Can Josh Koscheck pull off the upset?
John Howard (14-5-0) vs Thiago Alves (17-7-0)
Kick-boxing fanatics rejoice. If there's one fight you shouldn't miss on the UFC 124 card, it's this one. So make sure you have your beer and nachos refilled and have taken a little trip to the boys room, because this contest will seemingly have fireworks from start to finish.
Knockout out of the night has a very high probability of coming from this duel, as both competitors are very well-versed Muay Thai kick-boxers and will be looking to knock someones head off. Especially considering the fact that both of these warriors are coming off losses.
One of them will have a little more to prove than the other. The question is, which John Howard and Thiago Alves will we see in the cage?
On Howard's side, will it be the one that knocked out Daniel Roberts or the fighter that lost to Jake Ellenberger?
Will we see the Thiago Alves that destroyed the legendary Matt Hughes or the toothless Pitbull we saw in the last two fights?
Another big issue we usually have before any of Alves' fights is concerning his weight. He's had a lot of trouble making it in the past and we can only hope this doesn't come back to haunt him.
It's no secret that Howard has excellent Muay Thai, but can it even rival the quasi-flawless technique and raw strength that Alves brings to the table?
Who you got?
The key to victory for both fighters will be to use the angles to their advantage and pick an opportune moment to blast away.
On the defensive side of things, I see the battle opening up as soon as the first hard shot is landed. Both of these fighters are usually the aggressors and once one of them smells blood, it's all she wrote.
Stefan Struve (20-4-0) vs Sean McCorkle (10-0-0)
As the old saying goes, ''fighting is 90 percent mental and 10 percent physical". Sean McCorkle is living by the old adage in the lead-up to the fight.
He's made it a point to Tweet about his opponent on the daily, openly insulting Struve for all of his follower's to see.
Worst thing is, these twit-jabs actually seem to have affected Stefan Struve. Based on the Dutchman's recent comments, it looks as though McCorkle has gotten a little under his skin.
Let's get back to what we're all waiting for, the fight.
By looking at both of these gentleman, you wouldn't be able to tell if they're associated with the UFC or the NBA considering they are both over 6'5". Based on the lead-up, I have a feeling this is another fight that will stay standing and will probably end fairly quickly.
Who you got?
McCorkle does not want to grapple with Struve. He needs to use his superior power to control him and push his back against the cage, while he looks for body shots and uppercuts. Some good ol' fashion dirty boxing from the clinch.
Struve on the other hand will have to take the fight wherever it leads him. He's proven that he's down for whatever is put in front of him. From his slug-fest with veteran Paul Buentello to his amazing come from behind win against Denis Stojnic. This young gun is always ready for a barn-burner.
Georges St-Pierre (20-2-0) vs Josh Koscheck (15-4-0)
On Saturday evening, the trash-talking comes to an end. Or does it?
The confident pugilist that is Josh Koscheck will certainly have plenty of verbal and physical blows for his opponent, when he steps into the Octagon.
Having lost to Georges St-Pierre before and coming in as the underdog, does nothing but motivate the brash American Kickboxing Academy product. His demeanor outside of the cage often resembles his attitude inside of it.
Like him or not, Koscheck has shown signs of brilliance throughout his UFC career, since joining the organization after appearing on the first season of the The Ultimate Fighter.
Showing very consistent development since his beginning as ''just'' a wrestler, Koscheck will look to follow the footsteps of teammate Cain Velasquez, who dethroned former Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar two months ago.
Can he defeat one of the best pound for pound fighters in the world? A feat that perennial pugilists B.J. Penn, Jon Fitch and Thiago Alves were not capable of accomplishing.
It looks as though the American has won the mind game battle but can he actually win the war?
In the words of UFC color commentator Joe Rogan, a ticked-off Georges St-Pierre is a dangerous mofo. Has Koscheck said enough things to cloud the Welterweight champion's judgement come fight time?
We all witnessed what GSP did to the last opponent that tried to get inside of his head. A literal destruction filled with submission attempts, double-leg take-downs and pin-point striking. Dan Hardy did not get the last word in that contest.
One of the most quintessential mixed-martial-artists in the world, St-Pierre has left his recent fights not impressed with his own performance. His last two outings could easily be tagged as ''safe'' victories for him, with both match-ups going to a unanimous decision after five rounds.
The added personal pressure of trying to finish this fight might very well lead to the French-Canadian champion's demise. Then again, he's expressed feelings of comfort when fighting with his back against the wall.
Who you got?
Josh Koscheck will get taken down, of that we are certain. The most important thing for him is to get back up on his feet and let his fists decide the outcome of the fight. Not the judges.
If Koscheck can keep pressuring St-Pierre by changing levels and assuming Octagon control for at least the opening three rounds, he could squeak out of Montreal with the title. Ultimately, leaving a trail of empty Molson Export beer cans and Lafleur hot-dogs in the process.
St-Pierre needs to tuck in that chin, keep those hands up and mix up the striking with his usually furious pace. Even if Josh Koshcheck keeps up, it won't make much of a difference since it'll be raining double-legs all evening.
What are your predictions for this week-end's fight card? Any surprising upsets lined up? Let us know by commenting right under the article! As usual, keep it respectful and clean.
Stay tuned for an aftermath analysis on Sunday December 12th. Until then, come follow me on Twitter @SupaflySteve. Don't be shy to say hello and share your thoughts about UFC 124 as it happens.