UFC 158 Preview & Predictions
The huge PPV is only a day away. There hasn’t been a more anticipated PPV since UFC 148. The event hosted the end of a great rivalry between Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen. That is considered to be the biggest fight in UFC history. Now I’m not saying the main event of UFC 158 is definitely bigger than Silva versus Sonnen, but it surpasses anything that has transpired in the UFC since that main event.
Georges St. Pierre faces Nick Diaz in a major grudge match for the welterweight championship. This fight was long overdue dating back to 2011, but a major injury for St. Pierre and a controversial loss for Diaz stalled the matchup. Now the fight is here and I can’t remember a better build up to a fight.
The press conferences have been epic with Diaz opening up to the media and speaking his mind. He’s embracing the role of being the anti-hero, while St. Pierre is being the national hero. It’s been a compelling rivalry, but I’m sure everyone is anxious to finally see this conclude.
Also, we got a great matchup between Carlos Condit and Johnny Hendricks for a possible number 1 contender’s shot. You never know the title situations works in the UFC. Last November, everyone thought the winner of Hendricks and Martin Kampmann would get the next title shot but that didn’t happen. John Villarreal had family issues to take care of, so I’m going to be solo for this one. No Golden Girls reference, what am I going to do?
Lightweight: Mike Ricci vs Colin Fletcher
I’ve never been a fan of a matchup that features two fighters coming off a loss that aren’t well known on the main card. I’m still a big believer in making proper matchups for the main card, so for me this isn’t a good opener.
It should be a high-faced fight considering that Fletcher can’t wrestle and needs to stay active to counter Ricci’s ability to attack in the clinch and lay vicious strikes from top control. Ricci isn’t wild with his punches, but he’s very sound in his attacks and doesn’t make many mistakes.
Fletcher is a unique striker that uses kicks more than he does punches. From leg to front kicks, he keeps his opponents on their heels based off of his unpredictability. His submission ability goes unnoticed because of his poor wrestling, but he’s still a threat on the ground.
It’s not a great opener, but there is definitely potential for a major highlight. Fletcher can be very explosive with his combinations and may put together a great performance. The wrestling is still a concern though and Ricci will do just enough to control him. It won’t be pretty, but Ricci will win in a close one.
Winner via Split Decision: Mike Ricci
Middleweight: Nick Ring vs Chris Camozzi
This fight has more intrigue than it may appear. Camozzi has some potential and could be on the cusp of moving up the ranks in the middleweight division. Ring is mostly a gatekeeper at this point and should be fortunate that he beat Court McGee when he clearly lost the last two rounds.
Ring is a solid technical fighter that has a high accuracy in connecting with his strikes. He has solid jabs and Camozzi tends to keep his chin out on too many occasions. Ring isn’t very explosive, but he’s very persistent and doesn’t fade away that easily, even if he takes excessive damage.
Camozzi is on a three fight-winning streak based off of simply outworking his opponents and being relentless through each fight. It may sound like an overused term, but Camozzi is very confident and doesn’t mind taking damage. He has some vicious elbows as well that could cause problems to Ring, who has shown that he has cardio issues over the years.
This is a close fight since both fighters are pretty similar. It could turn out to be explosive, but this may be more boring than expected. Camozzi may be the aggressor, but he’s going to struggle landing huge strikes. Ring may be aging, but he’ll do enough to make Camozzi regret not defending better.
Winner via Unanimous Decision: Nick Ring
Welterweight: Jake Ellenberger vs Nate Marquardt
This is when the card really starts heating up. Both fighters are among the top welterweights when it comes to knockout power. They have powerful striking power and can be relentless in ground-and-pound. Also, they aren’t great defensively so this instantly has fight of the night potential.
Marquardt returns to the UFC after a two-year hiatus due to misusing TRT treatments. He impressed in Strikeforce and is now clean, which made it easy for Dana White to bring back. His vicious knockout power and has excellent cardio, which makes him even more dangerous.
Ellenberger is always tough to judge. He seems to be on the brink of being a title contender, but then loses in the major fight. His advantage is that Marquardt is prone to starting out slow, while Ellenberger starts out fast. With his knockout and wrestling ability, he could win early and make a major statement in the welterweight division.
