UFC 158: St-Pierre vs. Diaz Saturday, March 16 – 11:30 p.m. ET
Bell Centre – Montreal, Canada
Georges St-Pierre (23-2) vs. Nick Diaz (27-8-1) Welterweight bout
Line: St-Pierre -450, Diaz +350
After a long wait, Nick Diaz will finally get his shot at Georges St-Pierre and the welterweight crown as the headline bout on UFC 158 on Saturday night in Montreal.
It had appeared these two would clash many times before, but it never came to fruition. Diaz last fought for the interim welterweight belt against Carlos Condit on Feb. 4, 2012. Diaz lost via unanimous decision, taking some of the anticipation out of this bout that was once among the most highly-anticipated in the sport. St-Pierre last fought in November of last year, beating Condit by unanimous decision, and defending his title for the seventh time. St-Pierre has had no trouble making easy work of every top welterweight in UFC, and this should be no different against an opponent who lost to the man St-Pierre most recently beat. Take heavily-favored ST-PIERRE to defend his crown on Saturday.
What makes St-Pierre so unstoppable is that he is so well-rounded and adept at defending. Condit went for a number of submissions against him, but was ultimately just punished with furious strikes and counter attacks. As such a talented fighter, he has no problem letting the judges call the fight, with 10 career decision victories, including his last five all by unanimous decision. Prior to that, he TKO-ed BJ Penn in his second defense of his belt in January 2009. The 31-year-old St-Pierre a talented wrestler who can control fights with his takedowns, but he is also a tremendous boxer and Jiu-Jitsu artist, covering nearly every facet of the game. If he has a weakness, opponents haven’t found it yet—Diaz should be no different.
Before Diaz loss to Condit, he had won 11 in a row, mostly in Strikeforce, where he rose to be the welterweight champ. Condit was his second fight since returning to UFC. Before that, he earned a unanimous decision against Penn. The 29-year-old Diaz might have more raw power than St-Pierre, with 13 knockouts. At 6-foot-0, he also owns a one-inch height advantage over his Saturday opponent. Diaz will need to exploit that, and hope his boxing skills can help him land one big blow. Otherwise, he is doomed to get outworked over the course of a grueling five-round fight, so he can’t afford to let this go the distance.