Tonight in Montreal the mixed martial arts world will finally witness the return of UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St, Pierre after an absence of 18 months. Will the dominant champion be at the top of his game or will the knee injury he suffered hinder his performance?
His opponent Carlos Condit won the interim welterweight championship by defeating Nick Diaz in a back and forth five round affair at UFC 143 in February. Instead of facing another contender and defending the interim championship, Condit decided to wait for GSP to return and face the man who has ruled the welterweight division for the last four years.
There are four other bouts on the pay-per-view portion of this card including a co-main event that could provide the winner of the main event their next challenger. Johny Hendricks will face Martin Kampmann in what should be a great fight between two extremely tough mixed martial artists.
Let’s take a look at all five bouts and see who will walk away with their hand raised.
Mark Hominick vs. Pablo Garza- Featherweights
It’s no secret Hominick is an exciting fighter who always brings it each and every time he enters the Octagon. His five round battle with current UFC Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo at UFC 129 last April was the best evidence you could use to prove this notion. Despite a huge hematoma on his forehead Hominick came out for the fifth round and dominated the champion. Unfortunately that was also the beginning of a three fight losing streak that is staring him right in the face as he prepares to face Garza tonight.
Garza is on a two fight losing streak himself and there is nothing that means more to these guys than keeping their spot in the UFC. Two desperate men should provide for a fantastic fight, they are both going to leave it all on the line tonight. Garza and Hominick have a lot to prove and neither man is going to give an inch here. The question here is who is willing and who is capable of giving that little extra so they go home happy and their opponent walks away dejected? Hominick has had a rough time since the death of close friend and coach Shawn Tompkins, but I think he rebounds tonight in front of his fellow Canadians.
Winner by 3rd Round TKO (Punches)- Mark Hominick
Nick Ring vs. Costa Philippou- Middleweights
Here you have two guys who have been on pretty nice runs. Ring has gone 3-1 in the UFC with his lone loss coming via decision to current contender Tim Boetsch and Philippou has won four straight after dropping his UFC debut to Nick Catone in a fight he took on short notice last March at UFC 111. These two were also on The Ultimate Fighter season 11 together albeit for a very brief time.
Philippou has extremely good hands and an underrated ground game and Ring is also very well rounded. I look at Philippou as the stronger of the two and that’s where I think this fight will be decided. The Serra-Longo trained, Long Island resident should be able to out muscle Ring and control the action of this fight. I see a lot of clinch work and dirty boxing, but that doesn’t mean we’re in for a boring bout.
Winner by Unanimous Deicision- Costa Philippou
Francis Carmont vs. Tom Lawlor- Middleweights
We know what are getting with Lawlor, he is a good wrestler who doesn’t do anything extraordinary. He has a 4-3 record inside the Octagon and is known more for his ring entrances and weigh-in appearances than he is for the work he does inside the cage. To me the focus should be on your performance inside the Octagon as opposed to what you do outside of it. I don’t see much of a future in the UFC for Lawlor, especially if he can’t string together a few wins.
Carmont is a finisher, with six of his 19 wins coming by knockout and 10 coming by submission, the 31-year-old France native has looked impressive in his three wins with the UFC. In his debut he defeated Chris Camozzi by unanimous decision and followed that up with a submission victory over Magnus Cedenblad in April. He came back in July to defeat Karlos Vemola by rear naked choke on the Weidman-Munoz card. Carmont trains at Tri-Star with some of the very best the sport has to offer and will use Lawlor as a stepping stone as he looks to win his ninth straight.
Winner by 2nd Round Submission (Rear Naked Choke) Francis Carmont
Johny Hendricks vs. Martin Kampmann- Welterweights
This is such a tough fight to call, they both have their strengths and what they do well, they really do well. Hendricks is a fantastic wrestler with very powerful hands and Kampmann is a dynamic striker who mixes in a solid grappling game. These two are also tough as hell and aren’t afraid to take a little punishment in order to give some out. Hendricks has won four straight with his last two wins coming against Jon Fitch and Josh Koscheck while Kampmann has won three straight including two bouts where he was headed for defeat against Thiago Alves and Jake Ellenberger.
Throw in the fact that the winner could be in line for a title shot and it gives both men that much more incentive to win and do it convincingly. They have trained together at Xtreme Couture and are actually very friendly, but to Hendricks and Kampmann that all goes out the window when that cage door closes behind them tonight. I honestly see this one going the distance and being so close that when the winner is announced there will be some who will be surprised and others who will be relieved. This is the type of match-up that will scream for a rematch somewhere down the line.
Winner by Unanimous Decision- Johny Hendricks
Georges St. Pierre (Champion) vs. Carlos Condit (Interim Champion)- UFC Undisputed Welterweight Championship
We all know both men as well as we are going to know them. I don’t need to go over their strengths. GSP is a great wrestler with great top control and very good striking and submissions. Condit has a very good all around game with very good knees and isn’t afraid to mix it up standing or on the ground. The big question here is how will St. Pierre’s knee hold up and will ring rust play a factor for the dominant Canadian champion.
Condit is going to offer GSP his toughest test to date and will do everything in his power to stop his take-downs. If Condit is successful it’s going to cause GSP to stand with a more powerful puncher who can brutalize him with kicks and knees. To be honest with you I think GSP is 100% healthy and while it may take him a few seconds to get acclimated to being in a fight again he will wake right up the first time Condit hits him in the face or lands a vicious leg kick. His juices will begin to flow and the man who has been champion for so long will reappear.
Winner by Unanimous Decision- Georges St. PierreTags: Carlos Condit, featured, georges st. pierre, johny hendricks, Jon Fitch, Josh Koscheck, mark hominick, martin kampmann, MMA NEWS, Nick Diaz, pablo garza, UFC 154, ufc news, ufc welterweight championship