In about two months the MMA world will be treated to a match-up between two tremendous talents who happen to be polar opposites of each other personality-wise and are entering the bout looking to settle a longtime score. The clash in question is, of course, the headlining tilt at UFC 158 between welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre and rival Nick Diaz.
While the match-up is being billed as a super-fight of sorts, many fans aren’t giving Diaz much of a chance at dethroning St-Pierre, and rightfully so considering the mountain Diaz has to climb when the cage door closes. He’s been out of action for more than a year due to a drug-related suspension, has struggled against superior wrestlers, and is facing one of the top fighters to have ever graced the Octagon.
However, a fight is a fight, and through strategy along with a little luck there’s no reason Diaz can’t actually emerge with his hand raised rather than a middle-finger in the direction of the judging panel. Below are three keys Diaz should consider if hoping to unlock the seemingly invincible armor of GSP in hopes of leaving the Montreal crowd silent at the conclusion of the March 16 event…
Don’t Engage in Trash Talk
To say Diaz dislikes St-Pierre would be an understatement along the lines of labeling Anderson Silva a decent striker. Diaz absolutely loathes GSP, calling him a variety of expletives on a handful of past occasions including some unintentionally entertaining rants while driving. That being said, the time to put his nose to the grindstone instead of get caught up talking trash about St-Pierre is now. “Rush” is notorious for finding motivation in malcontents. There’s no doubt he’ll train tremendously hard for the fight no matter what but why throw gas on a fire you hope to extinguish? In fact, respectful silence might even irk St-Pierre to a certain extent if he’s expecting an all out onslaught of smack.
Train Extensively from His Back
St-Pierre’s takedowns are among the best in MMA if not tops altogether. He’s highly effective and is excellent at controlling his foes from above. Diaz needs to be ready for such and train to find openings from the bottom rather than pretend he won’t end up on his backside for at least half of the bout. Fortunately, teammate Gilbert Melendez recently implied Diaz would be working on just that area so it sounds like the former Strikeforce champion should be ready to throw up submissions, strikes, sweeps, and the kitchen sink if necessary when it comes to attacking from his back.
Elbows, Elbows, Elbows
Diaz has a few reputations including that of a bleeder. He used to cut so easily in the past he actually got surgery to fix some scar tissue issues. While St-Pierre is nowhere near that level thanks to his semi-safe style, he is starting to show some wear and tear including in his recent clash with Carlos Condit. If Diaz can use his elbows, and knees for that matter, he may be able to open up a few cuts either swinging momentum, get a doctor to intervene, or at least leave GSP so bloodied officials have to consider scoring things in Diaz’s favor.
PHOTO CREDIT: UFC