This Saturday, a fight that MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) fans have been waiting to see for a long time finally comes together. UFC 158 will pit likable vs. unlikeable. George St. Pierre is one of the sport's most beloved fighters, while Nick Diaz is one of the sports most hated! I personally like both fighters for different reasons. George St. Pierre (GSP) is a great ambassador of the sport, while Nick Diaz brings excitement and a fight promoting, angry, trash talking style that entices the casual fan to tune in. Let's take a closer look at these two fighters and then I'll make my fight pick for the main event at UFC 158.
George St. Pierre (GSP) has been a dominating force in the UFC Welterweight division. He comes into this title defense at UFC 158 with an overall record of 23-2 and a 10 fight winning streak. He's beaten the who's who and the best of the best in the Welterweight division. GSP stays in optimal fighting shape, never gasses and has a huge tool box of MMA skills. GSP takes the fight where he wants it. He has precise striking and great footwork, but if he sees an advantage on the ground, he uses his great wrestling skills to get the fight there.
In his last fight, GSP was coming off a long lay-off due to an injury but showed the fans he's back 100% by beating Interim UFC Welterweight Champion Carlos Condit in a 5 round unanimous decision. Now he faces his biggest challenge and the man many experts thought beat Carlos Condit when the UFC Interim Welterweight title was up for grabs.
Nick Diaz has been calling for this fight for a long time and he finally gets it! Deservingly so! He comes into this fight with an overall record of 26-8 and 11-1 in has last 12 fights. The only loss in that stint was in his last outing at the hands of Carlos Condit in an extremely controversial decision.
Along with a great ground game, Nick Diaz has a volume punching style that has been dubbed the Stockton Slap. It bothers and overwhelms opponents. He also has a solid, durable chin that allows him to stand and engage in a brawling style with anyone. He's never been knocked out or submitted. The only time he was stopped was back in 2007 where he suffered a cut in a fight with KJ Noons and the doctor to stopped the fight. He avenged that loss three years later.
This fight comes down to an excellent Mixed Martial Artist and tactician at the top of his game, versus a pissed off, angry fighter with dangerous MMA skills. GSP is that tactician. The knock on him is that he's not a finisher. His last 5 fights have all gone to the judges score cards. Diaz is that pissed off angry fighter that comes to fight. People love and hate him for that, but at the end of the day, he will engage in a fight and if his opponent doesn't run, it make for a great fight. In Diaz's last 12 fights, he's finished 9 of them via either TKO or submission.
Look for GSP to use his first-class wrestling skill to put Diaz on his back and smother him. He'll use leg kicks and a powerful jab to set that up. He'll need to avoid engaging in a brawl with Nick Diaz to pull out a decision victory.
GSP is a huge favorite in this fight, most odds makers have him as a 5 to 1 favorite, but look for a big surprise. I'm picking the underdog in this fight. Diaz will have 5 rounds to work with and to get into GSP's head. He'll land his volume punches from different angles and while he'll most likely be put on his back, he'll be able to use his high level Jiu Jitsu to work on the ground. Condit was able to pull off a decision victory by running from Diaz and picking his spots to deliver blows, but GSP won't run like Condit did. GSP will engage, Diaz will welcome it, and Diaz will get the better of it.
Agree? Disagree? Feel free to comment and make your pick for UFC 158.
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