UFC 154: Georges St. Pierre vs. Carlos Condit - The Hype, The Style, The Stakes
The UFC is back on pay-per-view this Saturday night and features the highly anticipated return of Georges St. Pierre to the Octagon. Fighting in his home country of Canada, St. Pierre will defend his Welterweight title against the division’s interim champion, Carlos Condit. With UFC 154 right around the corner, The Well Versed examines the hype, style and stakes behind this main event clash between two of the best Welterweights in the world.
Georges St. Pierre was considered by many to be the face of the UFC, but he may now feel like a stranger to fight fans as the last time we saw him compete in the Octagon was April of 2011. The Welterweight champion was set to face Nick Diaz in October of last year, but a bizarre set of circumstances led to Carlos Condit switching places with Diaz. The wild ride continued as St. Pierre was then forced to pull out of the bout due to injury and all plans were put on hold.
In December, we found out that St. Pierre tore his ACL and the UFC was forced to create an interim championship bout between Condit and Diaz. Condit earned the interim crown with a close decision victory over Diaz in February, but elected to wait for St. Pierre to get healthy before he fought again. Finally, the 170 lbs. division can officially get back on track as training partners GSP and Condit square off to crown an undisputed Welterweight champion.
Georges St. Pierre is a strategist and always comes into his fights with a great game plan. Before his injury, St. Pierre had begun to draw the ire of some fans who felt he became overly conservative in the cage. That criticism is accurate, but it’s part of why the man has dominated the weight class for six years now. GSP’s focus has always been to exploit his opponent’s weaknesses, which is a luxury of being arguably the most well-rounded fighter in the sport.
Takedowns will tell the story of this fight as Carlos Condit is a top-level striker and wants to utilize his kickboxing to overwhelm his opposition. Condit’s style against Nick Diaz was truly an aberration as he typically is much more aggressive. With St. Pierre possessing some of the best takedowns in all of MMA, Condit’s job will be to stuff those attempts and keep this one the feet.
A big question going into this bout is how much the injury and long layoff affect Georges St. Pierre. Will the champion trust his knee to go for some explosive takedowns? Could the ring rust present Condit with an opportunity to put GSP away early in the fight? Ultimately, Condit must do what no one has done yet in the UFC and that is stopping St. Pierre from getting the takedowns. Despite his submission skill off his back, Condit will be in trouble if St. Pierre gets this to the ground where GSP’s top game is unparalleled. Condit has the advantage on the feet and needs to find a way to stay upright if he wants to win this one.
The stakes could not be much higher for this fight as the UFC Welterweight championship will be unified once again. For St. Pierre, a win allows him to reassert himself as the alpha-dog of the Welterweight division and show that his ACL injury has not slowed him down at all. If you read the tea leaves, it appears that a victory would likely set up the long awaited super fight between Georges St. Pierre and Anderson Silva sometime next year. For Condit, this is his chance to play spoiler and prove that he belongs in that rare class of elite level fighters. Condit does not want to simply be remembered as another one of GSP’s long line of victims at Welterweight. Condit has the opportunity to silence doubters who feel like he’s simply been in the right place, at the right time during the build-up to last year’s GSP/Diaz matchup.