When: Saturday March 16, 2013
Where: Montreal, Canada
Time: Bell Centre
Channels: Pay-per-view, FX, Facebook
UFC 158 will feature one of the most highly anticipated fights in recent years. Tonight, Montreal Canada will host the return of Canadian national hero and the UFC’s 170lb king, Georges St-Pierre as he will face none other than MMA’s ultimate bad-boy, Nick “The Stockton Strangler” Diaz. This fight has become such an interesting fight due to the genuine bad blood between the two champions that if this fight lives up to the hype, it could go down as an all-time MMA classic.
We’ve also got serious title implications for the welterweight division with the co-main event fight between Carlos “The Natural Born Killer” ConditCondit and rising 170lb knockout artist Johny “Big Rig” Hendricks. The winner of this fight gets a title shot at the winner of GSP and Nick Diaz. We also get to see the return of Aurora’s own former Strikeforce welterweight champion, Nate Marquardt when he locks up with the ultra dangerous Nebraskan brawler, Jake Ellenberger. Denver gets to see the return of Littleton’s own 185lb slugger, Chris Camozzi when he and Canadian hometowner Nick Ring will surely put on a slugfest as Chris has become known for. Let’s get right into this MMA puzzle and see what we can come up with.
MAIN CARD (Pay-per-view, 8 p.m. MST)
- Georges St-Pierre vs. Nick Diaz - for the UFC Welterweight Title
Georges St-Pierre is a world class athlete that has become one of MMA’s biggest stars. His all-world MMA wrestling game and punishing top game are what many believe will be the difference in this fight against the masterful ground game of Diaz. GSP will need to get to that position if he wants to get the win against the Stockton fighter.
Nick Diaz is without question one of the best fighters in the world today. His well rounded skills, granite jaw and have proven to be a problem against virtually everyone he’s faced. The question is, will GSP stand and fight Nick, or will GSP have his track shoes on tonight against the angry Californian.
Examiners Pick: It is no secret that I am a huge Nick Diaz fan, and at the same time…I really respect GSP tremendously. However, most fans watch MMA because they enjoy seeing two fighters actually fight and not run around like they’re at a track meet. The concern is how much running GSP’s coaches have instructed him to do. If the strategy is to engage and fight….Nick Diaz wins this fight by split decision in a thrilling 5 round slugfest. However, if Greg Jackson’s "gameplanning" is to have GSP run like Forrest Gump yet again….GSP will outpoint Nick Diaz in a boring unanimous decision that will lead Dana White to go on a relentless tirade about how Greg Jackson is ruining the sport of MMA. Examiner’s pick….Nick Diaz by split decision to win the UFC welterweight title.
- Carlos Condit vs. Johny Hendricks
Carlos Condit is a very good all-around fighter that can be dangerous from anywhere. He’s got good cardio, solid striking and a very nice ground game. He is typically a very fun fighter to watch, but he is also being influenced by his coaches to “run more” as he gets up in his career and faces more dangerous fighters. Will Carlos stand and fight “Big Rig” or will he run once again like he did against Nick Diaz? We will see where he is or not after tonight.
Johny Hendricks is the UFC’s welterweight rising star with a propensity to flatten guys with his big punching power. A former NCAA wrestling champion with the knack to win, he is without question putting the entire 170lb division on notice of getting knocked out if you stand in front of him. Will “Big Rig” be able to catch the fleeing Condit? We’ll see tonight.
Examiners Pick: As a fan of engaging fighters and fights….this fight could be the beginning of the demise of Carlos Condit. Make no mistake about it that if Hendricks lands those paws on Condit’s chin….he will go to sleep like Rip Van Winkle. However, if Greg Jackson’s plan is to keep Condit running again…..Condit will win another boring sleeper. It seems to be Big Rig’s time soon, but I think Condit will surprise Hendricks with a combo of striking and submissions. Condit wins by split decision.
- Jake Ellenberger vs. Nate Marquardt
Jake Ellenberger is a very tough and aggressive brawler with serious power. He is known to be able to either knock you out quickly or grind you down in a war of attrition. His career is on quite a good trajectory right now and can bring a lot of problems for the former Strikeforce champ with his style.
Nate Marquardt is always a perennial top 10 fighter at either 170 or 185lbs. However, Nate did not fight a very smart fight in his last outing and mental errors like that against Ellenberger could result in an early night for Nate “The Great” if he's not careful.
Examiners Pick: This fight will be an interesting fight for sure. It seems as though both guys have to make a statement and make it tonight. I never really see Ellenberger make mental errors in his fights, but Nate is a guy that can force mental errors, if he’s on. Nate on the other hand has made mental errors that have cost him a few fights. However, he is a former champion and to become champion, you have to be the best. Reach could play a factor tonight and Nate’s size and overall experience could be the difference in tonight’s fight as Examiner is picking Nate Marquardt to win by unanimous decision.
- Chris Camozzi vs. Nick Ring
Chris Camozzi is widely considered one of MMA’s nicest guys. However, Chris’ renewed sense of urgency when in the cage these days makes him “not so nice” in there. He’s big, strong, tough as hell and he is coming to knock your head off these days. Look for Chris to come right after his friend Nick Ring tonight, because Chris’ mindset now is to fight for bonuses.
Nick Ring a veteran of TUF and a very well rounded fighter himself, Ring and Camozzi are friends. However, tonight they wont be in the octagon. Nick will be looking to finish this fight too as he will let it all hang out for the hometown fans. Look for this fight to steal the show.
Examiners Pick: Some guys shy away from a war. Some guys run. Some guys look to not get hit too much when in the mix…..not Chris Camozzi. Nick Ring will need to be on his A-game tonight as Camozzi coming from altitude will be looking to put the heavy pressure on Ring from the opening bell. Camozzi’s pace, pressure and size will be too much for the game Canadian, but Chris Camozzi puts on a stellar show as he beats Nick Ring by unanimous decision in an action packed war to get the main card going.
Here’s the line-up for tonight as this Examiner will be at Ugly Dog café located at 1345 Cortez St in Denver. Come on out and have some great food and drinks with us there. Festivities begin at 6:00pm so let’s watch some great fights and have a good time safely.
PRELIMINARY CARD (FX, 6 pm MST)
PRELIMINARY CARD (Facebook, 4:35 pm MST)