With UFC 124 on the horizon this weekend and one of the most anticipated fights of the year, Georges St Pierre vs Josh Koscheck, now seems to be the time to offer thoughts and predictions on one of the biggest shows of the year. The GSP-Josh Koscheck is going to be one of the most intense fights and hostile environments that we will see given that it is taking place in GSP's backyard, Montreal, Canada. It should be a great night of fights, here are thoughts and predictions for UFC 124.
One of the most intense and heated seasons of The Ultimate Fighter just wrapped up and this is the culmination of that as GSP defends his welterweight title against Josh Koscheck. Koscheck has been talking a lot of trash leading up to the fight and the crowd in Montreal is going to boo him out of the building. GSP is superior to Koscheck in basically every way, so it will take the performance of a lifetime for Koscheck to score the upset victory in this fight. That's not meant as disrespect to Koscheck either, it's just a testament to GSP and his talent level.
Koscheck will need to neutralize the speed of GSP and hope that he is able to land a few hard shots early on to rattle the champion. If he does that then gets it to the ground then he will have a shot in this fight.
For GSP, he needs to use his speed and quickness in striking to get into Koscheck's head. If he can fluster the challenger it will allow him to pounce and he will retain his title.
Prediction: GSP via KO in the fourth round.
Stefan Struve is a giant bear of a man at 6'11" and his strength is his submission ability. He uses his height to gain leverage on his opponent and then locks in a submission once he gets them to the ground. He hasn't won a fight via KO or TKO in four years so if he wins he will do it on the ground.
Sean McCorkle is undefeated in his professional MMA career at 10-0, he won his UFC debut at UFC 119 back in September when he defeated Mark Hunt. His history suggests that he can win anyway, with a very even split among his victories (5 via submission, 4 via KO, 1 via decision). In his UFC debut he absolutely blitzed Mark Hunt, winning early in the first round via armbar and causing significant damage to Hunt's shoulder in the process.
Prediction: Struve via submission in the second round.
Miller is a submission specialist and has good stamina to go along with it. His cardio could be a factor that works to his benefit, as Oliveira has only had one fight go to decision and two fights in his career have gone into the third round.
Charles Oliveira is 14-0 in his MMA career and has won six of his last eight fights via submission. He has more power than Miller does and can use that to his advantage. If he can keep the fight standing up he has a great chance to move his record to 15-0.
Prediction: Oliveira in the first via KO.
An expert at the guillotine choke, Joe Stevenson will look to turn things around as he has lost 4 of his last seven fights. He needs to come out and establish his takedown game so that he can lock in that guillotine choke and come away with a victory.
Also trying to turn his luck around having lost 4 of his last 5 fights, Mac Danzig needs to use his speed and wrestling ability to drag Stevenson to the ground and use his submission skill. Very even fight between these two.
Prediction: Stevenson via decision.
Thiago Alves has fallen on some tough times, losing two fights in a row and failing to make weight in his last fight against Jon Fitch at UFC 117. He will need to use his Muay Thai skills and get things back on track. When Alves is on, he can be as good as anyone in the world. When he is not, things get ugly.
John Howard is a solid fighter who will look to move up the ranks by putting on a display against Alves. He will need to avoid Alves' superior striking ability and try to move the fight to the ground so that he can have a chance at a submission or a decision victory. If the fight stays upright Howard is in trouble.
Prediction: Alves via KO in the second.
Bocek's specialty is the rear naked choke submission hold. He will want to wrestle Hazelett to the ground and lock in his submission holds to secure the victory.
Hazelett uses the arm submissions to secure victory over his opponents. Similar styles clash in this lightweight bout. It's a question of who can get to their preferred submission hold first.
Prediction: Hazelett via armbar in the third.
Bongfeldt is making his UFC debut after fighting professionally in Canada for years. He is 21-7 in his career with 12 submission wins. He is going to try and come out and give the crowd something to cheer for right off the bat. He has KO power but is more prone to the submission hold.
Natal is making his UFC PPV debut and will like to establish himself against a fighter that is making his debut in UFC. He needs to use his Jiu-Jitsu background and fight his opponent to the ground and use his skill on the ground to get a victory.
Prediction: Bongfeldt via KO in the second.
Riddle doesn't really excel in any area. He doesn't have good power and his submission game needs work. He does have stamina going for him, having fought a full three rounds in three of his six fights. He will need to find something that works for him to get his sixth career victory.
Sean Pierson will be fighting in front of a home crowd and will be looking to make an impression with them. His strength is in his striking ability and if he can use that against Riddle he will score the victory. If he doesn't get to use his striking in this fight he could be in trouble.
Prediction: Pierson via KO in the first.
Doerksen is a submission fighter all the way, with 33 of his 46 victories via submission. He can grapple with Miller and whoever gets the takedown and establishes guard will be in the drivers seat for the victory,
Miller is a lot like Doerksen, he needs to establish his takedown game in order to set his opponent up for the submission.
Prediction: Miller via decision.
Neither fighter can do much in the way of striking, so it will be critical for them to fight on the ground and be able to establish guard. The winner will be the one that can dictate the pace of the fight.
Prediction: Almeida via decision.
Audinwood is going to win by getting you to submit or outlasting his opponent and getting the decision. In three years fighting professionally he has never gotten a knockout. He will have a cardio advantage on Makdessi having won a majority of his fights via decision, he knows how to prepare to go three rounds because he does that more often than not.
Makdessi is 7-0 with 6 KO's. A talented striker and making his UFC debut he will want to keep the fight upright and use his far superior punching and striking ability to score a victory at UFC 124.
Prediction: Makdessi via KO in the second.
Fight Of The Night: GSP vs Josh Koscheck
KO Of The Night: Thiago Alves
Submission Of The Night: Dustin Hazelett