UFC 154 predictions and prognostications

Wow. After a year and a half, even the boring style of Georges St-Pierre can't contain the excitement I feel for the fact he's actually going to step into the Octagon again and beat the ever-loving coward out of Carlos Condit. It's awesome.

This one-stop-shop for UFC 154 post is going to be hella long, so without further ado:

Featherweight fight (145 lbs)


Steven Siler, 25, The Pit Elevated
Record: 21-9, 3-0 UFC
Pro debut: April, 2005
Last fight: Defeated Joy Gambino by guillotine, June 22, 2012
Streak: Won 3
Style: Muay Thai, 2 T/KO, 11 submissions, 6 decisions
Losses: 4 T/KO, 5 submissions


Darren Elkins, 28, Duneland Vale Tudo
Record: 14-2, 4-1 UFC
Pro debut: January, 2007
Last fight: Defeated Diego Brandao by decision, May 26, 2012
Streak: Won 3
Style: Wrestler, 6 T/KO, 3 submissions, 5 decisions
Losses: 1 T/KO, 1 submission


Striking: Although he lost his chance at winning The Ultimate Fighter 14 to a flash knockout at the hands of Diego Brandao, Siler has more than competent Muay Thai and striking, though he doesn't usually have the power to finish fights with one punch. Siler will usually pepper an opponent, forcing the other fighter to clinch, where he has an unusually nasty guillotine choke. Although a wrestler, Darren Elkins has decent power, but hasn't stopped anyone since 2009. Advantage: Steven Siler.

Grappling: Siler can more than hold his own on the mat, with 13 of his 21 wins coming by way of submission. Six of those submission were by the aforementioned guillotine choke. The amazing thing about Siler is that he just keeps improving his game. He's 15-2 since starting out his career 5-7 and a lot of that success is attributable to his ability to finish guys on the ground. Elkins isn't really a submission guy, but has the top control of a BJJ black belt. Advantage: Steven Siler.

Wrestling: This is a category where Darren Elkins shines. Badly outgunned against Diego Brandao, Elkins used his wrestling to take away the unanimous decision. He competed all four years in high school and was Indiana State Champion as a senior. Although Siler has shown he can't be bullied to the ground against opponents like Cole Miller and Joey Gambino, Elkins is on another level if you consider his work against Michihiro Omigawa and that fighter's recent performance in China. Advantage: Darren Elkins.

Prediction: Darren Elkins wins by unanimous decision

* * *

Bantamweight fight (135 lbs)


Ivan Menjivar, 30, Tristar Gym in Montreal

Record: 24-9, 3-2 UFC
Pro debut: January, 2001
Last fight: Lost to Mike Easton by decision, July 7, 2012
Streak: Lost 1
Style: Striker/grappler, 9 T/KO, 9 submissions, 6 decisions
Losses: 1 T/KO, 1 submissions, 6 decisions, 1 DQ


Azamat Gashimov, 22, Jackson's MMA
Record: 7-1, UFC debut
Pro debut: November, 2007
Last fight: Defeated Azay Mamedov by submission, July 1, 2011, 2012
Streak: Won 2
Style: Kickboxer, 2 T/KO, 4 submissions, 1 decision
Losses: 1 T/KO

Striking: Not a whole lot is known about 22-year-old Azamat Gashimov, other than the fact he's another talented prospect out of Russia. He's the owner of a KO by headkick, but that was in 2009. Ivan Menjivar, other the other hand, is a well-known seasoned striker, who even fought against Georges St-Pierre back in 2002. There are very few fighters who can outpoint him on the feet at 135. Advantage: Ivan Menjivar.

Grappling: Again, Gashimov owns three armbars and a triangle choke to his name, but to opponents you've never heard of in the Ukraine. Menjivar, meanwhile, has submitted numerous veterans, including Joe Lauzon by the rare calf slicer in 2005. Although Menjivar prefers to bang, much to his disadvantage against fighters like Mike Easton, he's more than capable on the ground. Advantage: Ivan Menjivar.

