Predictions for UFC 154

 

by Christopher Alexander

This Saturday, the best UFC Welterweight champion ever, George St. Pierre, will defend his belt against former WEC welterweight champion Carlos Condit. Will the long layoff and brand new knee become an issue for GSP, or will he add “The Natural Born Killer” to his long list of fighters he’s beaten during his domination of the UFC Welterweight division? And lets not forget the rest of the packed card:

 

Martin Kampmann vs Johny Hendricks

 

Tom Lawlor vs Francis Carmont

 

Constantinos Philippou vs Nick Ring

 

Pablo Garza vs Mark Hominick

 

Notable matches from the undercard:

 

Alessio Sakara vs Patrick Cote

 

Sam Stout vs John Makedessi

 

Rafael dos Anjos vs Mark Bocek

 

Predictions:

 

Sam Stout wins via 2nd rd TKO

Expect this fight to be a shootout. Makedessi is a striker that doesn’t care much for being put on his back, and Sam Stout isn’t much for takedowns, so this should be much more of a kickboxing match than anything else. Both guys have a solid stand up game, and John hasn’t been ko’ed ever (and has a perfect record in kickboxing to boot) but Sam has an adamantium skull: he can eat punches like no one else, and seems to counter punch harder as he gets clobbered with people’s best shots. I see these two getting into an exchange, and then Sam catching Makedessi with a counter right hook he was never able to see coming, pouncing on him when he drops, and forcing the referee to step in and stop it. Its possible that Makedessi uses his kicks and jab to keep Sam on his heels, or even catches Stout with a strike that stops the fight (since anyone can be knocked out, some are just much tougher than others), but considering the competition Sam has fought and defeated, which included some very good kickboxers/boxers, I think his power and chin will carry the day for him.

 

Patrick Cote wins via 2nd rd KO

Cote is a warrior, and more importantly he’s smart at figuring out people’s gameplans and adjusting. Aside from a surprise overhand right, it’s unlikely Sakara will have much to use against Cote, who is much more well rounded. Cote will prove he belongs in the UFC again.

 

Mark Hominick via 1st rd KO

Before his fight with Jose Aldo, Mark Hominick had been putting on striking clinics against a long series of opponents (George Roop, Yves Jabouin, Ben Greer) with his main weakness coming from submissions and great wrestling. Garza indeed has a solid ground game, with seven wins by submission, but if I’m honest there aren’t many positive things to say about his standup game. On one hand he was willing to put it all out there and go for a flying triangle, but on the other hand its sort of a desperation move. One doesn’t go for a flying triangle when they feel confident that they can take their opponent down, gain top position, and get the submission or GnP win. You go for a flying triangle when you have nothing to lose, because you’re outclassed standing, and you aren’t able to secure a takedown.

 

If Garza doesn’t get a takedown, it’ll be a short fight; Mark will have fava beans with his liver on Saturday night. What Hominick will have to do is avoid getting into a grappling match with the better submission fighter; keep the fight standing, and not to get caught in Garza’s guard. I haven’t seen any amazing takedowns on Garza’s part yet, so Hominick should feel relatively safe with throwing just about all the strikes he wants on his way to victory.

 

Constantinos Philippou via UD

Call me biased, but I can’t pick a guy that’s hasn’t fought top level competition, and two of his most recent decision wins probably should have been losses. Constantinos should have an advantage on the feet, and neither guy is a submission machine. Might even end in a KO win for Constantinos.

 

Francis Carmont via 2nd rd RNC

Francis Carmont is a finisher. Granted Lawlor has beaten better competition, but experience counts. And who doesn’t love a fighter that always tries to keep it out of the hands of the judges? I”m seeing a takedown from the cage perhaps, a scramble, slick transition to the back, and a deep choke from Carmont for the win.

 

Martin Kampmann via UD

 

I know, the odds are against this fight going the whole time, I know Hendricks is being prepped as being the next big thing at middleweight (and talking trash about being able to beat Anderson), and I know the odds are against it in every way, but I just can’t go against my gut: unless Kampmann get’s KTFOed, he has a chance. He has solid kickboxing, was able to grapple with Jake Shields (although, Shields still managed to barely win with lay-and-pray), and isn’t afraid to go to war. He only gets better as the rounds go on.

 

That’s important because its been the case that unless Hendricks knocks you out early, you’re going to a decision. Kampmann could lose the first round, squeak by and steal the second half of round two, and flat out win in the third. Hendricks has a very good wrestling game, but Kampmann has proven that he isn’t that easy to take down and safely keep him there. I admit there is a significant power advantage going for Hendricks, but I’ll pick technique and clean punches over power most days. Though I suppose I’d love to watch a rematch of Condit and Kampmann, while Anderson gets a chance to toy with and KO Hendricks before the probable GSP superfight. It’s an important match, and should be an exciting fight of the night candidate.

 

GSP via UD

 

 

What it comes down to is GSP can take anyone down, period. I love watching Carlos Condit fight, with his crazy kicks, strategic prowess, warrior’s spirit, and overall well-roundedness. That said, GSP is a consummate professional and has worked through injury before. I don’t envision him coming in too rusty at all, he will take Condit seriously. More importantly, almost no one has avoided repeated takedown attemps from GSP, and no one has submitted him from their back. He has beat a prodigy, a hall of famer, a pitbull, and an eyepoker. It appears the only way to beat him is to kill his father and hit him in the face with a sledgehammer, or do a cross body spinning armbar from sidemount with only one second to go in the first round. Condit is unlikely to do either of these things. GSP is bigger, stronger, with arguably better conditioning, and grappling. Both are great strategists, though GSP has fought, and beat, much better competition, and did it with ease. I will concede that GSP probably won’t be able to jab his way to victory here, as Condit is a little too smart for that, but he has so many other ways to win and skills to use.

 

So what does Condit have? He is great in exchanges (like vs. Dan Hardy), he is fully capable of finishing a fight at any time (sub or KO), and is supremely confident in his ability to fight well in any position in the cage. He certainty has a chance, even against a fully rejuvenated, best GSP ever. He could stay on his bike, strike intelligently, and sprawl out like a drunken prom date on every double leg shot. I just find it unlikely, GSP isn’t stupid enough to stand in front of Condit without keeping his hands up, using head movement, or throwing straight and compact punches; so it’s unlikely there will be a chance for a clean counter punch KO. He’s not likely to get a head kick KO, or a submission off his back, and no one has decisioned GSP yet. As long as his knee is fully repaired, then GSP has almost every advantage, and he will use every one of them he can.

 

Agree? Disagree? Something I’ve missed? Think Anderson will politely, and publicly challenge GSP to a fight? Feel free to contact me on the site or on Facebook, and tell me what you think.