|By: Big Jeff Pearce & Coach G|
Dutiful and patriotic Canadian MMA fans have been waiting 18 months for GSP to return to the Octagon and that day is finally coming on Saturday November 17, 2012 in La Belle Province. There are a ton of questions being asked; is GSP going to be able to come back from an injury and 18 months of ring rust? Is GSP mentally ready to fight? Is Carlos Condit going to take an upset victory? Is the absence of Greg Jackson in both camps going to change their fight styles? I could go on, but let’s get one thing straight: This fight is going to make or break GSPs legacy in MMA.
Apart from the main event, there are a few of great bouts with actual implications to divisional “rankings.” I use quotations because after we saw Chael Sonnen just the line with Jon Jones, it is apparent that “rankings” or “number one contenderships” don’t actually mean that much. More than anything, there are a ton of great stylistic match ups on this card. And, as a bonus to us dutiful and patriotic Canadians, there are a number of Canadians fighting on this card, such as Sam Stout, Mark Hominick, John Makdessi, Mark Bocek, Nick Ring, Patrick Côté and Antonio Carvalho.
In this preview, we’re going to stray from the usual break down and do a roundtable discussion/preview. The majority of our conversation will focus on Canadian fighters and their match-ups. At the end of this discussion, you can find the fight card, UFC preview shows and trailers. On that note, if you’re a hardcore MMA fan and you love Canadian content, keep your eyes open next week for our Score Fighting Series 7 Preview. There will be a number of great bouts going down in Hamilton, Ontario on November 23, 2012 – these guys are known to sling leather and draw blood; we’ll be here to cover it all.
|Welterweight||Georges St-Pierre (c)||vs.||Carlos Condit (ic)|
|Welterweight||Martin Kampmann||vs.||Johny Hendricks|
|Middleweight||Francis Carmont||vs.||Tom Lawlor|
|Middleweight||Nick Ring||vs.||Costa Philippou|
|Featherweight||Mark Hominick||vs.||Pablo Garza|
Preliminary Card (FX)
|Middleweight||Patrick Côté||vs.||Alessio Sakara|
|Light Heavyweight||Cyrille Diabaté||vs.||Chad Griggs|
|Lightweight||Mark Bocek||vs.||Rafael dos Anjos|
|Lightweight||Sam Stout||vs.||John Makdessi|
Preliminary Card (Facebook)
|Featherweight||Antonio Carvalho||vs.||Rodrigo Damm|
|Welterweight||Matthew Riddle||vs.||John Maguire|
|Bantamweight||Ivan Menjivar||vs.||Azamat Gashimov|
|Featherweight||Steven Siler||vs.||Darren Elkins|
Q. Let’s start this off with the fight that is on everyone’s mind; GSP v. Condit. Who do you like and why?
Big Jeff: GSP all the way. I know that there is a very good case to be made for Condit and a good case for why GSP may lose this bout. However, from all accounts, GSP is mentally and physically ready for this bout. We know that he is meticulous in his preparation and it is apparent in the conference calls and media that he has done that his focus is nothing less than 100%. Obviously, Condit has dangerous hands and he is a very skilled fighter boasting some serious statistics that make computers everywhere cry just a little bit; but, GSP is the kind of fighter that neutralizes your strengths. It has been well documented that GSP was regretful for not finishing some of his fights and that he has been fighting not to lose, for example, Dan Hardy and Jake Shields. Will he turn around and fight Carlos’ game in an attempt to put on exciting fight? I don’t think so. I’m not saying the fight won’t be exciting but GSP fights his own fight; he doesn’t take chances. Expect GSP to utilize his crisp in and out striking to set up take downs; grinding out a victory.
Coach G: As a fellow French Canadian it would be hard for me to go against GSP even if for some insane reason I didn’t think he was going to win. Let’s be realistic here, GSP hasn’t lost a fight in quite some time, maybe 5 years now, and I don’t think Condit is going to be the guy to beat him. Of course, there is that shred of doubt that’s in the back of everyone’s mind because of GSP’s knee injury and I do feel that it is a factor. There’s a reason why so many athletes who have ACL injuries are never the same again. It’s a very serious injury and I am not 100% confident that the knee will ever be as good as new. However, questionable knee or not, I think GSP is going to come in and do what he does best; mix it up. He will use a very effective game plan of mostly tight Greco Wrestling, takedowns and ground pressure to neutralize Condit and earn a judges decision. Sorry drunk bar fans, this is going to be one of those fights where you keep yelling at the screen, “this fight sucks, why is he dry humping him the whole time, stand up and fight!”