This has all the makings of a fight that won’t end by decision. It’s pretty certain that someone will get knocked out. Ellenberger might start out in a fury, but Marquardt is more of the complete fighter. He’s got more power and is a great counter striker. He’ll catch Ellenberger with an uppercut to make his return a successful one.
Winner via KO in the Second Round: Nate Marquardt
Welterweight: Johnny Hendricks vs Carlos Condit
Another massive fight that has major implications for a title shot. Some may think Johnny Hendricks deserves a title shot already, but to me he still needs one high profile win. He has been impressive, but I’ve been waiting for him to face a top welterweight. Martin Kampmann, Josh Koscheck, and Jon Fitch aren’t top guys to me. Carlos Condit can be considered a top guy, so this is Hendricks opportunity.
Condit has evolved over the past year by showing how good his cardio is and his ability to stay in fights, even after taking massive strikes. When he fought St. Pierre, his takedown defense was poor but he showed signs of improving on the ground. He is very unpredictable with his striking, which makes him even more of a threat to defend against.
It’s pretty obvious that Hendricks has massive knockout power, but he can’t be aggressive as he usually is. He hasn’t fought someone that strikes quite like Condit. I’m expecting him to try for some takedowns and try to punish Condit in top position. It’s his best bet for success, since he’s much stronger and can use his wrestling to his advantage.
This fight is going to be more of a chess match than an absolute battle. Condit’s fights have become that, with his counter attack style and waiting for openings. You have to expect Hendricks to be more aggressive, but that will be his downfall. Condit has better cardio and he’ll outwork Hendricks for the finish. Condit will surprise with a head kick that leads to a brutal ground-and-pound finish.
Winner via TKO in the Third Round: Carlos Condit
Welterweight Championship: Georges St. Pierre vs Nick Diaz
The long wait ends here and I’m really excited to see the reaction that Diaz gets. Unlike Condit, Diaz has disrespected St. Pierre on so many occasions so it may be the most negative reaction in UFC history since the fight is in Montreal. It shouldn’t affect Diaz though, who has made a great career off of battling against critics.
It’s been over a year since Diaz fought, but this is a rare occasion where you won’t see rust. Diaz has kept himself in top condition, especially when you watch this video. He’s an absolute machine that has never been more motivated in his life. He’s an underdog for the first time in a while and he’s ready to go to the ground with St. Pierre where he’s a Jiu-Jitsu specialist.
It has been over 4 years, since St. Pierre finished a fight. We’ve never witnessed St. Pierre so angry before and there isn’t a better time for him to finish off an opponent. He will most likely try to go to the ground, but he may try to standup with Diaz due to it being so personal. Eventually if Diaz tags him with a few strikes, you’ll see St. Pierre do what he does best and take Diaz down.
The fight should be very different from a St. Pierre fight with St. Pierre more aggressive as ever, especially knowing how dangerous Diaz can be. It’ll be interesting to see if Diaz taunts at all, since that’s a part of his game. He should avoid the taunting and take his opportunities in standup because I can’t see him defend St. Pierre’s takedown attempts very well due to the strength difference between both fighters.
Diaz should be able to hold his own on the ground and could possibly lock in a submission, but St. Pierre is too strong and powerful. He’s going to be looking for a knockout more than ever. Diaz should land some nice combinations, but St. Pierre will be too much in top position on the ground. It’ll end up ending in full mount with St. Pierre making Diaz bleed until he can’t compete no longer. Diaz won’t quit, but the amount of blood he’ll lose will make him unable to continue.
Winner via Fourth Round TKO: Georges St. Pierre
All MMA writers, analysts, fans have been hyping up this PPV. Who could blame them based on how special the build up has been. It’s going to be a special night and it could possibly be the end of St. Pierre’s dominant title run. It does feel that Diaz has more of a chance compared to Condit last November.
It should be a fantastic PPV and the welterweight division is starting to become the most stacked division. They are going to showcase three great matchups, along with a loud Montreal crowd. Anyone have odds that Diaz is going to retire if he loses to St. Pierre? I would hope not because he never fails at being entertaining and he would be missed in this sport. I’ll be back on Monday for a review on the event.
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