Wrestling: This is an known variable again for the Russian, though reports are that the kid is pretty strong. Menjivar has never really been bullied around though, isn't likely to be held on his back for very long. Having fought at 155 pounds for much of his career, he has the size to hold his own against most guys in the Bantamweight division. If Gashimov hopes to spoil the party here, he'd better hope he can muscle around Menjivar and finish him on the ground. Advantage: Ivan Menjivar.

Prediction: Ivan Menjivar wins by first round T/KO.

* * *

Welterweight fight (170 lbs)


Matthew Riddle, 26, Throwdown Training Center
Record: 6-3, all UFC
Pro debut: June, 2008
Last fight: Submission win over Chris Clements (overturned), July 21, 2012
Streak: No contest
Style: Striker/wrestler, 1 T/KO, 4 decisions, 1 DQ
Losses: 1 T/KO, 2 decisions


John Maguire, 29, Tsunami Gym
Record: 18-4, 2-1 UFC
Pro debut: April, 2006
Last fight: Defeated by John Hathaway, Sept. 29, 2012
Streak: Lost 1
Style: Submission specialist, 3 T/KO, 10 submissions, 5 decisions
Losses: 1 T/KO, 3 decisions


Striking: Although John Maguire isn't the worst striker in the world, he's only likely to get a stoppage with ground and pound from his grappling game. Matthew Riddle has improved by leaps and bounds since his fiasco against Sean Pierson at UFC 124 in 2010, as displayed in his willingness to bang against Chris Clements and Henry Martinez. Advantage: Matthew Riddle.

Grappling: This one really isn't close. Maguire's "Gypsy Jiu-Jitsu" is known and dangerous in England, finishing 10 of his 18 wins by way of submission. A brown belt in BJJ, Maguire has finishes by Kimura, Armbar, and Rear Naked Choke. Riddle, however, is making slow but steady progress. A purple belt in BJJ, he actually finished Clements with a standing arm triangle choke in their match, winning submission of the night honours, before the fight was overturned by the Calgary Athletic Commission for testing positive for Marijuana. Advantage: John Maguire.

Wrestling: Matthew Riddle is a big boy, who fought on The Ultimate Fighter Season 7 as a Middleweight, before dropping down to 170. He's still a bulky kid, and uses his weight to his advantage. He showed it against both Clements and Martinez (granted, the latter is a natural Lightweight) and Lance Benoist. What this fight comes down to is whether you think Riddle can outwrestle Maguire without getting submitted over the course of three rounds. Advantage: Matthew Riddle.

Prediction: Matthew Riddle wins by unanimous decision.

* * *

Featherweight fight (145 lbs)


Antonio Carvalho, 33, Bruckmann Martial Arts
Record: 14-5, 1-1 UFC
Pro debut: September, 2002
Last fight: KO win over Daniel Pineda, July 21, 2012
Streak: Won 1
Style: Kickboxer, 7 T/KO, 3 submissions, 4 decisions
Losses: 2 T/KO, 3 decisions


Rodrigo Damm, 32, Alliance Jiu-Jitsu
Record: 10-5, 1-0 UFC
Pro debut: October, 2004
Last fight: Defeated Anistavio Medeiros by submission, June 23, 2012
Streak: Won 1
Style: Submission fighter, 2 T/KO, 6 submissions, 2 decisions
Losses: 3 T/KO, 1 submission, 1 decision


Striking: Rodrigo Damm is one of the better prospects to come out of Brazil's Ultimate Fighter series, but the problem is he's already been tested in North America. And found wanting. Damm went 1-4 before making his official UFC debut, and that was against guys in Strikeforce and Sengoku. Granted, one loss was to the man himself, Gilbert Melendez. While Damm's striking is serviceable, Carvalho is on another level. A black belt in Shotokan Karate and a green belt in Judo, Carvalho has seven T/KOs in his career, two of which were lights out KOs in his last four fights. Although Carvalho flew under the radar in his first fight against Felipe Arantes, arguably in the top five at 145, he made his mark with a brutal KO against Daniel Pineda at UFC 149. Advantage: Antonio Carvalho.

