Welcome to the biggest blog I will ever write. Well, until the UFC announces the super fight of Georges St-Pierre vs. Anderson Silva.
The UFC has made some unofficial info available that following this weekend's fight, Silva will put the challenge out. The big catch is that St-Pierre has to beat Carlos Condit at UFC 154. First step, hit weight at the weigh-ins. Second step, win the fight after a year-long layoff due to knee surgery.
However, before we talk about the main event let's break down three of the other fights on the card.
Canadians Sam Stout and Mark Hominick are back in action this weekend. The boys from Team Thompkins are ready for battle. Both fighter told me in interviews that will air Saturday at 11:30am ct on TSN Radio 1290, that Team Tompkins is alive and well, even though they have both found new coaches since the tragic passing of “The Coach” Shawn Tompkins.
The other fight on UFC 154 to focus on will be Martin Kampmann vs. Johny Hendricks. It has a lot to do with the shape of the welterweight division. Both these fighters can make a case to contend for the title with a win. Here's how my four picks are going to go.
Sam Stout vs. John Makdessi
Stout is 3-2 in his last five fights and he definitely needs the win for his career to remain on track. Stout got a huge win against Spencer Fischer in his last matchup. It was the third fight for those two and it was a barn burner.
Stout always brings a fight and now he has his first full camp under his belt with a new coach. Stout enlisted the services of Mark Dellagrotte, which is a great move in my opinion as Dellagrotte is one of the best in the business.
My concern for this fight is simple, Stout's desire to bring a high intensity slug fest. Four of his last five fights have gone to decision, not because of boredom, but because no one fell unconscious.
The only style of fight that Makdessi could pull an upset in would be one that has an overly aggressive fighter. Why? He has the Tristar advantage, which includes some of the best coaching and game planning in the game.
Unfortunately Stout doesn't vary much from his game plan. He likes to get in and have a great striking match. The way I see this playing out will be an early second round knockout for Stout. He has so much more experience, and his skill set is unquestionable.
However, if we see Makdessi weather the storm, and not get flustered by the skill of Stout, I would not be surprised to see “The Bull” grab a guillotine choke in the third. Going off of both fighters last fight, this one will be going to Stout. It will also have a great shot at being Fight of the Night.
Mark Hominick vs. Pablo Garza
Hominick has been gaining popularity in a big way of the past year or two. He is a fighter with so much heart, they call him “The Machine”. He simple won't stop, not even with a lump on his head the size of a softball. If you didn't catch that reference, look up Mark's face after Jose Aldo hit him for five full rounds.
Mark has heart and talent and that's why it will be fun to watch him take on Pablo Garza.
Pablo has quietly put together a healthy win list, and some great performances, even though he is on a bit of a slide. He recently lost to Dustin Poirier (a young fighter to watch). He followed that loss with yet another defeat to Dennis Bermudez. That means Pablo will have gotten the famous speech from Dana White.
White's pre fight speeches are famous for making fighters very aware of how close to the end of their career they are. They get reminded that this is a fight, and it may be their last unless the performance earns them the right to fight in the league.
So, Pablo needs a win, while Hominick only wants one.
Hominick has a new coach, and as he said in an interview with me, a new focus on his career. Hominick owns a gym in London, Ontario. He has recently stepped back from his role there to make sure he focuses on winning.
Hominick has something to prove to his students, and to himself. It's also his first full camp since the passing of Tompkins.
This fight really has only one viable outcome - Hominick ends this one with a quick submission. You will see Mark push the pace, control the Octagon, score a few flurries, but cap this one off in the second with a submission. Garza just hasn't dealt with the speed of Hominick. He saw it briefly with Poirier and that ended with a submission in Round 2. I expect the same here.
Martin Kampmann vs. Johny Hendricks
How come no one talks about Kampmann? The guy is 20-5 and an excellent fighter. For that matter, how come no one talks about Hendricks? He's 13-1 and hits a ton.
This fight is the reason people tune in to pay per views. Not only are these two fantastic fighters, they both know that a shot at the title rides on this fight. If you thought we saw their “A” game before, think again.
Kampmann made his biggest splash by ending the six-fight streak of Jake Ellenberger. Ellenberger was one of the top rated contenders for GSP's title, until Kampmann knocked him out. It wasn't a lucky punch, Kampmann controlled the powerhouse and picked his shots.
Hendricks on the other hand, I'm not as sold on. He has two knockout wins. They both were fast KO's. That usually means a very heavy hand, mixed with a lucky punch. I realize that being good makes for “luck”, but when Hendricks doesn't land that big booming punch, he goes to decision.
With only one submission to his credit, I am not convinced Hendricks can land that grand slam shot on Kampmann.
I expect a submission in the second round out of Kampmann. Nothing flashy, but if Ellenberger couldn't overpower him, I don't think Hendricks will. This fight has a lot riding on it for the welterweights, so expect both these guys to bring it. I think the more well-rounded fighter Kampmann will take it. Then, my hope is that he gets his shot at the title.
Georges St-Pierre vs. Carlos Condit
Alright, time for the big fight. This is one of the most interesting fights in a long time in any combative sport with lots of factors to consider.
Let's talk about the fun one. Condit is a product of the Jackson MMA camp. No one has made a big deal about this. He knows a lot more about GSP then anyone else has. He has even sparred with St-Pierre before on many occasions. That means there will be no surprises.
GSP's speed can not be duplicated, so the fact that Condit has felt it and worked with St-Pierre puts him in a place no one has ever been. He can go in prepared.
Next comes a two-part story line. St-Pierre blew out his knee, specifically his ACL. He has been off and on the mend for a full year. St-Pierre is a different breed. I really don't think you will see any sign of this injury. The fact is I think you will see a brand new, and better St-Pierre. That is just who he is. This injury may have actually made him better.
Now lets get to the fun facts. Condit is 13-1 in his last 14. Three of those were decisions, including his loss to none other than, Kampmann. The other 11 fights he finished and some of those were in really exciting first round dominating performances.
GSP on the other hand, he likes to go to decision. With that said, he has only lost two times in the past decade. Mostly because he has absolutely dominated those fights from start to finish. This is where the problem will be for St-Pierre. He will control Condit for 99 percent of the fight. He will be the stronger, faster, smarter fighter. With that said, Condit will pounce on the first mistake and make his power known to GSP.
This fight will be won easily by GSP if it goes to decision. However, the first mistake St-Pierre makes will end with a vicious knee or series of punches from Condit. That may be in the first round if St-Pierre is tentative on the knee, or in the third or fourth, if St-Pierre has any bad ideas to strike with Condit.
If St-Pierre stays to the game plan 100 percent, he will easily get his belt back. If he strays from it in the least, Condit will capitalize because Condit is also a very talented and patient fighter.
Simply put, it's going to be a great night of fights at the Bell Center on Saturday. Barring anything going wrong at the weigh-ins, the fights are set and the card will be fantastic.
I would love to hear your opinions so fire away @FitCityJordan #TheWeighIn. Let's get the conversation going on UFC 154.
Jordan Cieciwa can be heard on TSN Radio 1290 every Saturday at 11:30am ct with his show The Weigh-In. You can also follow Jordan at www.twitter.com/FitCityJordan and get all your fitness tips at www.onefitcity.com.