THERE IS A really strong UFC card on in Montreal this weekend but most of the great matchups have been completely over shadowed by one of the sport’s most intriguing rivalries.
So much has gone on before that it never looked like we would get to this point but on Saturday Nick Diaz and Georges St Pierre will finally throw down and it promises to be epic. With the hype and animosity at fever pitch, the thought of watching the two men finally wage war against each other means that this is the must-see fight of the year so far.
Away from the main event there is the small matter of fights between four other top welterweights that have very much been pushed to the sidelines as Johny Hendricks takes on Carlos Condit while Jake Ellenberger faces Nate Marquardt.
All eyes on the main event
A lot of water has passed under the bridge since Nick Diaz first called out St Pierre after dismantling BJ Penn at UFC 137 but the ill feeling between the pair which has been bubbling under the surface incessantly has shown itself in front of the media and fans this past week.
Diaz’s failure to always comply with company policy — he missed yet another media appointment this week — means he is often painted as the bad guy of the sport, something which he complained about in his unusually frank outbursts.
Whether he intended to or not, he has completely gotten under GSP’s skin with the Canadian telling Dana White that he wanted to beat Diaz so bad that he has to retire. It remains to be seen whether getting St Pierre angry is the best way to approach the fight; it certainly didn’t work for Josh Koscheck.
There could be method in his madness however. If he goads the usually cool-headed St. Pierre into making any kind of mistake, he could create an opening that may allow him to win the fight. Neither man’s striking talent is in question but Diaz has struggled against wrestlers in the past and GSP is just about the best in that aspect.
Diaz’s best chance of winning is if the fight stays on his feet but he has to be at the very, very top of his striking game if he is to stand any chance of getting his hands on that belt. Even if he is at his best, it might not be good enough to beat one of the all-time greats but let’s just hope that it is the action in the cage we are all talking about when all is said and done.
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Best of the rest
Carlos Condit has faced both GSP and Nick Diaz before but if he is to get another shot at the welterweight champion again he must defeat tough wrestler Johny Hendricks. Many believed that it should be Hendricks facing GSP but he has been forced to earn his title tilt in the toughest way possible.
“Big Rigg” has showcased his thunderous KO power on more than one occasion in his career but Condit has faced the best and never been KOd so his greatest strength could be nullified. Condit mixes things up a lot better and he is also capable of finishing either via strikes or submission; that could be the most likely way the fight will go.
Jake Ellenberger and Nate Marquardt have been mere afterthoughts this week but an impressive performance from either could give Dana White another headache in the welterweight division. Ellenberger has been knocking on the door for top contender for some time and a win over the former Strikeforce champion would surely place him in the same bracket as Condit and co.
Former “TUF” contestants Nick Ring and Chris Camozzi face off in the middleweight division while Colin Fletcher, who was beaten by Norman Parke, makes up the main card as he faces Mike Ricci.