Pros Pick: St. Pierre vs. Diaz

By: Mike Sloan
Mar 13, 2013
Georges St. Pierre’s last five fights have reached the judges. | Al Bello/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

For nearly five years, the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s welterweight division has remained under the rule of one man: Georges St. Pierre.

St. Pierre will defend his 170-pound title against former Strikeforce champion Nick Diaz in the UFC 158 main event on Saturday at the Bell Centre in Montreal. The 31-year-old St. Pierre has won his last 10 fights, establishing himself as one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the sport. Diaz, 29, has posted 11 victories in his past 12 appearances. touched base with a number of professional fighters and trainers to gauge their opinions on the UFC 158 co-headliner:

Chris Clements: GSP wins by decision. I think he is too strong for Diaz and will out-wrestle Nick. Their Brazilian jiu-jitsu will cancel each other’s out.

Danillo Villefort: I’d like to see Diaz winning this fight. I like his style and he fights with his heart, but GSP has the ability to control where the fight goes -- he is such a great athlete -- so I believe he will win another fight by decision again.

Jason High: This is an easy one for me. Unless Diaz has made drastic changes to his footwork and improved his wrestling, I see GSP jabbing to set up takedowns, punching and passing and maybe looking for submissions; rinse, repeat. Not an easy fight by any means but one GSP should win unless he chooses to fight Nick’s fight.

Igor Araujo: I’m curious to see how Diaz will deal with his back on the ground. I know he’s got very good Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and I think he will need it, because GSP will take the fight to the ground like he always does. If Diaz keeps it standing, he will get it by knockout, but I don’t think he can defend those takedowns for five rounds, so I go with GSP by decision.

Javier Vazquez: Although an exciting fight to market and build towards, I don’t think it will be competitive in the Octagon. Diaz needs to overwhelm GSP with strikes. He doesn’t have that one-punch knockout power. He will have to do it with volume while staying on his feet. The problem is, when GSP wants to take you down, he does. GSP on the other hand has a clear road to victory. He needs to take Diaz down, control him for five rounds and avoid being submitted. It seems to be the most logical way to victory for GSP, and it’s the safest. Although a win by Diaz would be exciting and would drive the UFC nuts, I see GSP winning at least four of five rounds en route to a 49-46 or 50-45 victory.

File Photo

Diaz is a polarizing figure.
Travis Wiuff: Hard to bet against GSP. I like Diaz and his style of fighting, but I think GSP wins a five-round decision with his takedowns and top control.

Nam Phan: I’ve got to go with my man Nick.

Mark Bocek: GSP wins by decision.

Eric Prindle: GSP all the way.

Robert Drysdale: GSP wins.

Travis Lutter: GSP-Diaz should be a fun fight to watch. I really think GSP will win this one. Diaz is always dangerous with a possible knockout or submission, but GSP hasn’t been submitted since UFC 50. So if I was placing a bet, I would bet on GSP.

John Gunderson: I would love for Diaz to win. Diaz is one of the most entertaining fighters in the sport, but GSP knows how to control fights and is the best chain wrestler in MMA. GSP wins by decision.

Mitch Clarke: GSP wins a unanimous decision by takedown and control for five rounds.

Spencer Fisher: Georges is more athletic and explosive, but Nick has a tough style to deal with and is aggressive off of his back. Nick typically doesn’t go backwards, and Georges is great with his wrestling. It’s just going to come down to who is going to be able to employ their will.

Jeff Hougland: I hope Diaz wins because I like watching his style of fighting more than GSP. Plus, I think it would be cool to see the division shook up.

Steven Siler: Diaz’s takedown defense isn’t good, and I think GSP will avoid the subs for a decision win.

J.J. Ambrose: I’d love to see Diaz win just to shake things up a bit, but I have GSP doing his thing. He wins by unanimous decision.

Zach Makovsky: Diaz’s best weapon is his pressure and volume striking. He wears people out by making them constantly react to him, but GSP is too smart and won’t let Diaz control the pace. GSP will pick Diaz apart with speed and kicks, and when Diaz does apply enough pressure, Georges will plant him on his back. GSP wins the fight in all areas and gets the W.

Caros Fodor: As much as I want Diaz to win, I think GSP will get a decision. GSP is too smart to box with him and has the ability to get takedowns and score points, so I’m going to go with him.

Jason Dent: St. Pierre is too smart, to talented, too fast, too strong, too experienced and I believe it will be his night. I’m a fan of Diaz inside the cage when it comes to his skills, but I’m a fan of St. Pierre in and out of the cage, as he represents our sport the way it should be represented.

Mike Ciesnolevicz: GSP will win his sixth straight decision here. The hype for this fight is better than the actual fight will be. I see GSP using his wrestling and athleticism to control Diaz. GSP is great at what he does, but, unfortunately, he is not very fan friendly as a fighter. Most wrestling matches are usually six to seven minutes for a reason. Nobody really wants to see 25 minutes straight of it. It would be nice to see GSP try to finish, but he will ride out the unanimous decision once again. GSP is consistently ranked in the top three pound-for-pound of the sport, yet he hasn’t finished a fight in four or five years, which is very strange to me.

Joe Duarte: Everybody loves Raymond, except Diaz. Diaz wins by submission.

Gabe Ruediger: Although I’m hoping that Nick will get the fight he wants and is able to change the outcome, I see another five rounds of GSP getting a takedown, getting to half guard, rinse and repeat. He will then apologize for his performance and tell his fans that next time will be different -- again.

Ben Saunders: GSP wins by lay-and-pray, but Diaz might be able to tag him up on the feet a bit and work a tricky ground game. I’m rooting for Diaz, as I love his style, aggression and overall attitude about fighting, but GSP is GSP, with a pound-for-pound skillset that can be unquestioned. If GSP uses his kicks well, particularly his low kicks, it will help him in the standup game extensively.

Ricardo Liborio: I’m a big Diaz fan, but I think that this will be a hard matchup for him. GSP wins by decision.

Tom DeBlass: St. Pierre will grind out a decision.

Ramsey Nijem: This is a hard one because I’m a huge Nick fan. I think it’s going to be a war, and if GSP comes to knock Nick out, I think Nick will win that fight. GSP is smart and near impossible [to stop with] his wrestling, so I think GSP wins in a decision.

Michael Chiesa: This is a very interesting fight. GSP has showed nothing shy of domination since he lost the title to Matt Serra. Condit definitely gave him some problems after the third round. Ring rust may have been a factor. Nick is a guy that’s going to show up and bring it every single time. If you try to fight Nick, you'll lose, but if you try to outpoint him, it’s a different story, only because judges have some unspoken vendetta with the Diaz boys. Tough one to call, but I'm taking Diaz just because Georges is going to try to fight him instead of play the points game.

Brock Jardine: Every time I think GSP is going to lose, he comes out and proves me wrong, so I'm going with GSP on this one.

Andy Ogle: GSP wins by decision.

Kyle Kingsbury: I like GSP by ground-n-pound.

John Hackleman: I think Nick is probably the most exciting and skilled fighter on the planet. I think GSP is one of the most technically proficient and skilled fighters on the planet. I think it is a very interesting match up, with the potential to be the greatest fight ever if Nick dictates the pace, with the edge in a very exciting brawl going to Nick. However I feel if GSP dictates the pace it might be a lot more slow-paced, and technical with the edge going to GSP. Either way I feel it will be a very exciting, and entertaining match.

Vitor Vianna: GSP [is] going to smash [Diaz] like Benson Henderson did against Nate Diaz.

Pros Picking St. Pierre: 27
Pros Picking Diaz: 3
No Pick: 3

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