Q. Will a loss of this fight damage GSPs legacy?
Big Jeff: I think that a loss is going to damage GSPs legacy quite a bit. In fact, it would certainly dissolve any chance of the Silva v. GSP fight everyone has been talking about. He will still go down as one of the best pound for pound fighters of all time, but there will be that universal comment attached to his name “he was one of the best until he hurt the knee.”
Coach G: If GSP is going to lose any fight at this point in his career this could be one he could get away with. Coming off an injury of that magnitude is no joke and can leave many athletes second guessing themselves until they actually get a chance to test it in real action. He may hesitate for just a second and that could be the difference. But he would have to come back and avenge the loss right away to keep his legacy in tact.
Q. What happens to Condit after a loss at this level?
Coach G: The welterweight division is a bit of a mess right now if you ask me. There are a handful of good fighters but the UFC has done a poor job of ranking them and structuring the division to keep it growing and exciting. It seems every guy who loses to GSP just becomes a nobody pretty much right after. Guys like Jake Shields, Jon Fitch, Dan Hardy (who had no business fighting GSP), Thiago Alves are all great fighters but pretty much just fell off that map after their title fight loses. Sadly, Condit will follow suit and fade away into the UFC dust.
Big Jeff: Depending on how quickly the fight ends, we may see a rematch in the not too distant future after a Silva v. GSP fight. Remember, the UFC puts on fights that the fans want, not necessarily what the deserving fight is. I think there would be more interest in a rematch of a close GSP v. Condit or GSP v. Diaz than that of a GSP v. Kampmann/Hendricks fight. And, I say that with all due respect to Kampmann/Hendricks.
Q. Who faces the winner of this bout? What happens to the winner of Kampmann v. Hendricks?
Coach G: I am going to keep this one simple, all I want to see if GSP and Nick Diaz fight. So, I see GSP winning and then they HAVE TO SUCK IT UP and bring Nicky back to fight Georges. No other fight for GSP excites me.
Big Jeff: I think that the winner of Kampmann/Hendricks may not wind up fighting for the belt, especially if we have to wait for a Silva v. GSP fight to happen. These guys won’t want to sit on the shelf while that happens and things change.
Q. Who wins out of Kampmann v. Hendricks and why?
Big Jeff: It’s a tough one to call. I think that Kampmann is an excellent striker and has pretty decent takedown defence. If this fight stays standing, Hendricks plant and trade style will give Kampmann a decent advantage. In my opinion, Kampmann takes the fight and it will be a grind; either a late round knockout or decision. Not an easy win for Kampmann.
Coach G: I am going to have to say Hendricks but in all honesty it doesn’t really matter to me. Kampmann is a beast in the gym but a proven big fight disappointment and Hendricks needs a lot more development in my opinion. Neither of these guys should be considered for a title shot at this point but I will have to let Joe Silva make that call.
Q. Should beards be allowed in the UFC? Do they present any advantage?
Coach G: Awesome question… no beards! Period! Have you ever rolled with a guy with a big bushy beard? It’s disgusting, HA! And, when it comes to striking the beard can be hold a ton of Vaseline which can give the fighter a potential advantage when slipping punches and/or getting out of submission attempts.
Big Jeff: Beards, similar to long hair, present some kind of advantage/disadvantage to the fighter wearing it. If it is for religious purposes, I don’t see the problem. Otherwise, it does hide the chin fairly well. More than anything, I think it should be illegal in the UFC to wear a very big beard that hides the chin and presents a somewhat false target.
Q. Who wins between Nick Ring and Costa Philipou?
Coach G: I am going to go with Costa on this one. Nick hasn’t done much to impress me as of yet but he could prove me wrong here. I think Costa is going to catch Nick with a hard strike and that is going to be the beginning of the end for Nick Ring’s night.