Grappling: Damm gets the slight nod here, although that's not saying much. Damm has six submissions in his 10 wins, but the problem is that he fancies himself a striker. That could a problem against Carvalho. Even if it goes to the ground, the Brazilian-Canadian fighting out of Oshawa, Ontario, has a BJJ black belt himself and has never been submitted. Advantage: Rodrigo Damm.

Wrestling: If there's one way Damm can squeak out a win it's by taking down Carvalho early and often. Damm showed excellent wrestling on the TUF Brazil show, and his experience in Shooto, Strikeforce, Bodog and Jungle Fight has given him a diverse array of fighting styles, making him well-rounded. The only problem is that Carvalho brings a similar wealth of experience, having competed in Shooto (fighting for Lightweight Championship) and the Canadian pro circuit. Advantage: Rodrigo Damm.

Prediction: Antonio Carvalho wins by second round T/KO.

* * *

Lightweight fight (155 lbs)


Sam Stout, 28, Team Tompkins
Record: 18-7-1, 7-6 UFC
Pro debut: June, 2003
Last fight: Decision win over Spencer Fisher, June 22, 2012
Streak: Won 1
Style: Kickboxer, 9 T/KO, 1 submission, 8 decisions
Losses: 2 T/KO, 5 submissions, 1 decisions


John Makdessi, 27, Tristar Gym
Record: 9-2, 2-2 UFC
Pro debut: September, 2008
Last fight: Lost to Anthony Njokuani by decision, April 21, 2012
Streak: Lost 2
Style: Karate kickboxer, 7 T/KO, 2 decisions
Losses: 1 submission, 1 decision


Striking: Although on paper John Makdessi is a Shotokan Karate black belt who scored six T/KOs to start his career, Sam Stout is a more technically sound MMA striker. Makdessi has the skills to strike with the best, but his lack of critical timing, reach, and aggression are his downfall. Sam Stout has spent the better part of the past six years in the UFC honing his striking skills, and with a granite chin he can stand with some of the best in the sport. Advantage: Sam Stout.

Grappling: John Makdessi doesn't have much of a ground game. That much became obvious when he ran into submission master Dennis Hallman at UFC 140. Lucky for Makdessi, Sam Stout doesn't really take the fight to the ground unless he's losing the standup. With Stout's only submission coming by way of armbar six years ago, the chances of the fight ending in a submission are remote to none. Advantage: Sam Stout.

Wrestling: When the going gets tough, Stout can still put somebody on their back and work ground and pound. Although this fight is likely to take place on the feet, there's on harm in winning some points late in the round with takedowns. Stout may not need it, but look for him to shoot once or twice. Stout has won Fight of the Night in four of his last seven fights, meaning whatever happens you can count on it being entertaining. This won't be a lay and pray. Advantage: Sam Stout.

Prediction: Sam Stout wins by unanimous decision

* * *

Lightweight fight (155 lbs)


Mark Bocek, 31, Tristar Gym
Record: 11-4, 7-4 UFC
Pro debut: February, 2004
Last fight: Decision win over John Alessio, April 21, 2012
Streak: Won 2
Style: Wrestler/grappler, 1 T/KO, 7 submissions, 3 decisions
Losses: 1 T/KO, 1 submission, 2 decisions


Rafael dos Anjos, 28, Evolve MMA
Record: 17-6, 6-4 UFC
Pro debut: September, 2004
Last fight: Decision win over Anthony Njokuani, July 11, 2012
Streak: Won 2
Style: Wrestler/grappler, 2 T/KO, 8 submissions, 7 decisions
Losses: 1 T/KO, 1 submission, 4 decisions


Striking: If anyone had said in 2008 when Rafael dos Anjos was knocked out in his UFC debut by Jeremy Stephens that he would develop the sort of striking that would make him a dangerous man to stand against, you'd have been called crazy. But that changed with a knockout of George Sotiropolous, followed by a dismantling of Kamal Shalorus two fights later. The good thing is that dos Anjos doesn't think he's a striker now, using his striking and wrestling in tandem to set up finishes. With two grapplers this talented, you'd have to think this fight will come down to a battle on the feet. Mark Bocek isn't equipped to win that battle. Advantage: Rafael dos Anjos.

