The undercard fights might be underway for UFC 154, but there's still some time to lock in picks for the night's biggest matchups—including George St. Pierre's long-awaited return.
While GSP's return and Carlos Condit's first fight since his controversial win over Nick Diaz steals the spotlight, there are still plenty of intriguing fights that should make tonight's pay-per-view well worth the price of admission.
Here's a quick look at each of the main card fights that will go down on Saturday's pay-per-view broadcast. All odds courtesy of Bovada.
Mark Hominick (-300) vs. Pablo Garza (+230)
Once upon a time Mark Hominick was considered the top contender in the featherweight division. Upon coming into the UFC on a four-fight win streak he earned a title shot at Jose Aldo with a win over George Roop.
Hominick's title bid came up short in a five-round decision loss to Aldo, but he showed a ton of heart. Standing toe-to-toe with Aldo from bell to bell. He hasn't been able to capitalize on that performance though and has lost two more fights. Hominick desperately needs a win against Garza to earn some job security going forward.
Garza is a solid fighter. He has dangerous submissions and is capable of pulling off an upset, but Hominick is too talented and has too much at stake to lose this one.
Prediction: Hominick by TKO in Round 2
Rafael Dos Anjos (-210) vs. Mark Bocek (+170)
This fight has been moved to the pay-per-view card in light of Nick Ring's late withdraw from a bout with Costa Philippou. Fans should be treated to an excellent bout as these guys match up really well and should put on a good fight.
Dos Anjos comes into the game as the favorite here and is coming off of wins over Kamal Shalorus and Anthony Njokuani. Dos Anjos has an excellent submission game and striking to boot but he'll face an interesting test in Bocek.
Bocek is coming off of back-to-back wins against John Alessio and Nik Lentz. His last loss came at the hands of current lightweight champion Benson Henderson so he has experience of going against a former champ.
Dos Anjos is the more explosive of the two and will look to earn the submission victory wherever possible, but Bocek has the wrestling and cardio to make life difficult.
Prediction: Bocek by Unanimous Decision
Francis Carmont (-250) vs. Tom Lawlor (+195)
Since coming into the UFC a little over a year ago, Francis Carmont has lived up to expectations. He hasn't lost a fight since 2008 and holds three straight wins in the UFC.
His combination of striking and submissions make him a dangerous man. He's won his last two fights by rear naked choke.
Lawlor is the kind of grinder that should offer a great test for Carmont. He has the ability to suffocate opponents with wrestling and the power to test Carmont's chin if he connects.
Lawlor is an interesting play here as Carmont hasn't fought anyone with his wrestling acumen, but Carmont's jiu-jitsu could prove to be the deciding factor.
Prediction: Carmont by Submission in Round 2
Johny Hendricks (-135) vs. Martin Kampmann (+105)
Not including the title fight, this is the biggest fight of the night.
With GSP finally coming back from injury, the welterweight division can now resume forming a title picture again and both of these guys are in the thick of things.
Hendricks has been on absolute tear since losing to Rick Story in 2010. He's garnered wins over four quality opponents in Mike Pierce, Jon Fitch and Josh Koscheck.
Kampmann has made an impressive case for himself in his own right—he has netted victories over Story, Thiago Alves and Jake Ellenberger since November 2011 and continues to show he's an elite welterweight.
This is an incredibly close matchup and the winner can truly say they deserve a shot at the belt. If the fight remains standing, Kampmann's technical striking will give him an advantage. However, if Hendricks can get this to the ground, his wrestling will be the deciding factor.
Prediction: Hendricks by Unanimous Decision
Georges St. Pierre (-325) vs. Carlos Condit (+250)
This is the bout that fight fans have been awaiting for the better part of a year.
Condit drew considerable heat for his patient game plan against Nick Diaz, but we should see a return of the "Natural Born Killer" against St. Pierre. Despite the complaints about Condit's approach to the Diaz fight, 26 wins by submission or knockout says that he's a finisher.
When GSP returns to the octagon, it'll be the first time fans have seen the champion fight in more than a year. He'll be making his return from a serious knee injury that required him to have the knee reconstructed.
With St. Pierre's work ethic, it's perfectly reasonable to believe that we will see the same GSP we are used to seeing. However, Condit is the kind of fighter that can bring the fight to St. Pierre and put him on the defensive.
St. Pierre is a sizable favorite but Condit's explosive striking and finishing ability make him dangerous enough to pull off the upset.
Prediction: Condit by KO in Round 4
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