UFC 158 Staff Predictions
Georges St-Pierre vs. Nick Diaz:
Mike Drahota: At this point in time, with the hype reaching an all-time high, I just want to see a good fight. Most people are picking Georges St-Pierre in another smothering unanimous decision, and I can’t blame them. Nick Diaz is a great fighter, with awesome boxing, world-class jiujitsu, and cardio for days. I just don’t think any of that will matter here though, as GSP’s takedowns will just be too hard to stuff for him. GSP via unanimous decision is the obvious choice.
Rory Keraghan: I think that this fight is going to be all GSP. Wherever he dictates the fight to go, is where it will go. Diaz is not going to have a choice. He has great stand up but he is no match for the more powerful, explosive style of Georges St-Pierre. I can see this being a one sided beatdown with Diaz spending a lot of time soaking up punishment on the ground. St-Pierre has excellent wrestling control and I expect him to put it to full use as he pins Diaz to the mat. Diaz is tough but very prone to cuts, I think St-Pierre takes this via referee stoppage due to cuts in the third.
Bryan Fontez: As the fight gets closer, I definitely find myself giving Diaz more of a chance. That isn’t saying much however because I didn’t give him a very good chance to begin with. I respect Nick and his abilities in the octagon, but he’s simply not on GSP’s level. Georges is a machine who is constantly shaking things up in his training to give himself one of the best athletic body’s in all of sports. No matter how good Diaz is, Georges is faster, stronger, smarter and much more experienced against top competition. A stoppage might be possible from either fighter, but realistically, as long as Georges can maintain that razor-sharp focus and keep the drama out of the octagon, there is absolutely no reason to think that the results will be anything but a brutally one-sided 5 round unanimous decision for GSP.
Mike Drahota: This bout will determine the next title contender at welterweight, and rightfully so. Many think Johny Hendricks should have already been placed in a title shot against GSP, but the Diaz fight has been a long time coming. Regardless, as Hendricks stated yesterday, he can’t look past Carlos Condit or he will lose. But part of still thinks he may be focused on what he doesn’t have. His interviews would suggest that. And Carlos Condit is a very dynamic fighter. If Condit can stay off his back, he will frustrate Hendricks with his diverse striking. I’m taking Condit in another decision win.
Rory Keraghan: A big fight for both these guys and I expect them to come out fighting hard for the opportunity of a title shot. Condit will use his movement to try and negate Hendricks’ power. I think we will see a lot of jabbing from ‘NBK’ while Hendricks tries to close the gap. ‘Big Rig’ is probably going to have to try and score some takedowns and inflict some damage before the round ends. I expect the fight to end in round 2, once Hendricks realizes that he needs to take this fight to the ground. Look for some nasty ground and pound en-route to a TKO victory for Johny Hendricks.
Bryan Fontez: This one is tricky. Condit is no push over and the most interesting statistic to keep in mind, is that he has NEVER lost via KO or TKO in his entire career. His only losses were 3 decisions and 3 submissions. That’s not a stat that favours Hendricks and proves just how durable and crafty Condit is at staying out of danger and away from power strikes and heavy hands. With that said, Hendricks also seems to be a different beast then any other opponent Condit has ever faced. A stunning KO in any round is very possible and completely realistic, but I just can’t see Condit accepting back-to-back losses when his record says otherwise. I won’t be suprised if Hendricks finishes this one fast, but if I had to put my life on the line here, I’d say Condit upset’s the #1 contender with a 3 round Unanimous Decision.