UFC 154: November 17, 2012 Montreal, Quebec, Canada UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre (-315) Profile: Without a doubt one of the greatest fighters in the history the MMA, Georges St-Pierre (22-2) has been virtually untouchable in the welterweight division for the better part of the last decade. He’s currently defended his welterweight title six straight times – second only to middleweight champ Anderson Silva – and has dominated nearly every fight he’s been in since 2007. He takes his training to another level, surrounds himself with the best coaches and is an unbelievable athlete. GSP has cardio for days and is technically a phenomenal boxer and wrestler. He can stifle his opponents with a smothering ground game or keep the fight standing and in his favor. The only two smudges on GSP’s stellar resume came via a shocking loss to Matt Serra in 2007 and the first setback of his career against Matt Hughes for the welterweight title back in 2004. As of late, GSP has taken heat for his inability or possible reluctance to finish his opponents in the Octagon, as if he’s playing it safe. These statements are somewhat unfounded since he broke Josh Koscheck’s orbital bone in a bludgeoning performance and nearly yanked Dan Hardy’s arm out of the socket in their respective fights. However, GSP himself has been recovering from a torn ACL in his right knee that has kept him out of action since April of 2011. UFC Interim Welterweight Champion Carlos Condit (+225) Profile: Interim UFC welterweight champion Carlos Condit (28-5) has been primed for this top spot in the hierarchy of MMA for years. He’s defeated a who’s who of welterweight studs, including Nick Diaz, Dan Hardy, Rory MacDonald, and many more. His nickname “The Natural Born Killer” could not be more appropriate. In his 28 wins, he’s finished 26 of his opponents, with only Nick Diaz and Jake Ellenberger left standing in front of him. Everyone else, however, has fallen victim to Condit’s wide variety of striking and solid Jackson/Winklejohn-trained ground game. You never know where he’s coming from, and he has a bottomless gas tank. Condit can knock you out or submit you with ease – he is the complete package and one of the toughest tests GSP has ever faced. Opening UFC 154 Odds Analysis: MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas made St-Pierre a solid -315 favorite (bet $315 to win $100) while Condit opened as a +225 underdog (bet $100 to win $225) according to the MMA odds. Condit has earned the opportunity to play spoiler for the second time in a row and unify the UFC welterweight title in what should be a very hostile environment in GSP’s hometown. UFC president Dana White was hoping for a Nick Diaz victory vs. Condit and now needs GSP to win in order to keep his dream of a superfight against Silva alive. Condit would love nothing more than to ruin White’s master plan but will need to have the fight of his life to beat GSP. The biggest question mark for GSP is, how will he perform in his first bout following knee surgery? If the fight stays on the feet, can GSP’s knee hold up against Condit’s relentless pressure? Nobody knows the answer to that, but the longer it goes, the more a decision would seem to favor Condit if he follows the same strategy that helped him defeat Diaz. These are two of the most cerebral fighters in the UFC though, and bettors will see each of them try to score points in a variety of ways in an effort to impress the judges. Condit has gone into the third round or longer in five of his last seven bouts and learned how patience can pay off after all of his first 17 fights ended in the first. Meanwhile, St-Pierre’s past four wins have all resulted in unanimous decisions, so he knows a thing or two about how to grind out a victory. Condit backers can argue that he holds value in what could be an extremely close bout. Those who bet GSP also probably think they are laying a bargain price for a champion of his caliber. GSP has had more than enough time to recover and should be primed to show his fans that he is more than alive and well and ready for a bigger challenge.