3 Reasons Georges St-Pierre Will Defeat Nick Diaz at UFC 158
Genuine animosity between opponents typically creates a captivating and enthralling fight.
But when hostility boils over between a pair of polarizing figures like Georges St-Pierre and Nick Diaz, the notion of settling the score becomes downright tantalizing.
The former Strikeforce champ began his verbal crusade against "GSP" after pummeling B.J. Penn to win his 11th straight fight at UFC 137. There, at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, Diaz used his linguistic talents to not only embarrass the longtime welterweight champion, but to bait St-Pierre into eventually accepting the most significant fight of his career.
The ploy worked marvelously for Diaz, and following GSP's win over Carlos Condit at UFC 154, "Rush" announced his desire to put "The Stockton Bad Boy" in his place.
When the dust settled, both fighters were granted their respective wishes. And although Diaz certainly appears more than willing to talk a strong game, it seems like a long shot that he possesses the ingredients to knock off GSP, a man who hasn't tasted defeat since being finished by Matt Serra at UFC 69 in 2007.
Here's a look at three reasons St-Pierre, deemed a 5-to-1 favorite (-500) by Bodog.net, will defeat Diaz to defend his welterweight strap for the ninth straight time.
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The rebirth of St-Pierre may not have come to fruition without the presence of diabolical Tristar Gym head trainer Firas Zahabi.
GSP had already befriended Zahabi before surrendering his welterweight belt to Serra. After the loss, however, St-Pierre decided to alter his preparation rituals, giving Zahabi carte blanche to run the show.
St-Pierre has since made his decision to link up with Zahabi look ingenious by reeling off 10 straight wins, nine of which came in title fights.
Not only has Zahabi helped St-Pierre improve upon his physiological game, he's also aided his psychological health and morphed him into one of the world's toughest fighters to game-plan against.
Using Zahabi's wisdom, GSP plots out nearly every move he intends to make in the Octagon in his training camps, and then routinely implements his strategies with uncanny precision on fight nights.
Granted, Cesar Gracie has made a living formulating winning game plans in the UFC. However, with the exception of Gilbert Melendez's win over Josh Thomson in Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Cormier, Gracie has watched Jake Shields, Nick Diaz and Nate Diaz all fall in recent title fights under his watch.
Strength and Speed
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Both men are notoriously hard workers, but in terms of pure athletic prowess, GSP definitely trumps Diaz in both the strength and speed categories.
If you don't believe that assumption, do some research on St-Pierre's extraordinary performance on ESPN's Sport Science, which aired before his fight with Shields at UFC 129.
St-Pierre astoundingly delivered a punch that generated 2,859 pounds of force. Rush then threw a kick that produced an even more impressive 3,377 pounds of force.
To put St-Pierre's tremendous striking power into perspective, compare his numbers to the hardest kick thrown by former light heavyweight champ Mauricio Rua (2,749) and the strongest punch fired by heavyweight kingpin Cain Velasquez (2,230).
GSP also put his incredible speed on display when executed a blast double-leg takedown on a grappling dummy. St-Pierre amazingly created 2,400 watts of power while completing the takedown in just 1.17 seconds.
Diaz may have similar boxing chops and a sturdier chin than GSP, but The Stockton Bad Boy definitely pales in comparison to Rush in terms of sheer athletic dexterity.
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Definitely the most obvious and glaring advantage he holds over the challenger, GSP won't stray from his usual routine of employing a wrestle-heavy style to dictate the pace of this fight.
St-Pierre has few holes in his wrestling repertoire, but he'll most likely rely on his trusty blast double-leg to repeatedly ground and control the volatile Diaz.
Although he's only finished one of his last seven opponents, St-Pierre's encountered few issues in enacting his brand of conservative ground-and-pound, especially when it comes to the grounding.
In his last seven outings, Rush has racked up an astonishing 45 takedowns and surrendered just one, briefly getting flattened near the end of the first round against Josh Koscheck at UFC 124.
Diaz has allowed just three takedowns in his last six fights, but an aging Hayato Sakurai marked the most skilled wrestler the Californian locked horns with in that time frame.
If GSP can direct the flow of his fights against top-flight wrestlers like Koscheck, Shields and Jon Fitch, then he'll easily manage to ground, control and rough up an inferior wrestler like Diaz.