Grappling: This is a wash. Both fighters are high level BJJ black belts, the only difference is that Bocek is a Gracie-trained BJJ fighter, while dos Anjos learned from Aldo Januario de Olivera. Both men can jump on any weakness at all. Bocek submitted Dustin Hazelett, who splashed into the UFC with some incredible submissions, while dos Anjos armbarred Terry Etim at UFC 112. If it goes to the ground, I'd except the top fighter to work ground and pound while the bottom fighter works sweeps and submissions. Advantage: Even.

Wrestling: Again, another wash. But you might have to give the slight advantage to Mark Bocek, who gave Ben Henderson everything he had in a wrestling-heavy fight. I expect both fighters to go for numerous takedowns, but I think Bocek will want to to wrestle and clinch after he gets hit a few times. Rafael has looked very good in the wrestling department lately, and has clearly been training takedowns and takedown defense. If he does get taken down, it won't be easy. Advantage: Mark Bocek (slightly).

Prediction: Rafael dos Anjos wins by unanimous decision.

* * *

Light Heavyweight fight (205 lbs)


Cyrille Diabate, 39, Team Quest
Record: 18-8-1, 3-2 UFC
Pro debut: March, 1999
Last fight: Decision win over Tom DeBlass, April 14, 2012
Streak: Won 1
Style: Muay Thai kickboxer, 8 T/KO, 5 submissions, 5 decisions
Losses: 1 T/KO, 4 submissions, 3 decisions


Chad Griggs, 34, Apex MMA/Fight Legion
Record: 11-2, 0-1 UFC
Pro debut: December, 2005
Last fight: Submitted by Travis Browne, April 21, 2012
Streak: Lost 1
Style: Wrestler/brawler, 9 T/KO, 2 submissions
Losses: 2 submissions


Striking: This is one of the most lopsided categories on the card. Chad Griggs has legitimate power, with all 11 of his wins basically coming by way of punches (two fighters tapped out to punches). He has brutal ground and pound and although he was set up to be the fall guy to Bobby Lashley, Gian Villante and Valentijn Overeem, he whupped all three quickly. Having said that, Cyrille Diabate is on a level of striking probably only comparable to Jon Jones. With his reach advantage and world class Muay Thai, he made even brick-chinned Shogun Rua take it to the ground in Pride. If Griggs can't get this to the ground, Diabate will put him in a world of hurt. Advantage: Cyrille Diabate.

Grappling: If Chad Griggs has a Jiu-Jitsu game, we've never seen it. And if he has a weakness, it's definitely in his ground game. Griggs' two losses have come by way of a very quick arm-triangle choke to Travis Browne and a Kimura to Shane Ott back when he was a newbie in the IFL. Unluckily for Griggs, Diabate isn't completely useless on the ground. Although he was controlled by Tom DeBlass and Anthony Perosh, Diabate has won by rear-naked choke, armbar, and triangle choke in his career. Still, it isn't likely either will score a submission win. Advantage: Cyrille Diabate.

Wrestling: If there's one area that may nullify all others, it's the fact Chad Griggs is cutting down from Heavyweight to 205 pounds for the first time in his career. All that frame on 205 pounds is quite a scary thought, and putting Diabate on his back has to be the game plan. Griggs more than held his own against elite wrestler Bobby Lashley in Strikeforce. Although Diabate has only been stopped by strikes once in his career, it's difficult to imagine this fight going the distance. And since submissions are out, there's really only one obvious conclusion. Advantage: Chad Griggs.

Prediction: Chad Griggs wins by second round T/KO.

* * *

Middleweight fight (185 lbs)


Patrick Cote, 32, BTT Canada/Tristar Gym
Record: 17-8, 4-8 UFC
Pro debut: November, 2002
Last fight: Decision loss to Cung Le, July 7, 2012
Streak: Lost 1
Style: Kickboxer, 8 T/KO, 3 submissions, 6 decisions
Losses: 1 T/KO, 3 submissions, 4 decisions


Alessio Sakara, 31, American Top Team
Record: 15-9, 6-6 UFC
Pro debut: June, 2002
Last fight: Knocked out by Brian Stann, April 14, 2012
Streak: Lost 2
Style: Boxer, 9 T/KO, 2 submissions, 4 decisions
Losses: 4 T/KO, 2 submissions, 3 decisions


