It's.....time!! So says Bruce Buffer who will be the man on the mic this Saturday night at the PPV UFC 154 Card. To help get you ready for the return of GSP and the Natural Born Killer, we've prepared a little Cliff Notes preview so you can sound more educated amongst the throngs at your MMA party.
Champ Georges St-Pierre vs. Interim Champ Carlos Condit (welterweight-title unification)
Questions swirl around GSP as he re-enters the Octagon for the first time since tearing his ACL back in 2011. But there’s no questioning that when he’s right, George St-Pierre is one of the baddest men on the planet – a JCVD clone sans stuntmen. He is quite simply the most complete fighter who has ever graced the UFC ring, and one would imagine a nice lopsided 5-round decision is in the offing for him.
But let’s not sell Carlos Condit short – or the path he took to the interim UFC Welterweight Title. The "Natural Born Killer" has that moniker for a reason - because he crushes opponents without mercy. But while Condit is a spectacular striker and submission specialist, he does struggle on the ground. So if GSP can take him down and keep him there, it looks to be a long night for Condit.
Johnny Hendricks vs. Martin Kampmann
There’s a pretty significant drop off in star power after the main event of UFC 154 – but that doesn’t mean there will be a lack of ass-kicking in the co-main event of the event. We’re talking about two of the best welterweights in the world here – both of whom are ready to begin the long road to another title shot.
Kampmann has faced numerous big names in his career, and he’s a big time roll, with two huge stoppages in his last fights. He can taste a title shot, but the only thing standing in his way is Johnny Hendricks.
Kampmann is an incredibly durable fighter who knows how to take a punch. Look for him to try and confuse Hendricks, then ground and pound him while on top. Hendricks tends to get a little too overconfidant while on his back – a fact which Kampmann may be in a position to exploit.
Hendricks is a game opponent who has beaten the always tough Jon Fitch and everyone’s favorite blond-haired boy Josh Koscheck in the span of one year. He wants to more than a "gatekeeper" for the division - he wants a title shot.
Tom Lawlor vs. Francis Carmont
Longtime devotee of the mustache, Tom Lawlor has self-promoted in ways that few other UFC fighters have. But clever walkouts and unique hairstyles don't bring home the belt, and Lawlor needs to step up his game against the likes of Carmont if he wants to make some serious hay in the middleweight division.
If you can judge a man by the company he keeps, you better watch out for Francis Carmont. He's a training partner of GSP and will be fired up fighting in front of his hometown fans. Carmont was once a light heavyweight, but seems more comfortable (and MUCH more powerful) as a big middleweight. He's got enough wins by TKO and submission to call him a diverse fighter...and a potential trap for "Filthy" Lawlor.
Constantinos Philippou vs. Nick Ring
Nick Ring was forced out of his season of The Ultimate Fighter due to injury, but one has to wonder how he would have fared had he stayed healthy. The soft spoken tough guy is a huge middleweight - and he's going to need all that size and strength on Saturday night because Constantinos Philippou is a man who likes to throw his opponent in a phone booth and then proceed to beat them to death at close range.
Yes, Philippou is a spell-check nightmare who brings pain in the ring. A former boxer, “Costa” is a devastating striker who keeps it simple – leaning on a tough left hook to get the attention of his opponents. He is a on a path of destruction, with a four fight win streak over some notable grapplers, including Ultimate Fighter winner Cort McGee.
Mark Hominick vs. Pablo Garza
Folks, what we have here is a Fight-of-the-Night candidate. Hominick, who is fighting on native soil, brings his fists and his crowd to this battle with one of the top contenders in the Featherweight division. Hominick took a quick beating from Chan Sung Jung at UFC 140, but look for a bounce back in Canada
Not many men, or any species for that matter, could go toe-to-toe with Jose Aldo for a full fight, but that’s just what Hominick did in their epic battle at UFC 129. Now, the Canadian looks to get back in the title picture by destroying the hopes and dreams of Pablo Garza - lanky featherweight who likes to use the flying knee and an assortment of long range kicks to put his opponents down.
Garza is a flashy fighter with a great ground game. This mix of styles - and the fury of the Montreal crowd - should make this a barn burner.