Georges St. Pierre is back, and the UFC is bringing their number 1 PPV draw to the Bell Centre in Montreal to unify the Welterweight Championship. A win for GSP brings on the super fight everyone has been clamoring for the past few years. A win for Carlos Condit brings a whole new dynamic to the Welterweight division. Check out our picks below and feel free to leave yours in the comments below.
Featherweight Fight: Mark Hominick vs. Pablo Garza
Brian: Mark Hominick starts his climb back up the ladder with this one. These fighters are a collective 1-6 in their last 3 fights…so something’s gotta give. Look for Hominick to be a little tentative in his striking at first (to avoid a repeat of the Korean Zombie “fight”), but open up in the 2nd and 3rd rounds and win 29-28 across the board.
Brendan: Both guys need a win or risk catching the boot from the UFC, I think Hominick will have to work his way inside Garza’s reach to find a striking groove. I see Garza pulling guard and trying to use his long limbs and slick submissions to create an opening, but ultimately Hominick will get the UD through having a heavy top game and not getting too aggressive.
Jordan: Both of these guys are trying to get back on the win column after multiple losses. Hominick has earned Fight of the Night in two of his last three fights, (all losses) and Garza has some slick submissions. I see Hominick keeping this fight on the ground and earning the 2nd round KO.
Mark: This will be an interesting opener as both of these fighters are riding multiple loss streaks currently. We know that both are capable of putting on exciting fights and with the added pressure of another loss, both should come out determined. The biggest factor in my mind in this fight will be patience. I give Hominick the striking advantage and believe that if he is disciplined in his attacks, he’ll eventually get Garza to make a mistake. It won’t be easy for him, but I like the Canadian to get back to his winning ways Saturday night. Hominick by Unanimous Decision
Middleweight Fight: Nick Ring vs. Costa Phillipou
Brian: This is a fight with two legitimate prospects in the middleweight division…not necessarily title shot prospects yet, but definitely long term gate keeper prospects. Costa Phillipou is a solid striker, Ring wants this going to the ground…the latter will end up happening. Ring via split decision.
Brendan: This should be a good stand-up battle with both men trying to land the knock-out shot throughout. I see it going the distance and Ring will get the nod in the end by split decision.
Jordan: Both of these guys have fought and beat similar competition so it makes sense that these two are fighting. This fight is going to decision and I am giving this to the Canadian. Ring wins in unanimously.
Mark: Both fighters have victories over a common opponent (Court McGee) and have looked very tough as of late. I like Ring’s versatility and toughness, but I give Phillipou a heavy advantage in the power department. I expect this to play out mostly on the feet with Ring landing a higher volume of strikes, while Phillipou lands the heavier shots. Consequently, the judges will have a tough call. In a coin flip, I’ll go with Costa Phillipou by Split decision.
Middleweight Fight: Francis Carmont vs. Tom Lawlor
Brian: If Filthy Tom can put together a fight that is on par with his entrances, look for fireworks from Lawlor. He’s a well-rounded fighter that can win any way he sees an opening. In this case, though, his weakness is his opponent’s strength. Lawlor will need to use his wresting to avoid takedowns and then finish the fight standing. He’ll do it, and earn a little bonus check along with it.
Brendan: Tom Lawlor will get careless trying to land the early haymayker and Carmont will stay disciplined and tight in the pocket landing counter strikes until he ultimately turns out those Filthy lights in the 2nd.
Jordan: Besides Rory MacDonald, Carmont is supposed to be the next big thing coming out of Tristar. Carmont has looked impressive in his wins and deserves the opportuntity to fight on the main card. Lawlor is coming off big victory after knocking out Jason MacDonald back in May. This has potential to be good fight and I have Carmont taking this to the ground and pulling out a submission victory.
Mark: Georges St. Pierre has been very vocal about the untapped potential in teammate Francis Carmont. He’s definitely cut from the same ultra-athletic mold and has been very disciplined in his UFC run thus far. Lawlor is a fighter who is anything but disciplined. He loves to throw haymakers and brawl, but we can’t discount his underrated ground game either. I see early aggression from Lawlor, but after a few counters, Carmont will take control of this fight and wear down the American with ground and pound until he breaks. I’ll take Carmont by 2nd RD TKO.
Welterweight Fight: Martin Kampmann vs. Johny Hendricks
Brian: This fight should be a 5-rounder. We know Johnny Hendricks can start out fast (12 seconds kind of fast), and that Martin Kampmann is not one to give up. This fight should play out exactly like we expect it to with one little hiccup: Kampmann is gonna start fast, too. Hendricks will tire out in the 3rd round, and Kampmann’s bloody self will slap on a sub and vault him into the title picture.
Brendan: This is one hell of a fight. I’m not going to sugarcoat anything here, Hendrix has crazy power and Kampmann has an insane will to keep fighting. I think Hendrix will land a few too many of those heavy left hands and send Kampmann into dreamworld just a bit too long for the referee to let it slide any longer. Hendrix takes this by T/KO in the 1st.