Striking: Although in the past Patrick Cote has been able to rely on his striking to make his way in the UFC, that strength seems to have all but dried up. Though he had a KO in the minor leagues in March, Cote hasn't knocked out a UFC fighter since 2008. Alessio Sakara comes out a little better in that regard. His striking might not be as technical, but his power has put away three UFC fighters in that same time span. We know Patrick Cote is more than willing to stand and bang, and that's probably where 90 per cent of this contest will take place. Advantage: Alessio Sakara (slight).

Grappling: Patrick Cote has never shown an inclination toward submissions, but he's been caught in his share of them. The BJJ brown belt was submitted by master Alan Belcher at UFC 113 and Travis Lutter in TUF Finale 4. Fortunately for Cote, although Alessio Sakara is technically a BJJ black belt, he's never shown an inclination to use his ground game. Sakara's last submission was in 2002. Having said that, if the fight goes to the ground, you've got to assume Sakara isn't going to get submitted easily. Advantage: Alessio Sakara (slight)

Wrestling: Neither fighter will likely use his wrestling, except in the clinch against the cage. Both will probably want to stand and bang for all three rounds. If Cote does decide to shoot, he's got a better shot of putting Sakara on his back than the reverse. But it's so unlikely to happen, it's kind of silly to think about. Advantage: Patrick Cote (slight).

Prediction: Alessio Sakara wins by split decision.

* * *

Featherweight fight (145 lbs)


Mark Hominick, 30, Adrenaline Training Center
Record: 20-11, 3-3 UFC
Pro debut: June, 2002
Last fight: Decision loss to Eddie Yagin, April 21, 2012
Streak: Lost 3
Style: Kickboxer, 9 T/KO, 7 submissions, 4 decisions
Losses: 3 T/KO, 5 submissions, 3 decisions


Pablo Garza, 29, Academy of Combat Arts
Record: 11-3, 2-2 UFC
Pro debut: August, 2007
Last fight: Lost decision to Dennis Bermudez, May 5, 2012
Streak: Lost 2
Style: Submission fighter, 2 T/KO, 7 submissions, 2 decisions
Losses: 2 submissions, 1 decision


Striking: Mark Hominick is a technical fighter with patience and skill. Unfortunately, he was banged up by Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo, flash knocked out by Chan Sung Jung, and then lured into a brawl by Eddie Yagin. To win this fight he's going to have to pick Pablo Garza apart on the feet, while avoiding submission attempts. Hominick is a former Sport Karate and Kickboxing champion with legitimate power and danger on the feet. Pablo Garza, while not powerless, isn't as technical, and requires sudden flying knees and elbows to clip his opponents. Advantage: Mark Hominick.

Grappling: This one is all Pablo Garza. His flying triangle choke against Yves Jabouin in Georges St-Pierre's last fight was a classic. Despite being a purple belt in BJJ, Garza is a legitimate and dangerous threat on the ground, mainly because his long limbs can snag things pretty easily and lock them up. Although Mark Hominick is capable on the ground, it isn't his primary game. Advantage: Pablo Garza.

Wrestling: If, for whatever reason, things aren't going well for Hominick on the feet, he should have no problems whatsoever pushing Garza around. That's also because Garza will have no problem going to his back to fish for armbars, triangle chokes, and guillotines. If things are close in the standup, and I have no reason to think that they will, Hominick can easily win rounds with late takedowns. Advantage: Mark Hominick.

Prediction: Mark Hominick wins by third round T/KO.

