Finally the UFC brings forth a fight card worth meaning with UFC 154.
It's no secret that 2012 has been a rough year for the company, and ever since Frankie Edgar fought Benson Henderson at UFC 150, the UFC has put together fight cards that lacked a strong buildup.
For those that disagree, Jon Jones vs. Vitor Belfort at UFC 152 may have been a big fight, but it was put together at the last moment and lacked that vigor build. Basically, it's been a while since a UFC fight card felt easy to pay for.
UFC 154 is not the case with welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre and interim champion Carlos Condit colliding. But is that fight the best fight on the card this Saturday?
Judging off of styles, importance and significance, these are the top main card fights for UFC 154.
Francis Carmont is still relatively unproven.
Though he's undoubtedly skilled, Carmont has yet to face the elite guys in the UFC. Wins against Chris Camozzi and Karlos Vemola are impressive, but they aren't wins against top-caliber competition.
And though calling Tom Lawler elite might be a bit of a stretch, he's certainly going to be Carmont's toughest fight to date.
So that sets up this storyline perfectly—is Carmont a legitimate contender in the middleweight division? Lawlor's wealth of experience inside the Octagon and well-versed submission game could put a halt to Carmont's hype.
But if Carmont steamrolls Lawlor en route to his eighth straight win, he'll force UFC matchmaker Joe Silva to give him bigger fights. All of that stuff is great, but come on, the real entertainment value here will be Lawlor's entrance.
Will Nick Ring stand and trade strikes with Constantinos Philippou?
Ring is technical on his feet, but what makes him such a threat is his tremendous grappling skills.
And while Philippou is known for his striking (five knockout victories), he's no stranger to the ground game. He trains with Matt Serra for heaven's sake.
Philippou has flown under the radar in the past year. He's quietly put together a four-fight win streak and a win against a respectable fighter such as Ring would certainly elevate his status in the middleweight division.
But then again, that's much easier said than done. If Ring chooses to come out and trade with Philippou, this could be a show-stealer, but chances are he'll try to grind away a decision victory.
Mark Hominick really needs a win.
Should Hominick lose to Pablo Garza at UFC 154, that would give him four straight losses. So with his back up against the wall, expect Hominick to put together a solid game plan to defeat Garza.
That's the logical thinking behind this matchup, but the gut feeling involving these two spells out fight of the night.
Garza is a threat on the feet or off of his back with his long limbs and well-rounded game, and once Hominick gets in front of that Canadian crowd, he's going to want to put on a show.
That might force Hominick, who's known to be a counter striker, to push the pace and Garza will refuse to back down. Don't be surprised if this fight turns into a show-stealer.
Video note: Kampmann/Hendricks buildup starts at 5:13 mark.
Just how important is Martin Kampmann vs. Johny Hendricks?
For sure, these two are next in line for a welterweight title shot, but how long before they get that shot? If Georges St-Pierre wins in impressive fashion this Saturday night, it could be a while before we see the winner of this fight against GSP.
And the reason for that, of course, is the lingering possibility of Anderson Silva fighting GSP in a pound-for-pound bout.
So though we're unsure of how important this fight is in the short term, it's still a huge welterweight bout. And in terms of fighting styles, this could turn into quite the chess match.
Though Hendricks has great power, Kampmann has the edge in striking. However, Hendricks has a huge advantage in the wrestling department. Will Hendricks stand and bang or will he play it smart?
The return of Georges St-Pierre couldn't have come at a better time.
After numerous injuries and card shakeups, 2012 has been rough on the company to say the least. But that seems to be ending. With a monster UFC on FOX 5 card and stacked UFC 155 fight card in December, the UFC's luck might be turning around.
But before we get to December, one of the best fighters of all time returns to the Octagon to take on a man who goes for the kill in Carlos Condit. What a great way to recapture momentum.
This fight, much like the co-main event, is all about whether or not the dominant wrestler can get the takedown. Condit must defend the takedown, and though he's witty at getting off of the bottom, chances are he won't be as successful against GSP.
If Condit turns this into a striking match, it could be a fantastic fight to watch. Should this hold true, this fight will unify the belts, entertain the fans and could lead to a dream matchup between GSP and Silva. What's not to love about this main event?