It has been 19 months now since the all conquering welterweight champion Georges “Rush” St Pierre has stepped inside the octagon. A serious ACL injury suffered after his win over Jake Shields resulted in clashes with Nick Diaz and Carlos Condit being cancelled and the upper end of the division has been in a state of limbo since.
Instead of fighting the champion those two top contenders met for the interim title back in February with Condit earning a convincing points victory to earn the interim welterweight title. Since then he has turned down a number of fights rather than risk losing his shot against one of MMA’s best fighter and biggest stars. The challenger knows that a win tonight will move him to a new level. A level which brings greater fame and fortune. With the emphasis on the fortune.
The odds are very much in GSP’s favour for this fight in his home district of Quebec, Canada with the champion priced at 3/10 to win. He is unbeaten in over five years and the only two defeats he has suffered in his 24 fight career, Matt Hughes and Matt Serra, have been resoundingly avenged.
GSP is the epitome of being well-rounded and has very few weaknesses in his game. However he has been out for a long time and ring rust, or octagon rust, could be an issue. He will also need to take more chances than he has done in his recent fights. After losing being knocked out Matt Serra, the champion became noticeably conservative and took to grinding out points victories. Five of his last six fights have gone the distance. The time away from the sport appears to have reignited his passion for MMA and I suspect that we are going to see the best GSP there’s ever been in the octagon. Anything less and we could be in for a shock.
Condit isn’t simply a warm-up for the proposed super-fight with middleweight champion Anderson Silva. The American challenger is a very dangerous opponent. A former WEC welterweight champion, Condit has lost just once in his last fourteen fights and that was a contentious split decision defeat to the under-rated Martin Kampmann in his UFC debut. Since then he has bounced back with five straight wins against the best a brightest in the division.
Just like GSP Condit is a threat everywhere and of his 28 wins from 33 fights, 13 have been ended by a KO and 13 by a submission. His heavy hands and the fact that he has never been stopped by strikes could lead GSP to use his superior wrestling ability to take the fight to the ground. Three of Condit’s five losses have come by submission so this looks like a smart tactic. Condit knows how to submit an opponent too so this could be how an early finish is brought about.
Carlos Condit to win by KO: 5/1
Carlos Condit to win by submission: 14/1
Carlos Condit to win on points: 7/1
Given the abilities of both men this is almost certain to be a great fight and on paper at least is potentially the fight of the year. A lot will depend on how well GSP has rehabed. If he’s 100% the he will beat Carlos Condit. 99% or lower and we could have a new undisputed UFC welterweight champion in the early hours of Sunday morning.