St-Pierre vs Condit: Don't Be Too Surprised When Condit Knocks out St-Pierre
There is only one true welterweight champion and his name is Carlos Condit.
Come UFC 154, he will take Georges St-Pierre's UFC welterweight title and unify it with his own interim title, becoming the undisputed welterweight champ.
Remember that image of St-Pierre when he was being pummeled by Matt Serra at UFC 69?
The Canadian icon was curled up in a ball, tremulous and terrified. Get ready to see that exact same image Saturday night.
At the time of writing, 77.5 percent of the 3,000 plus Bleacher Report readers who took part in B/R MMA's front page poll inquiring whether GSP would beat Condit predicted a St-Pierre victory.
That's more than one-third, and that's laughable.
St-Pierre is coming off of major knee surgery and hasn't been in the Octagon in over fifteen months (his last fight was in April 2011).
A fighter who is attempting to bounce back from such deleterious circumstances should never be favored that much, no matter who he is.
GSP's defenses will be dilatory, his punches and kicks slower, his agility faded and his legendary wrestling prowess weakened.
All of this due to a combination of not fighting top competition for a prolonged amount of time—we saw what that did to Fedor Emelianenko—and, possibly, as a result of the surgery if his recovery wasn't optimal (Bleacher Report's own Dr. Jon Gelber analyzed the intricacies of the surgery and recovery methods).
These are terrible problems for any fighter to have, but they're even worse against a fighter like Condit.
Condit is arguably the most well-rounded opponent St-Pierre has ever faced.
The Interim champ has 28 wins in MMA, 26 of which are finishes. Of those 26 finishes, half are submissions and half are (T)KOs.
He's a skilled, diverse striker (he out-struck Nick Diaz—who was/is considered one of the most technical boxers in MMA), as well as a competent submission fighter.
This blend of skills presents a nightmare for a weakened St-Pierre.
St-Pierre's vaunted wrestling might not be up to snuff to take Condit down. St-Pierre cannot win a striking match with Condit. If the fight comes to that, St-Pierre's face will end up being ground into the canvas by Condit's fists.
Thus, St-Pierre's best chance for victory is to employ the strategy that he used against strikers like Dan Hardy and Thiago Alves; take them down immediately and keep them there at all costs.
However, Condit has a better submission game than nearly everyone St-Pierre has fought.
What's to say that St-Pierre won't have a mental lapse due to his time away from the cage and get snared in a submission hold?
Even if St-Pierre manages to get Condit down, what if GSP's time away from the cage has somehow weakened his conditioning?
In this scenario, St-Pierre might win the first 2-3 rounds, but Condit would rally later in the fight and ultimately finish the depleted GSP.
Georges St-Pierre's run is at an end.
The cards aren't in his favor. He's rusty, his knee ligaments are a question mark and he's fighting the most complete fighter he's ever faced in his life.
This fight has all the makings of a classic "upset," although it shouldn't be surprising to anyone.
Condit isn't a fighter that GSP can just take down repeatedly or dominate on the ground. Condit isn't a fighter that GSP can just jab for five rounds.
Condit is a different animal.
He's not a one-dimensional wrestler/grappler like Koscheck, Fitch or Shields, nor is he a striker who's hapless and helpless in the wrestling department like Alves or Hardy.
Condit represents a true mixed martial artist, one that St-Pierre, in his current incarnation, isn't equipped to beat right now.
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