When Georges St. Pierre faces off with Carlos Condit in the UFC 154 headliner at the Bell Centre in Montreal on Saturday night, it will have been 567 days since the welterweight champion last set foot in the Octagon. A return to peak form following knee surgery will be key to St. Pierre’s success as he takes on a hungry and talented adversary. Players in Sherdog.com’s MMA Pick ‘Em fantasy game have faith in St.Pierre: 80 percent are siding with “Rush” as he attempts to reclaim his place at the top of the 170-pound mountain.
The 31-year-old Canadian is widely recognized as one of the best mixed martial artists of all time. During his current nine-fight winning streak, St. Pierre has bested the likes of Josh Koscheck (twice), Jon Fitch, B.J. Penn, Thiago Alves and Jake Shields, to name a few. The Tristar Gym representative has gone the distance in five of his last six title defenses.
Condit, meanwhile, captured the interim welterweight crown with a five-round verdict over former Strikeforce champion Nick Diaz at UFC 143 in February. Anchored at Jackson’s Mixed Martial Arts, “The Natural Born Killer” has finished 26 of his 28 victories by way of knockout or submission. Condit also owns notable wins over Jake Ellenberger, Rory MacDonald, Dan Hardy, Dong Hyun Kim during his UFC tenure.
The evening’s co-main event between Martin Kampmann and Johny Hendricks may very well decide the welterweight division’s next No. 1 contender. Participants in the Pick ‘Em game are torn between the two fighters, with 51 percent giving Kampmann a slight nod in a pivotal clash.
The 30-year-old Dane has long been one of the UFC’s underrated talents. Recently, Kampmann has displayed plenty of toughness and resilience in rallying for victories over Ellenberger and Alves in his last two appearances. Additionally, “The Hitman” owns significant triumphs over Condit, Rick Story, Paulo Thiago, Jacob Volkmann and Jorge Rivera in his UFC career.
Hendricks stepped into the spotlight at UFC 141, when he stunned the MMA world by knocking out the durable Jon Fitch in just 12 seconds. He followed that effort with a hard-fought split decision win over Koscheck in May, cementing his status as one of the division’s foremost contenders.
Other Pick ‘Em Trends for the UFC 154 main card include:
The majority of users (79 percent) favor St. Pierre training partner Francis Carmont to get the best of Tom Lawlor in a middleweight tilt. Carmont carries an eight-fight winning streak into the bout, while Lawlor has lost three of five.
Serra-Longo Fight Team export Constantinos Philippou has established himself as a formidable striker during his time in the promotion, and Pick ‘Em players have taken notice, as 81 percent like him to get the best of Canadian Nick Ring in a 185-pound conflict.
Former featherweight title challenger Mark Hominick is looking to end a three-fight skid against submission specialist Pablo Garza. “The Machine” has fallen to Eddie Yagin, Chan Sung Jung and Jose Aldo in his last three outings. Still a whopping 89 percent of Pick ‘Em competitors believe the Canadian will prevail against Garza.
In preliminary bouts, players favor Patrick Cote (85 percent) over Alessio Sakara, Cyrille Diabate (56 percent) over Chad Griggs, Mark Bocek (72 percent) over Rafael dos Anjos, Sam Stout (94 percent) over John Makdessi, Antonio Carvalho (84 percent) over Rodrigo Damm, Matt Riddle (75 percent) over John Maguire, Ivan Menjivar (91 percent) over Azamat Gashimov and Steven Siler (67 percent) over Darren Elkins.