The weigh ins are in the books, and all fights are a go for UFC 158: St-Pierre Vs Diaz tomorrow night in Montreal at the Bell Centre. We broke down the prelims yesterday, and you can get an eyeful of our main card picks for UFC 158 below.
Colin Fletcher vs. Mike Ricci (Lightweights)
Both recent The Ultimate Fighter alums did fairly well in their respective seasons of the show. Both fighters are likely fighting for their roster spots as they are both coming off of decision losses. Fletcher will enjoy a slight reach advantage, which he usually has in fights, and he will look to keep RIcci on the outside with low kicks and jabs. Fletcher seems to have a hard time doing using his distance for entire rounds, and sometimes lets fighters on the inside of his reach and he gets taken down. That happens to be one of the things Ricci is good at, and he will look to use his inside trips to put Fletcher on his back.
Fletcher is confident in his BJJ skills, and his long limbs allow him to get chokes at odd angles from different positions, but Ricci is cage savvy enough to stay out of most submissions. Fletcher will always make a fight out of any scrap he is in, but Ricci will use his position to win two of the three rounds and get the decision win.
Mike Ricci via unanimous decision
Chris Camozzi Vs Nick Ring (Middleweights)
There are two things you shouldn’t expect in this fight. The first thing you shouldn’t expect is a technical striking match. This fight will be ugly, and I don’t mean that in a derogatory way, I mean that thats the type of fight both fighters will look to have. The other thing you shouldn’t expect is a for Camozzi to take down Ring, as he hasn’t shot for a takedown in his 8 UFC fights.
Ring recovered well from his first career loss to Tim Boetsch by defeating Court McGee by decision, and Camozzi has quietly put together a three fight winning streak in the division. Once Ring gets a taste of Camozzi’s punches he will look to turn this into a grappling match, and while I expect Camozzi to land on his back once or twice from takedowns, I don’t see him keeping him there. Expect Camozzi to eek out a close decision win in an exciting fight that will win both of them a lot of fans.
Chris Camozzi via decision
Jake Ellenberger Vs Nate Marquardt (Welterweights)
When the card got shuffled because of Rory MacDonald’s injury, Marquardt stepped right in as he was relatively healthy after his win at the last Strikeforce card. This is a fight where the two have a very good chance of stalemating each other trying to get it to the ground. If that happens you can expect some of fun exchanges as both guys have had their chins tested in the past. Ellenberger has a counter left hook he knows how to set up effortlessly, but other than that he really just sets up his punches off of his jab. Marquardt will vary it up a bunch more, and is much more creative with his striking.
I expect both fighters to abandon their takedowns early in the first round, and it won’t it be until someone gets tagged once or twice until we see either of them secure one. I expect that someone to be Ellenberger.
Jake Ellenberger via split decision
Carlos Condit Vs Johny Hendricks (Welterweights)
Every fighter expects Hendricks to be able to punch very hard, and everyone knows he is quick, but people are just now figuring out how much ground Hendricks can cover in a short amount of time. Coming in with a five inch reach disadvantage, Hendricks is counting on lulling Condit into his wheelhouse and closing the deal with a knockout. Even in tense situations, like his last fight against Diaz, Condit is able to remain calm and stick to his game plan. Which will likely be to keep Hendricks on the end of his punches for most of the fight.
Fans forget about the wrestling abilities of Hendricks, but don’t think for a second that Condit has. Look for Condit to use his knees to stymie a double leg from Hendricks that stuns him late in the fight, and for Condito overwhelm with punches to secure the W.
Carlos Condit Technical Knockout, round 3
Georges St-Pierre Vs Nick Diaz (Welterweight)
GSP is an exceptional natural wrestler. Nick Diaz has a fierce striking game he has been honing for the better part of his life. GSP is no slouch on the feet, and Diaz is so confident in his his jiu-jitsu that he will let guys take him down, but when we talk about both combatants ‘bread-and-butter’ its a grappler vs striker match-up. We all know how that plays out, grappler stays on the inside of the punches, and if possible get a takedown. Rinse, wash. and repeat. St-Pierre is very capable of doing that in this fight, and add in to the scenario that he only has to win three of the five rounds, and the odds Vegas laid down on the fight start to make sense (It’s like they watch the sport or something.)
Diaz is not going to NOT come forward in a fight, its one of the things that fans love so much about him, but that is the ‘prisoners dilemma’ for Diaz. Diaz’s best ability is getting his opponents to freeze while he is feinting and setting up punches, and when it comes down to it his defense is a really good offense. Nick doesn’t mind eating punches, and because of his hand speed he will almost always land more strikes than whoever he is exchanging with.
It’s like Diaz’s coach Cesar Gracie just pulls a string on his back at the beginning of each round and he will just keep coming forward. As far as conditioning is concerned, Diaz will have a clear advantage, and he will look to wear out GSP. GSP might stand and trade with him a bit, but once St-Pierre sees how fast those punches are coming in, he will shoot on Diaz. I think GSP can do enough on the ground to get three rounds on Diaz, but this is such a coin flip that I was close to picking against GSP for the first time since he won his belt back.
Georges St-Pierre via unanimous decision