* * *

Middleweight fight (185 lbs)


Nick Ring, 33, Tristar Gym
Record: 13-1, 3-1 UFC
Pro debut: February, 2002
Last fight: Decision win against Court McGee, July 21, 2012
Streak: Won 1
Style: Kickboxer, 2 T/KO, 6 submissions, 5 decisions
Losses: 1 decision


Costa Philippou, 32, Serra-Longo
Record: 11-2, 4-1 UFC
Pro debut: May, 2008
Last fight: Defeated Riki Fukuda by decision, July 7, 2012
Streak: Won 4
Style: Boxer, 5 T/KO, 1 submission, 5 decisions
Losses: 2 decisions


Striking: It's weird that Costa Philippou has to face Nick Ring, especially since he defeated Riki Fukuda, who essentially defeated Nick Ring at UFC 127. In fact, Nick Ring essentially lost to both Fukuda and Court McGee, but for whatever reason unknown to mankind he's able to win close decisions. At any rate, both fighters have a very good striking game. Nick Ring is a Muay Thai black belt under Mike Miles, although he usually doesn't finish guys with strikes. Costa Philippou has only been fighting for four years under Serra-Longo, but his boxing under Ray Longo has improved to the point where he's one of the better strikers at 185. Although he has KO power, that hasn't been his style in the UFC. Advantage: Costa Philippou (slight).

Grappling: Although Matt Serra plays the BJJ side of the Serra-Longo team, Philippou is only a blue belt under Serra. Having said that, he's very hard to get to the ground, with perhaps some of the best takedown defence in the division to complement his standup. If it does go to the ground, however, Nick Ring is a brown belt under Roy Harris, and has an impressive submission against James Head who, if you'll remember, recently defeated the very tough Brian Ebersole. Advantage: Nick Ring.

Wrestling: Very few guys can muscle around Costa Philippou at 185 pounds, with the possible exception of Tim Boetsch or Chris Weidman. Nick Ring, however, is no slouch in this category. Expect striking interrupted by clinches as Ring tries to get it to the ground and Philippou sprawls and brawls his way to a points victory. Advantage: Costa Philippou (slight).

Prediction: Costa Philippou wins by unanimous decision.

* * *

Middleweight fight (185 lbs)


Francis Carmont, 31, Tristar Gym
Record: 19-7, 3-0 UFC
Pro debut: February, 2004
Last fight: Submitted Karlos Vemola, July 11, 2012
Streak: Won 8
Style: Submission wrestler, 6 T/KO, 10 submissions, 3 decisions
Losses: 1 T/KO, 3 submissions, 3 decisions


Tom Lawlor, 29, Jungle MMA
Record: 8-4, 4-3 UFC
Pro debut: March, 2007
Last fight: Defeated Jason MacDonald by KO, May 15, 2012
Streak: Won 1
Style: Brawler, 3 T/KO, 3 submissions, 2 decisions
Losses: 2 submissions, 1 decision


Striking: Although it's in Canada, this French protege of Georges St-Pierre will definitely enjoy the hometown advantage. While not strictly a boxer, Carmont has heavy hands once it goes to the ground, and some of the most powerful ground and pound if it gets there. On the feet, Tom Lawlor throws everything into his punches and has some dangerous power if anything connects. Advantage: Tom Lawlor.

Grappling: Although not totally useless on the ground, Tom Lawlor practically should be against a guy like Francis Carmont. The French fighter uses superior wrestling to seek out submissions, with his last two fights coming by way of rear-naked choke. Carmont is freakishly strong on the mat, which makes his chokes particularly lethal. Advantage: Francis Carmont.

Wrestling: Tom Lawlor like a good brawl and he doesn't mind throwing down in the clinch if need be. The problem in this fight is that Carmont's GSP-inspired style is difficult to handle. I can see Lawlor trying to land a big punch, but eventually the double leg or suplex will come along and it will be a rough road for him to get back to his feet. Lawlor is very tough and durable, and Carmont is a notorious slow starter, but expect the takedowns to come fast and furious in the second round. Advantage: Francis Carmont.

Prediction: Francis Carmont wins by second round submission.

