UFC 154 Bleacher Report MMA Main-Card Staff Predictions

John HeinisSenior Analyst INovember 15, 2012

UFC 154 Bleacher Report MMA Main-Card Staff Predictions

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    The UFC returns to Canada this Saturday at Montreal, Quebec's Bell Centre for one of 2012's biggest events, UFC 154

    As anyone reading this knows, the event marks the return of UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre. His homecoming will be against interim 170-pound champ Carlos Condit, a bout to unify the belts and determine the division's true kingpin. 

    Fans are also looking forward to the co-main event, a likely title eliminator at welterweight between Martin "The Hitman" Kampmann and Johny "Bigg Rigg" Hendricks. 

    Bleacher Report MMA Featured Columnists McKinley Noble, Matthew Roth, Kyle Symes, Scott Harris, Sean Smith and myself, John Heinis, bring you predictions for each of the five fights on the main card. 

    Take a look inside to see which competitors will come out victorious on Saturday night.

    Note: A UFC official confirmed Saturday morning that Nick Ring is sick with a virus and won't be able to take part in his scheduled bout with Costa Philippou, according to MMAFighting.com.

Mark Hominick vs. Pablo Garza

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    John Heinis: This will likely be Hominick's last chance to redeem himself since losing his title fight to Jose Aldo last year.

    Garza is scrappy with some slick submissions, but he really doesn't have much else to offer. "The Machine" still has enough gas to make it through a one-dimensional fighter. 

    Hominick, Unanimous Decision

     

    McKinley Noble: Even though Hominick's on a three-fight losing streak, he's also the guy who beat a helpless Jose Aldo into the mat and once choked the ever-loving bejeezus out of Bryan Caraway (Mr. Miesha Tate).

    That's reason enough for me to root for "The Machine" against just about anybody. As long as Garza doesn't land any flying knees in the first round, Hominick can probably slug out a solid win.  

    Hominick, Unanimous Decision

     

    Matthew Roth: A great fight between two solid featherweights. Mark Hominick has fallen on hard times, but he's still one of the best in the weight class.

    Garza is improving, but he's still a grappler first and a striker second. I believe Hominick can survive on the ground and win the fight standing.

    Hominick, Unanimous Decision

     

    Kyle Symes: In a battle to avoid getting the dreaded pink slip from UFC brass, I see Mark Hominick using his kickboxing to take a decision.

    I know Hominick has hit a major skid in his career, but I also believe the fact that he's been up against some of the best in the world at 145 pounds helps him against Garza. That and the fact that I believe Hominick is the better overall fighter.

    Hominick, Unanimous Decision

     

    Scott Harris: I think Hominick's got this. He was tough against Jose Aldo and simply got too emotional in rushing in on the Korean Zombie, a fight that happened just a few month's after the untimely death of Hominick's friend and trainer Shawn Tompkins.

    I think he'll look as good as he's ever looked and will finish a solid fighter in Garza.

    Hominick, TKO, Rd. 2

     

    Sean Smith: Is Mark Hominick the more technically skilled fighter in this matchup? Definitely. However, his chin has failed him, and I think it will again against an opponent who fights to finish or be finished.

    Garza, Knockout, Rd. 1

Francis Carmont vs. Tom Lawlor

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    John Heinis: Carmont, a Tri-Star gym training partner of GSP, has shown superb athleticism and grappling inside the Octagon. 

    "The Filthy Mauler" may be good enough to score some takedowns and test his submission defense, but that's about it. 

    Carmont, Submission, Rd. 2

     

    McKinley Noble: Our own Scott Harris says Francis Carmont is underrated, but I'm not so sure.

    Carmont looked great against Chris Camozzi, but he found himself in early trouble against far weaker competition during his last two fights. Tom Lawlor's not much of a step up, though.

    Carmont, Submission, Rd. 2

     

    Matthew Roth: I don't want to be super negative, but how the hell did this fight get on the main card? I'm not trying to be a jerk, but these two guys should be relegated to the Facebook prelims.

    I'm not sold on Carmont, and I think a smart Tom Lawlor wins this fight.

    Lawlor, Submission, Rd. 2

     

    Kyle Symes: Ah, Francis Carmont, the guy who everyone believes is underrated and the new favorite guy on the block. A win is a win, but I'm not buying my ticket aboard the Carmont train yet just because he's beaten a few guys on the lower end of the middleweight rankings.

    Lawlor has always been inconsistent, but how can you not root for the guy with the best entrances in UFC history?

    Lawlor, Split Decision

     

    Scott Harris: So one person calls Carmont underrated, and that instantly makes him overrated? Such a sad, sad commentary on this post-industrial instant-oatmeal society of ours, guys.

    Sure, Carmont has struggled at times, but who came out with the W, baby? I think Carmont's ready for this.

