Written by: James Maldonado
In less than two weeks, Georges “Rush” St. Pierre (22-2 MMA, 16-2 UFC) will look to defend his 170 lb. title for the 7th straight time. Carlos “The Natural Born Killer” Condit (27-5 MMA, 4-1 UFC) is the man he must defeat in order to preserve his legacy. GSP has come under fire lately for a precieved inability to finish his opponents (9 decisions overall, 6 in his last 7), while Condit has finished 26 out of his 27 opponents. Will Condit be the man to dethrone the dominant champion? Will GSP come out and simply dominate, or will he come out looking to end the fight early? Let’s take a closer look.
Early in his career, it was easy to see that GSP was the future of the division. His striking is crazy accurate and his speed is unmatched. He built himself into a complete MMA fighter by training with high class olympic wrestlers to give himself possibly the most effective wrestling in MMA (while lacking a wrestling background), and earning his black belt in 2008. Some would say the key to being a successful wrestler/fighter in MMA is to mix your take downs with strikes, use punches and kicks to confuse the opponent and shoot for a take down when they’re expecting a strike. GSP took that concept a step further. He doesn’t necessairly just mix his strikes and take downs, he blends them. He’ll shoot for a take down while throwing a punch. He’ll throw a superman punch, followed by a kick, leading directly into a take down. He’s unpredictable, and can control where the fight takes place. In order to defeat someone like GSP, you’re going to need a miracle, or an iron will and the ability to end the fight at any time. Carlos Condit has both.
As the former (and last) WEC WW Champion, Condit came into the UFC with some momentum. His first fight was against the dutch striker Martin Kampmann, where he lost a close split decision. He followed that up with a close decision win over a strong figher in Jake Ellenberger, and then a KO sandwiched inbetween two TKOs. He has seem to found his stride and is coming off a very impressive TKO over Dong Hyun Kim. He did show some holes in his game against Rory Macdonald, who landed three of four take downs in the first round. But in the second round Condit came to life and shut down Rory’s take downs, stopping the next four. He also showed that he’s never out of the fight winning via TKO at 4:53 of round three. He also has a KO win over an opponent GSP couldn’t finish in Dan Hardy. His striking is very strong and accurate, and has strong submissions skills too (13 (T)KOS and 13 submissions). He’s a handful for any fighter to deal with, because his game plan is to finish you.
The biggest question in this fight is if Condit will be able to stop or prevent the GSP take down. Carlos has a listed take down defense of 45%, while GSP has a take down accuracy of 78%. I don’t think it’s a question of if, but a question of when. There is no question about it, GSP will be able to land take downs on Carlos. If he can’t stop the take down, he must be able prevent it. Condit has to be able to strike with GSP and strike with speed and accuracy. GSP has a statistical striking advantage, but Carlos definitely has the stronger strikes. GSP has also been stopped by strikes before, being overwhelmed by Matt Serra. In order to win, Carlos has to be able to endure the take downs, be able to get up, and land significant strikes on GSP. In order for GSP to win, he just has to be GSP. Land your strikes, work your take downs, wear down and defeat the opponent. This is a solid match up between the best fighter at WW, and the best finisher at WW.