Top MMA News Breaks Down UFC 158: St. Pierre vs. Diaz
It’s a rare commodity to see Georges St. Pierre angry with his opponent. Simply put, Josh Koscheck couldn’t even upset the guy. What is it about Nick Diaz that does it for him? Regardless of the answer, it should make for either an unbelievable back and forth or, as many expect, the good old fashioned dominant top position victory for the Montreal native. Either way, this is a bout that is hard not to get excited for.
The organization makes their way back to their favourite Canadian home. UFC 158 will be held in the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec on March 16th. As stated, the main event will be UFC Welterweight champion Georges ‘Rush’ St. Pierre, putting his belt on the line against Nick Diaz. It should be an excellent card from top to bottom and one that nobody (especially Canadians) will want to miss. There will be five main card bouts live on PPV.
UFC Welterweight Championship Bout
(c) Georges St. Pierre (23-2) vs. Nick Diaz (26-8)
This fight may have been more exciting before Nick Diaz lost to Carlos Condit in his last fight but these two managed to really bring the hype of late. Georges St. Pierre and Diaz will finally get a shot at each other, like they have been begging for. St. Pierre looked unbelievable in his return performance against that very same Condit that beat Diaz in a narrow decision.
St. Pierre has rarely looked poor in any of his performances. He didn’t miss a beat after a very long layoff. Diaz is a very different kind of opponent. St. Pierre has yet to fight a guy that is willing to push forward with frustrating boxing and masterful Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Diaz never seems to care where the fight goes and he will stand up against the best strikers and grapple with the best grapplers.
St. Pierre will most likely try to dominate from the top but he has to be extremely cautious. One thing St. Pierre haters can expect is that Diaz will keep this fight interesting. No doubt Diaz will give the champion trouble on multiple occasions but it’s so tough to see Diaz actually being able to do enough to get the finish or decision. Prepare for some vulgarity from the Stockton, California native but don’t expect it to be enough to get the win and the belt.
Prediction: St. Pierre via Unanimous Decision
Carlos Condit (28-6) vs. Johny Hendricks (14-1)
This bout was not originally booked as the aforementioned Condit was set to rematch Rory MacDonald. Johny Hendricks went ahead and took this fight because he was already booked to face Jake Ellenberger on this card. Instead of what seemed to be a guaranteed title shot after knocking out Martin Kampmann, he will now have to take on an extremely dangerous and well-rounded opponent in Condit.
Both guys are proven finishers. Hendricks has power in both hands. He’s knocked out some top tier opponents in under a minute and has the ability to do it to anyone. Condit has power in his hands, legs, very crafty jiu-jitsu and can finish you anywhere the fight goes. Where this fight may change depends on how much wrestling Hendricks will use.
If he fights smart, he will not look for the power shot so much and try to control Condit on the cage. Condit has the versatility to really be able to take over this fight, especially late but he has shown a tendency to struggle to start in fights. The first couple rounds should be a back and forth but it should be expected that Hendricks will want to stand with Condit and that could very well be his downfall.
Prediction: Condit via TKO Round 3
Jake Ellenberger (28-6) vs. Nate Marquardt (32-11-2)
After feeling disrespected by Hendricks pulling out of their bout, Jake Ellenberger will have a shot to go up against a very solid veteran making his return to the UFC in Nate Marquardt. Ellenberger was rolling before being stopped by Kampmann last June but he was able to get back into the win column against Jay Hieron. Marquardt is going into his third bout in the Welterweight division and first in the UFC.
After a terrible performance against Tarec Saffiedine, Marquardt will definitely look to impress the people that let him go for a failed drug test back in June of 2011. Both guys will likely look to keep the fight standing but Ellenberger has solid wrestling in his back pocket if Marquardt’s awesome combinations start to get the best of him. Both guys can definitely finish on the feet but Marquardt may be a little past his prime to be successful in a new division.
Prediction: Ellenberger via KO Round 2
Nick Ring (13-1) vs. Chris Camozzi (18-5)
To start, let’s be honest: controversy has surrounded Nick Ring since he started in the UFC. Two questionable decision victories and some heroics in last June have defined his career so far. He will be going up against Chris Camozzi, who was in the same season of the Ultimate Fighter as Ring and will be looking for a fourth straight win, all in the UFC.
Ring is a well-rounded fighter with a solid ground game and good muay Thai but he really has yet to show his potential inside the Octagon. Camozzi will likely want to keep the fight standing because, well, he has never actually attempted a takedown in his seven career UFC bouts. It is an unpredictable fight considering both guys have looked inconsistent but this one should be Ring’s fight to lose.
Prediction: Ring via Unanimous Decision
Mike Ricci (7-3) vs. Colin Fletcher (8-2)
The battle of the Ultimate Fighter losers will kick off this card as Mike Ricci will hope to improve on a poor outing as a finalist of TUF 16 against Colin Fletcher, finalist of TUF: The Smashes. Ricci showed some great skill against much bigger opponents. He proved his grappling and striking game are reasons he deserves to be in the organization. Fletcher, on the other hand, is definitely a more focused grappler.
Fletcher has unbelievable length for a Lightweight. At 6’2, his extremely long limbs suit his given nickname of ‘Freakshow’. If the fight hits the ground, Fletcher will certainly give Ricci a tough time. What will likely make the difference is that Ricci has more than enough experience dealing with bigger fighters, especially after viewing his success on the show and in his past fights. He should be able to manage to keep it on the feet and get the TKO victory.
Prediction: Ricci via TKO Round 2