Photo of Georges St. Pierre via @GeorgesStPierre on Twitter
Every time UFC puts on an event, speculation, questions and theories arise about which fighters will perform ... or underperform. Will new contenders emerge? Will established ones fall? Where will the winners go? Which losers will still have a job on Monday? Who is healthy? Who is fighting injured? Anytime the UFC athletes are set to enter the Octagon, questions swirl.
This Saturday night (Nov. 17, 2012), the Octagon will travel north of the border for the third time this calendar year with UFC 154: "St. Pierre vs. Condit" from the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
A welterweight championship unification bout headlines the event as reigning champ Georges St. Pierre meets interim title-holder Carlos Condit in the main event of the evening. There are several interesting storylines to follow going into and coming out of the event, but only four can make the "burning" list.
That being said, here are four burning questions going into UFC 154: "St. Pierre vs. Condit" this weekend:
4. Can Mark Hominick Get Back On Track?
Mark "The Machine" Hominick returns to the Octagon at UFC 154 after losing his third consecutive bout to Eddie Yagin last April. Prior to the loss to Yagin, Hominick was knocked out by Chang Sung Jung in a matter of seconds and before that, impressed fans in a losing effort against UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo. Hominick gave Aldo the toughest fight of his title reign thus far, but after three straight losses, competing against a fighter of Aldo's caliber seems a long way off for the Canadian.
Hominick is one of the best strikers in the division. The former TKO Featherweight Champion and has some of the most technical kickboxing in the world at 145-pounds. Hominick will attempt to put his accurate striking to use when he takes on the dangerous Pablo Garza in Montreal.
The last time Hominick strung together multiple defeats, he followed up by winning seven of his next eight and earned a UFC title shot. If he ever hopes to compete for UFC gold again, the Ontario native must put together a winning streak starting at UFC 154.
3. Can Martin Kampmann Earn A Title Shot?
After coming from behind in back-to-back fights to submit Thiago Alves at UFC on FX 2 and knockout Jake Ellenberger at The Ultimate Fighter (TUF): "Live" Finale, Martin "The Hitman" Kampmann returns to the Octagon at UFC 154 for his third fight against a Top 10 opponent this year.
Since dropping down to the welterweight division from middleweight in Jan. 2009, Kampmann has fought the best of the best at 170-pounds, defeating most of his opponents. Kampmann's best win in the welterweight division comes against current UFC interim welterweight champion Carlos Condit by split decision in a fight that could have gone either way. Kampmann has compiled a solid record (7-3) at 170-pounds, with the losses coming to Paul Daley, Jake Shields and Diego Sanchez. Kampmann gets no pushover for his next bout, drawing top welterweight contender Johny "Bigg Rigg" Hendricks.
At 30 years old, Saturday's bout against Hendricks is pivotal for the Danish fighter. If Kampmann has any hopes of getting a chance to fight for the title in the foreseeable future, a win at UFC 154 is a must. A loss would be devastating, but a victory -- especially one in impressive fashion -- would signify arguably the biggest victory in the career of "The Hitman", and would solidify his place as the undisputed No. 1 contender in the weight class.
2. Will Carlos Condit Spoil The Party Once Again?
As the days wind down to UFC 154, much focus has been directed to Georges St. Pierre and if he is going to fight Anderson Silva in a superfight after he defeats "The Natural Born Killer" in Montreal. What many people seem to be forgetting is Condit has a great chance of beating "Rush" and spoiling the party.
The situation is eerily similar to UFC 143 in February, where Condit outpointed Nick Diaz en route to a decision to win the interim welterweight championship and ultimately position himself for a title unification bout with St. Pierre. Prior to UFC 143, everyone was talking about how big of a fight St. Pierre vs. Diaz will be and were essentially counting Condit out as the loser of the fight.
How did that turn out? Well ... the upcoming event isn't called UFC 154: "St. Pierre vs. Diaz," is it?
Condit seems to relish the role of being an underdog. And while fans and media are talking about super fights, Condit is in the gym training to become the undisputed welterweight champion. "The Natural Born Killer" has already spoiled one party, can he put on a repeat performance this Saturday and do it again?
1. Is Georges St. Pierre Prepared For His Octagon Return?
More than one year after undergoing reconstructive surgery for a torn ACL in his right knee, UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre returns to mixed martial arts (MMA) competition in the main event of UFC 154 when he takes on Condit for the undisputed unified UFC welterweight championship of the world.
There are some concerns surrounding St. Pierre's health as he readies for his first fight since April 2011. The concerns are primarily about the Canadian's knee and if it is completely recovered from the damage sustained when he first went down with the injury.
According to insiders, St. Pierre's recovery was deemed quick for the severity of his injury. Athletes in other sports could be sidelined for the rest of their careers after suffering the ACL injury of "Rush," however, the 31-year-old is a physical specimen and managed to return to fight shape sooner than doctor's expected.
St. Pierre says his knee is 100 percent, but it is unknown if that is really, truly the case. Hopefully, St. Pierre is recovered from his injuries and properly trained, or the fight could end badly for him. No one besides St. Pierre and his camp know the truth about his health.
With the event now just days away, you can be certain of one thing: all the answers will be revealed once the cage door closes on Saturday night.