It’s unlikely that we’ll see anything other than Carlos Condit attempting to decapitate Georges St. Pierre Saturday night. The man shows up with sound ideas and well-planned tactics, and those blueprints tend to involve a lot of aggression.
Outside of his bout with Nick Diaz, Carlos Condit has looked like a monster in the cage. Even when the man is hurt, he’s in the fight, battling to regain his footing and secure an upper hand. When you’re always a threat, you earn nicknames like “The Natural Born Killer”.
All that said, Carlos will tangle with the greatest welterweight to ever grace the octagon, the longtime champ, GSP. Soak that up for a minute. This isn’t just another fight for Condit, this is the fight, and there are a handful of significant questions that come affixed.
After his conservative approach in the Diaz bout, fans jumped to label Condit “The Natural Born Runner”. That wasn’t fair in the least bit, and I’d dare any keyboard warrior to enter the cage opposite the Stockton native and engage in combat without backing up, a lot.
Condit is a finisher by nature, and that’s more than likely the Condit we’ll see this weekend.
Of course, there are zero certainties in MMA, and if Condit and those working close to him in preparation for this fight feel a measured attack is the path of least resistance, we could see some more backward movement and well-timed kicks from the interim champion.
Is a cautious approach the best approach when facing a guy like GSP? The truth is, no one knows. Aside from a moment that produced a star struck St. Pierre practically giving the legendary Matt Hughes his arm for the taking, and a careless approach to a fight with the overmatched Matt Serra, GSP hasn’t shown any noteworthy weaknesses.
Chances are solid that GSP finds himself in Condit’s guard, hurling leather at his face, at some point in time during this fight. That scenario doesn’t bring much mystery with it, but Condit’s reaction and the effectiveness of his guard work does.
Carlos is a dangerous kid who’s fully capable of applying fight-ending maneuvers from his back. He’s also got an extremely long frame that has its pros and cons on the mat. His lengthy structure should enable him to create more space between himself and GSP, but being such a long guy means longer limbs, and longer limbs can be much easier to wrangle than shorter.
Will Condit find a way to stymie the champion’s offense? Will his length enable him to find success when fishing for an arm, or the triangle?
We’ll see in a few days.
Word around the MMA circuit is that Carlos has invested countless hours in improving his takedown defense. If the rumors are true, Condit is going to be a much bigger threat to the champion than many expect.
If you take wrestling out of the equation, this is a reasonably close fight. Both men are mobile, and both are technically refined when unleashing hellacious strikes. Condit’s offense is the more impressive of the two, simply because he’s willing to take a chance while GSP is not, and Condit has a killer instinct that St. Pierre simply doesn’t possess.
If “The Natural Born Killer” can find a way to stay out of range of St. Pierre’s feared double, and stuff it when the champ does manage to get his hands on the interim champ, then this fight becomes infinitely more intriguing.
This one comes down to the hours put in at the gym. Has Carlos put the appropriate time in?
We all know he’s had plenty of it, opting to remain inactive, in wait of GSP, after taking a decision over Nick Diaz nearly 10 months ago to capture the interim belt.
There’s no doubt that Carlos packs a mean punch. He finishes fights, and he often does so with his hands. He may look the skinny chap, but he’s a strong skinny chap.
He put Dan Hardy to sleep with a single hook, put a knee in the face of Dong Hyun Kim that will live on in highlight reels for years to come, and trounced Rory MacDonald in the waning moments of a fight that “The Natural Born Killer” looked destined to lose.
None of these men are GSP, and none are quite on the same level. St. Pierre is extremely elusive and his footwork keeps him out of tricky spots. It’s not easy to land a flush bomb on the chin of the longtime champion.
That said, if anyone is going to reintroduce GSP to pain within the confines of the cage, it’s Carlos Condit.
The man’s willingness to take chances is what makes him a constant threat to the legacy of GSP, and it may be the very X-Factor that enables him to walk away as the first man to beat GSP in over half a decade.
One of Carlos’ most underappreciated weapons just so happens to be his knees. His timing is absolutely impeccable, and he’s fully capable of reading a takedown and throwing a vicious counter in the path of the offender.
Condit’s knees have looked spectacular in numerous fights, but one need only glance at his bouts with Jake Ellenberger and the aforementioned Dong Hyun Kim to really understand what these tools are capable of.
Ellenberger ran into a few of those knees while valiantly attempting to finish Condit, and Kim absorbed a flush knee to the face while, I’m certain, contemplating a friendly hugging contest. Ultimately Condit walked away from both fights victorious.
That’s the kind of impact the knees of “The Natural Born Killer” can have: they can sway the entire momentum of a fight in an instant. If GSP shoots a double, and is welcomed by a perfectly placed knee, we could see the unexpected.
Hopefully Condit’s been drilling plenty of counter knees, and hopefully, he can make this an exciting fight by successfully utilizing them.
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