UFC 158 goes down in Montreal, Canada on Saturday night and we’ve got our full predictions for all the fights on the card for you below.
Georges St-Pierre vs. Nick Diaz
The build-up to this long-awaited fight has been great, but it’s done little to change my mind on how I think this one will go. As much as it would be fun to envisage a stand-up war between them with Diaz pushing the action with rapid-fire combos and St.Pierre utilizing movement and speed, working behind the jab and threatening with kicks, I just don’t see it playing out like that.
GSP’s smart and will be well aware that the big difference between them is his wrestling. The takedown shouldn’t be much of a problem for him. From there, Diaz is a submission specialist and will be a danger from his back, but St.Pierre is vastly experienced and knows how to shut down an opponents offense when he’s on top.
I don’t see GSP going for submissions of his own, he’ll want to hurt Diaz and the way to do that will be picking his moments for ground and pound. He’s too careful and cautious to go all out for the finish though, and he’d need to do that if he wanted to put a die-hard competitor like Diaz.
Diaz’s excellent cardio means he’ll fight right up until the final bell, but I think that at the end of five rounds there’ll be no doubt who’s won this one.
GSP to win by decision.
Carlos Condit vs. Johny Hendricks
This is a very intriguing fight. Condit has more flair and creativity than Hendricks along with being a threat both standing and with submission and possessing a very good gas tank. On the other hand Hendricks has legit one-punch knockout power, a clear wrestling advantage and is the stronger of the two men.
Hendricks is also riding a real wave of momentum thanks to some impressive finishes of late so his confidence will be high heading into this one. I expect Condit will utilize a similar strategy to the one he employed against Diaz, presenting a constantly moving target for his opponent and picking his moments to score points and then get back out of danger.
The unfortunate part about that is it takes away a lot of what’s made Condit great in the past – his dynamism and willingness to mix it up in unpredictable fashion in the Octagon. Unlike Diaz, I don’t think Hendricks will persist trying to chase him down with punches all night and will instead head for plan B – to outwrestle him instead, and I think that will prove to be his key to victory here.
Johny Hendricks to win by decision.
Jake Ellenberger vs. Nate Marquardt
Another interesting welterweight match-up here between two fighters keen to push themselves into the title hunt in the division.
These two are reasonably evenly matched, but I’d perhaps give a slight edge to Ellenberger in terms of punching power and wrestling, while Marquardt’s perhaps a little more versatile overall.
The question here is which version of Marquardt shows up? The last year has been a bit of mess for him after getting kicked out of the UFC for high levels of TRT, then sitting on the sidelines for a long time without a fight, then briefly enjoying a return to form claiming the Strikeforce 170lb title and finally putting in a lackluster showing to lose that title at the start of the year.
Perhaps we’ll see a newly inspired version of Marquardt now that he’s back in the UFC, but there’s no guarantees and I think he has to be at his best to beat a solid fighter like Ellenberger. Primarily for that reason I’m going with Ellenberger here by decision.
Jake Ellenberger to win by decision.
Chris Camozzi vs. Nick Ring
For me Ring has been riding his luck a bit during his 3-1 run in the UFC to date. He’s a reasonably well-rounded fighter, but hasn’t found that extra gear that would set him up to be something more than just another middle-of-the-road member of the middleweight division.
To be fair Camozzi hasn’t exactly set the Octagon on fire either, but I see a little more upside to his striking game and I think he’ll be the aggressor in this match-up.
On the other hand, Ring probably has the advantage on the gound and may look for a few takedowns to even the score here. With that in mind it looks like being a fairly close fight and we’re probably heading to another decision with Camozzi’s more aggressive approach helping him scrape to a win.
Chris Camozzi to win by decision.
Mike Ricci vs. Colin Fletcher
Fletcher is lanky for the lightweight division at 6ft 2″ and does his best to utilize that advantage with frequent kicks, but I’ve not been overly impressed with him so far and it’s a bit of a surprise to see him on the main card.
Ricci is tall for the division too at 6ft so that nullifies one of Fletcher’s potential advantages and he’s also quicker on his feet and so I see him being able to get inside Fletcher’s kicks and scoring takedowns fairly easily.
Fletcher has a submission threat that Ricci will have to be wary of, but I think he’ll be smart enough to steer clear of those and will grind him down with ground and pound to secure a late TKO stoppage.
Mike Ricci to win by TKO in Rd3.
Patrick Cote vs. Bobby Voelker
Darren Elkins vs. Antonio Carvalho
Dan Miller vs. Jordan Mein
Daron Cruickshank vs. John Makdessi
Rick Story vs. Quinn Mulhern
T.J. Dillashaw vs. Issei Tamura
George Roop vs. Reuben Duran