    Carmont, Unanimous Decision

     

    Sean Smith: For whatever reason, Tom Lawlor has been labeled some sort of grappling ace by many despite the fact that he has more submission losses than submission wins since joining the UFC.

    Francis Carmont outmuscles him, beats him up on the ground and locks up a rear-naked choke before the third round.

    Carmont, Submission, Rd. 2

Martin Kampmann vs. Johny Hendricks

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    John Heinis: Hendricks is a great wrestler with heavy hands; Kampmann is as well-rounded as they come with a granite chin to boot. 

    Either fighter is capable of finishing in any given second of this fight, but I just think "The Hitman" will perform a little bit better Saturday night.

    Kampmann, Split Decision 

     

    McKinley Noble: Kampmann has a high-quality win over Jake Ellenberger in his pocket, but he's been getting hit way too much in his most recent fights.

    My gut also says Hendricks has just been fighting tougher guys overall. He won't win a grappling-heavy war of attrition, but I think that "Bigg Rigg" can definitely shut off Kampmann's lights before the fight goes to the judges' scorecards.

    Hendricks, KO, Rd. 1

     

    Matthew Roth: I guess this is for No. 1 contender? This will come down to Martin Kampmann's ability to stay off his back.

    If he can sprawl and brawl, he takes this easily. If not, Hendricks will wrestle and grapple his way to a decision.

    Kampmann, Unanimous Decision

     

    Kyle Symes: I agree with Matt Roth in that this fight comes down to Martin Kampmann's defense, but his striking defense rather than takedown defense. Kampmann has been rocked in a lot of his fights recently, and Johny Hendricks has that one-punch power to KO anyone.

    Kampmann's chin is going to be tested, and I'm not sold on the fact that he will pass (nor am I on the fact that he can stop Hendricks' takedown attempts).

    Hendricks, TKO, Rd. 2

    Scott Harris: Part of me wonders if Hendricks might take a page from Mr. Jake Ellenberger, who employed a more conservative approach to defeat Jay Hieron after losing a slobber-knocker to Kampmann.

    I guess that's the smaller part of me, though. I think Hendricks bulls his way in and Kampmann makes him pay with the lower-wattage facets of his game.

    Kampmann, Submission, Rd. 2

     

    Sean Smith: Martin Kampmann is tough as nails, but Johny Hendricks will be swinging the hammer in this matchup.

    While Kampmann may have escaped another heavy-handed wrestler in his most recent fight against Jake Ellenberger, Hendricks usually paces himself better than Ellenberger and possesses the same one-punch finishing ability.

    Hendricks, Knockout, Rd. 1

Georges St-Pierre vs. Carlos Condit

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    John Heinis: Despite an almost 18-month layoff, I still think GSP performs like only GSP can. Condit has fantastic striking and submissions, but he has always struggled in the wrestling department (he lost to Pat Healy and Jake Shields). 

    This could honestly be a snooze fest, but there is little doubt in my mind what the final result will be. 

    St-Pierre, Unanimous Decision

     

    McKinley Noble: GSP losing this weekend might entirely depend on whether he's actually serious about going for the finish early. If "Rush" can submit Condit, that's great.

    But I think we're probably looking at another controlling, calculated decision win if GSP can avoid getting knocked out in the first round.

    St-Pierre, Unanimous Decision

     

    Matthew Roth: This fight should have everyone excited, but I can't help but feel like it lacks any anticipation or buzz. A healthy GSP should be able to GSP his way to a decision.

    But I'm just not sold on a return from a debilitating knee injury. I'm picking Carlos Condit because I think he's improved while GSP was rehabbing.

    Condit, TKO, Rd. 4

     

    Kyle Symes: I, like most MMA fans, am concerned with how Georges St-Pierre looks after coming off the ACL surgery. Will he still be explosive as ever with his takedowns? Can he handle Carlos Condit's kickboxing?

    There's a lot of questions going into this one, but I think GSP will be able to take advantage of the openings presented by Condit's overly aggressive style.

    St-Pierre, Unanimous Decision

     

    Scott Harris: As GSP himself pointed out at Wednesday's presser, Condit is a very smart fighter. What he left unsaid—and didn't need to say—is that St-Pierre may be the smartest fighter out there. He should find a way to smother Condit more often than not.

    St-Pierre, Unanimous Decision

     

    Sean Smith: As dangerous a fighter as Carlos Condit is, Georges St-Pierre beats him on one good knee, if he has to. When healthy, the well-rounded Canadian is a bad stylistic matchup for any welterweight in the world, but he has been particularly strong against non-wrestlers like Condit.

    St-Pierre claims he's planning on being more aggressive against Condit, but we've heard that before, so don't expect the welterweight great to trade spinning s*** with the interim champion.

    St-Pierre, Decision