The UFC returns to Montreal and hometown hero Georges St. Pierre returns to the UFC after being out of the sport for 18 months due to the fact that he tore his ACL in December of 2011.
St. Pierre’s fight against Carlos Condit will decide the UFC Welterweight championship and another Welterweight fight on this card may decide who gets the next shot at the Welterweight belt. That fight is Martin Kampmann vs. Johny Hendricks. I think those are the two most interesting fights on the card.
Martin “Hitman” Kampmann (20-5) vs. Johny “Big Rig” Hendricks (13-1)
Kampmann: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai.
Hendricks: Boxing, Wrestling (Former NCAA DIV I Wrestling champ at 165 pounds, Oklahoma State)
This should be an excellent fight, although I’m not sure how long it will last because fighters can throw very punches and have KO ability. Now, I’m sure they are both aware of that so they may exercise some caution and not just come out throwing bombs, although I think Hendricks will throw his deadly left hand any time he sees an opening.
Kampmann has proven to be a very resilient fighter, who knows how to find ways to win when he is behind. The Danish fighter, training out of Las Vegas with team Xtreme Couture, has developed a very well rounded MMA game. He prefers to keep fights standing in order to use his exceptional striking skills, but he can be dangerous on the ground with his Jiu-Jitsu. Kampmann has won 8 fights by KO and 7 fights by submission.
On paper this seems like a pretty close match up. If I thought that Kampmann could keep this fight standing I would probably pick him to win, but I don’t think that will be the case. I’m going to give the edge to Hendricks because I think the combination of his power punching and his world-class wrestling will prove to be too difficult for Kampmann to defend.
Hendricks wins by KO, 2nd round.
Georges St. Pierre (22-2) vs. Carlos “The Natural Born Killer” Condit (28-5)
St. Pierre: Karate, Boxing, Muay Thai, Wrestling, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Condit: Kickboxing, Muay Thai, Boxing, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
The fight will unify the UFC Welterweight title. Condit has held the title of interim Champ during St. Pierre’s extended absence due to ACL reconstruction surgery. St. Pierre and Condit are two of favorite fighters in the UFC because they both very skilled, well-rounded, intelligent fighters and they are both generally respectful of their opponents.
I think very highly of Condit’s ability. His defeat of the very formidable Nick Diaz really impressed me. That fight showcased Condit’s very well rounded ability as an MMA fighter and it also demonstrated that he is a very smart and disciplined fighter who can stick to a plan to defeat an opponent who in some respects might be more skilled. Diaz wanted to draw Condit into strictly a stand up fight and just trade strikes with him because Diaz has good hands and excels at boxing. Diaz taunted Condit in a number of ways in an effort to get him to just exchange strikes, but Condit used a full repertoire of strikes and kicks to keep Diaz at bay and ultimately won a very hard fought decision.
GSP will present an entirely different type of challenge to Condit. He won’t do any trash talking, but he will try to dictate where this fight goes. GSP is one of the best wrestlers in the UFC and he no doubt try to take this fight to the ground, where his strength and strong wrestling may give him an advantage over Condit. Both fighters are products of the famed Jackson’s MMA, in New Mexico, although Greg Jackson is remaining neutral for this fight and not training either fighter for this event. I don’t think that will matter too much because both fighters have assembled excellent training teams to support them.
I have read conflicting reports about GSP condition post recovery from ACL surgery. Some reports say he as good as new and others say he not 100% of what he once was. He looks petty good in the video of his training sessions that I have seen, but we really won’t know until he gets back in the Octagon for a real fight. If GSP is 100% of what he was that will prove to a real problem for Condit. GSP will probably be able to take down Condit fairly easily if he has retained his quickness and then Condit’s ground skills will be put to the test. OTOH, if Condit can keep the fight standing he probably stands a significantly better chance of winning the fight because his striking and kicks are very accurate and he does have KO power in his fists.
St. Pierre wins by unanimous decision.
POST EVENT COMMENTS:
Well, I went 2 for 2 tonight. I wish I had put some money down on these fights in Vegas.
Hendricks KO’d Kampmann in 46 seconds! Wow! I was really surprised that the Big Rig was able to land his powerful left hand so quickly because I know Kampmann was aware it would be coming. I watched a recent interview with Kampmann in which he acknowledged that Hendricks was dangerous with his left and that he didn’t want to get caught like Jon Fitch (who was KO’d by Hendricks in 12 seconds). Oh well, easier said than done I guess.
Georges St. Pierre won his fight against Carlos Condit in very convincing fashion with a unanimous decision, but Condit proved to be a very worthy opponent for the UFC Welterweight champ. GSP won the fight 4 rounds to 1, but Condit came close to finishing GSP in the 3rd round when he land a beautiful kick to the side of GSP’s head, which put him down on his back. Condit followed up by swarming GSP and landing some solid strikes. To GSP’s immense credit he was able to keep his composure and work his way back to his feet, surviving the round and Condit’s most serious threat to him in the fight. GSP used his superior quickness to execute take downs of Condit in the 4th and 5th rounds and punish him with relentless ground and pound. Still, Condit fought well off his back and delivered some strikes and elbows that definitely did some damage to GSP.