* * *

Welterweight title elimination fight (170 lbs)


Martin Kampmann, 30, Xtreme Couture
Record: 20-5, 11-4 UFC
Pro debut: February, 2003
Last fight: Knocked out Jake Ellenberger, June 1, 2012
Streak: Won 3
Style: Kickboxer, 8 T/KO, 7 submissions, 4 decisions
Losses: 3 T/KO, 2 decisions


Johny Hendricks, 29, Team Takedown
Record: 13-1, 8-1 UFC
Pro debut: September, 2007
Last fight: Defeated Josh Koscheck by decision, May 5, 2012
Streak: Won 4
Style: Wrestler, 7 T/KO, 1 submission, 5 decisions
Losses: 1 decision


Striking: Although both fighters are obviously elite strikers, Martin Kampmann is on another level from almost every other fighter in the UFC. Johny Hendricks throws fastballs with huge power, as Jon Fitch found out, but he's a fairly sloppy brawler who needs to connect to really hurt someone. Thing is, he connects a lot. Kampmann, however, has a pretty good chin, and short of being trapped against the cage and finished like he was against Paul Daley, Kampmann Muay Thai is elite. Advantage: Martin Kampmann.

Grappling: Although Johny Hendricks has a world class wrestling base, Martin Kampmann is again on another level in grappling. A brown belt in BJJ under Robert Drysdale, his moves are easily black belt level. He held his own against excellent grapplers like Carlos Condit and Jake Shields, and handled Paulo Thiago and Jacob Volkmann. Kampmann is always extremely deadly with his submissions, as evidenced by Thiago Alves fight-losing guillotine loss in March, after the Brazilian had all but secured the decision victory. Advantage: Martin Kampmann.

Wrestling: There's really no comparison here. Hendricks is a four-time NCAA Division I All-American and National Junior Freestyle Champion. His wrestling is among the top five in the division. Kampmann, however, is extremely difficult to hold down for more than a minute. His sweeps, submission attempts, and active guard make him an unlikely victim for Hendricks. Advantage: Johny Hendricks.

Prediction: Martin Kampmann wins by second round T/KO.

* * *

Welterweight Championship fight (170 lbs)


Georges St-Pierre, 30, Jackson's MMA/Tristar Gym
Record: 22-2, 16-2 UFC
Pro debut: January, 2002
Last fight: Defeated Jake Shields by decision, April 30, 2011
Streak: Won 9
Style: All-around fighter, 8 T/KO, 5 submissions, 9 decisions
Losses: 1 T/KO, 1 submission


Carlos Condit, 28, Jackson's MMA
Record: 28-5, 5-1 UFC
Pro debut: September, 2002
Last fight: Defeated Nick Diaz by decision, Feb 4, 2012
Streak: Won 5
Style: Muay Thai, 13 T/KO, 13 submission, 2 decisions
Losses: 3 submissions, 2 decisions


Striking: On paper, Carlos Condit is just as dangerous an opponent as any GSP has ever faced. But GSP has a way of making other fighters' standup look ordinary. GSP has never been outstruck in any fight he's been in before, and his unpredictability makes him a dangerous opponent against anyone. Although it will depend on his knee, GSP's experience as a third degree Kyokushin black belt makes him a deceptively accurate striker. He doesn't have knockout power, but he's dropped almost fighter he's faced in the UFC, including Jake Shields, Josh Koscheck, Jon Fitch, and Thiago Alves. As for Condit, what makes him dangerous is also his unpredictability and flying knees and elbows. Advantage: GSP.

Grappling: Although nobody would say GSP has a weakness, if there's one area he's probably lacking it's in the submission department. His inability to finish Dan Hardy spoke volumes, and while he has excellent submission defence, he has been caught before. So has Carlos Condit, but it can be safely said he's developed into one of the most dangerous ground fighters at 170 pounds. Condit hasn't had a submission since 2008, but his striking is so deadly he hasn't needed to. Advantage: Carlos Condit.

Wrestling: There is nobody, in the entire sport of MMA, with the calibre of wrestling of GSP. Although it will be interesting to see what Condit has to offer GSP's wrestling, you've got to think with such an even standing game this will be takedown city. GSP has the best shot in MMA, the best top game in MMA, and some of the most dependable guard passes. When you consider that Condit squeaked by Ellenberger and lost to Kampmann, you've got to think it's going to be a tough go to dethrone the champ. This fight will come down to Condit's ability to either outpoint GSP on the feet, like he did Diaz, without getting taken down, or finding a submission during the many opportunities he'll have off his back. Advantage: GSP.

Prediction: Georges St-Pierre wins by unanimous decision.

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