Carmont (19-7) vs. Tom Lawlor (8-4)
Three fights into his career with the UFC, Francis Carmont has looked like a monster. Carmont is a massive Middleweight that will break his opponents will with his strength. He will be taking on Tom Lawlor, who has solid knockout power but usually aims to grind out victories, utilizing his wrestling. Both of these guys prefer to grapple. Carmont is the more dominating presence in the Octagon but Lawlor is the biggest test of his career. On the feet, if Carmont is able to use his size and reach against Lawlor and avoid getting caught, he could frustrate the American wrestler before the fight eventually turns into a clinching war. Much of this fight will likely be fought up against the cage and Carmont has to avoid letting Lawlor control the positioning. If Lawlor ends up on his back, he will be in a lot of trouble as Carmont has proven that he is a force from top position. If he is able to control Lawlor, he should be able to finish the fight by taking his back and choking him out.
Prediction: Carmont via Rear Naked Choke Round 2
Costa Philippou (11-2) vs. Nick Ring (13-1)
Despite experiencing a couple controversial decisions in his favor, Nick Ring continues to be one of the more potentially talented fighters in the Middleweight division. In his bouts against fellow Ultimate Fighter contestant, Court McGee and Japanese talent, Riki Fukuda, Ring definitely did not look his best but still managed to take decisions. Upon entering the organization as a no name boxer, Costa Philippou has been put up against some very tough opponents, coming out on top in his last four fights. He has turned out to be an excellent fighter, especially with his ability to keep the fight standing with solid takedown defense and beating the likes of Jorge Rivera and Court McGee. Both guys will likely want to keep the fight standing but Philippou is the better striker of the two. As for the better overall mixed martial artist of the two, it is tough to go against Ring. The question remains, where will Ring actually be able to take this fight to beat a tough guy like Philippou? Despite winning three of four fights in the Octagon, Ring just has not looked good in any way. Philippou should be able to keep the fight standing and dominate en route to another impressive decision victory. Although, I must add, the judges might think differently.
Prediction: Philippou via Unanimous Decision
Mark Hominick (20-11) vs. Pablo Garza (11-3)
It has been a very tough year and a half for Canadian MMA veteran, Mark Hominick. After a long career, he had finally earned the opportunity to fight for a major title when he went up against Jose Aldo. As most should remember, he put up an amazing effort and many expected him to make his way back into the mix shortly after losing. That definitely was not the case. After getting knocked out in seven seconds and losing a split decision to little known Eddie Yagin, Hominick is in a potential do or die scenario against fellow WEC veteran, Pablo Garza. In his first two bouts in the UFC, Garza received a Knockout of the Night bonus and Submission of the Night bonus, only to get dominated against top competition in his next two outings. Though both Featherweights have been struggling for the last little while, this fight will undoubtedly be a Fight of the Night candidate. Both have pretty solid submission ability as well as knockout power and they will both aim to finish the fight. This could either be a war of two guys looking to entertain or a subtle effort to get back into the win column. Either way, Hominick should get back into form and get a much needed victory, using his boxing to push Garza back and eventually dropping him and finishing the fight via knockout. There should be a lot of desperation in this fight and fans should be hopeful that it will mean fireworks to open up the main card.
Prediction: Hominick via TKO Round 3
Check out Top MMA News UFC 154 Prelim Breakdowns HERE.