Jordan: After all the injuries that took place in 2012, every title fight should be co-main evented with a #1 contender’s match, just in case there is an injury. Fortunately, the title fight didn’t get ruined by injury and we get to see this fight take place. Martin Kampmann and Johny Hendrix have earned there way to the top of the Welterweight division and taken out top competition on the way. Contenders like Jake Ellenberger, Jon Fitch, Thiago Alves and Josh Koscheck have all been victim to these two fighters. Both of these fighters can strike and we should see this fight last the first few rounds on their feet. Kampmann is strong on the ground and will no doubt be looking to pull off a submission. I have this fight going to decision, I will take Hendrix via split decision.
Mark: What I like most about this fight is that both Kampmann and Hendricks have quieted their detractors in showing that their weaknesses are anything but. The knock on Kampmann was that he would wilt under the pressure of a strong wrestler. Knocking out Jake Ellenberger proved that was dead wrong. Hendricks was thought to be too one dimensional and could only win using wrestling to control the action. Knocking out John Fitch with a single punch told us otherwise. Though both have evolved, I think Kampmann will not be able keep Hendricks’ take down attempts at bay. If Hendricks tries to stand with Kampmann, he loses, but if he can get the fight to the ground, he’ll cruise. I’ll go with Johny Hendricks by Unanimous Decision.
Welterweight Fight: Georges St. Pierre vs. Carlos Condit
Brian: Finally, we see GSP again, and questions will be answered. Will he be rusty? How will his knee hold up? Will Condit be able to combat GSP’s speed with his unique and imaginative striking skills? Rusty? A little. Knee? Fine. Speed? Speed Kills. Takedowns and ground and pound will be the story of this one. 5 rounds, back and forth, and GSP wins 49-46, 48-47 and 48-47….but the fight isn’t really that close. Welcome back, Georges!
Brendan: Condit has nothing to lose here and absolutely everything to prove, but then again so does GSP as he comes back from ACL surgery and hopes to perform at his old levels. This fight will go the distance with both men battering each other on their feet and GSP landing takedowns and delivering some of his usual ground-n-pound. In the end, GSP will take the decision victory in his backyard, where Anderson Silva will then challenge him to the superfight of the century. Book it…
Jordan: How will GSP look after recovering from an ACL injury and a lengthy time away from the cage? We know ring rust is a real thing, but GSP is a freak athlete, and I have already seen one freak athlete come back from an ACL injury (see Peterson, Adrian). I think we are going to see the same old GSP in the cage that we have come to known. I don’t expect a finish, but I do see him pulling out the unanimous decision. Condit will push the pace, but I don’t see GSP being in too much trouble in this one.
Mark: When is Carlos Condit going to earn the respect he deserves? His career is full of impressive finishes against top competitors and it seems like few people are giving him much of a chance in this fight. Georges St. Pierre has been untouchable since winning the title back at UFC 83 more than four years ago. But a rebuilt ACL and 19 month layoff raise very plausible doubts. Will he be able to explode into his take downs like before? Will his timing be sharp with his jab? I think Condit’s aggression will win the first and maybe second rounds, but eventually St. Pierre will find his rhythm and take control of the fight with his wrestling. I like GSP winning rounds 3, 4, and 5 and earning a comeback Unanimous Decision victory.
Submission of the Night
Brian: Martin Kampmann
Brendan: John Maguire
Jordan: Francis Carmont
Mark: John Maguire
Knock out of the Night
Brian: Tom Lawlor
Brendan: Johnny Hendrix
Jordan: Mark Hominck
Mark: Francis Carmont
Fight of the Night
Brian: Georges St. Pierre vs. Carlos Condit
Brendan: Sam Stout vs. John Makdessi
Jordan: Martin Kampmann vs. Johny Hendrix
Mark: Sam Stout vs. John Makdessi
Brian (103-80) – Co-host of the MMANonstop Podcast and author of the series “The Book On…” exclusively at 188.8.131.52/~bchurch, follow him at twitter.com/bchurchin
Brendan (101-82) – Examines the Top 5 fighters in each weight class and is featured exclusively on 184.108.40.206/~bchurch. Follow him at twitter.com/bchurchin48
Jordan (114-69) – Runs the MMANonstop twitter feed and co-host of the MMANonstop Podcast, follow him at twitter.com/nonstopmma
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Brendan is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu purple belt and boxing practitioner who has followed all things MMA since watching the first UFC event over 20 years ago. In addition to his professional career, Brendan is currently an MBA student at Montclair State University who enjoys spending time with his wife Meredith and their dog Cha'lie when he's not training.
Follow Brendan on Twitter @bchurchin48 and check out all his articles exclusively at MMANonstop.com.