Big Jeff: Another TUF alumni, Ring was on the 11th season of the reality show, has fought in Bellator and has won 3 of his 4 bouts in the UFC, his only loss being to Tim Boetsch. I’m mostly picking Ring in this match up because he was leaving a Starbucks one day in Calgary when he saw a gang of 6-10 people beating up a couple; trying to rob the woman’s purse. Ring and another individual started to chase the attackers and Ring subdued one of the suspects until police arrived. The remainder were arrested at a later point. Ring for the win.
Q. Who wins between Mark Hominick and Pablo Garza?
Coach G: I just want to see Hominick bring a great performance to the Octagon and win convincingly. His last couple fights have been very emotional and disappointing for him. He’s a great guy with a ton of skill and heart and it’s about time he gets back into winning form.
Big Jeff: Garza was on the TUF GSP v. Koscheck season and lost his first bout to Michael Johnson. We all know who Mark Hominick is after all those slugfests he has delivered us. While Hominick shows a capability to get his bell rung, I like Hominick for the win. He’s one tough, Canadian S.O.B. and his heart is unparalleled in the Octagon. My feeling is that if Garza tries to pull a flying triangle(like in his Yves Jabouin fight) or any other fancy shmancy stuff, Hominick will smack him down.
Q. Who wins between Patrick Côté and Alessio Sakara?
Big Jeff: Côté is coming off his first loss (Unanimous Decision against Cung Le) after returning to the UFC. To me, it seems like he is coming to the tail end of his career. Sakara has been around since UFC 55 and has been in some big battles. Frankly, this fight doesn’t really interest me because these guys aren’t really in title contention and haven’t done anything to really grab interest as of late. I think Sakara is the better of the two fighters.
Coach G: Is it just me or does it seem like this fight should have been on a card about 5 years ago? It’s great and all that the UFC gives the local guys like Patrick a chance to earn a pay check in their home town but honestly this fight means nothing. Someone is going to win and someone is going lose and that’s about all I have to say about this one.
Q. Who wins between Mark Bocek and Rafael dos Anjos?
Big Jeff: Dos Anjos is a guy that tends to win by submission or by decision. Bocek also tends to win by the same means. However, Bocek will stand and trade some serious hands whereas I don’t feel that dos Anjos will be able to be at that level. Bocek for the win.
Coach G: I have trained a number of time with Bocek and he is a beast on the ground. Rafael is no strange to a little ground chess either but I am going to have to go with Mark on this one. If you like jiu jistsu you won’t want to miss this fight!
Q. Who wins between Sam Stout and John Makdessi?
Coach G: I am starting to sound like a broken record here. I think I am picking more on emotion than actual facts but let’s keep it going strong anyways. I am going with Stout for the win (yes because he is a local Ontario Canadian).
Big Jeff: Makdessi is coming off two losses. Stout is coming off a win against Spencer Fisher. I think that this fight is almost too close to call but I’ll give it to Makdessi because he could be looking at being released if he loses this bout. In so far as impact on the division, this fight isn’t going to change much.
Q. Who wins between Antonio Carvalho and Rodrigo Damm?
Big Jeff: Classic striker versus BJJ guy in this bout. Except the striker also has good BJJ, just no one knows it. Carvalho has accumulated a number of wins by KO/TKO and also has a black belt in BJJ. Just going by their records, it would be anyone’s fight on the ground, but standing I give it to Carvalho.
Coach G: This one could go either way. Whoever imposes their game better from the get go is going to take it. Rodrigo appears to be the more well rounded fighter on paper but I think Antonio is going to be pumped up by the energy of the crowd and is going to take it.
Q. What do you think of the Riddle/Randleman beef?
Big Jeff: Riddle seems like a nice guy and after hearing both sides of the story, I think that they should just let bygones be bygones and move on. $500 isn’t that much money to have this much drama over. Maybe Randleman will try to get a cut of Riddle’s purse if he wins. If anything, this is one of those situation that really sheds light on the fact that a lot of fighters out there didn’t make a whole lot from the earlier days of the UFC/Pride era. These guys put everything on the line and should be compensated as such.
Coach G: Randleman is notorious for being a bit out there so to speak so I haven’t really bothered to pay much attention to the whole ordeal. All I have to say is that I hope it’s not some sad ploy to get a circus fight set up inside the Octagon.
Check out the UFC 154 Primetime episode 1 & 2 right here on Strong-Athlete.com