UFC 158 will head to Montreal, Quebec, Canada on March 16th at the Bell Centre Arena
Headlining the action is the UFC’s 170 pound championship between welterweight kingpin Georges St. Pierre and number one contender Nick Diaz, a match-up which was initially delayed by a torn ACL suffered by the champion back in 2011.
After opening as a nearly 4:1 favorite at 5dimes.com, the public has since bet the champion up a full 50 cents- where he currently sits at -470. Any type of comeback on Diaz would appear doubtful at this stage, as we can expect at a very similar closing price after weigh-ins, but we could see the UFC odds take a 20-35 cent swing in either direction.
Nick Diaz, 11-1 in his last twelve fights, which includes victories over Paul Daley, BJ Penn as well as a 5 round decision in a 2010 rematch with K.J Noons. His last match, however, was the controversial decision he dropped against Carlos Condit at UFC 143.
While I personally marginally scored that fight in Diaz’s favor, there’s no question that Condit’s circling and Leg-Jab accuracy flustered Diaz in the last three rounds of that fight. Had he been able to maintain the same aggression and poise he showed in the first two rounds, he would have effortlessly picked up a decision on the night. Instead, he allowed himself to be rattled far too easily and was forced to suffer through another infamous scoring error by the UFC judges.
GSP, meanwhile, recently returned from a year-long layoff to face Condit at UFC 154 in November, where showed up looking as good as ever after picking up a unanimous decision over the interim champion.
One thing I took from that match was how much more assertive he looked with his striking early on- clearly establishing the center of the ring and looking to target a knockout over Condit in the first two rounds. However, that quickly changed after Carlos was able to drop him with a kick in the third round, forcing St. Pierre to quickly return to implementing one of his more typically cautious game plans.
UFC Welterweight Championship Prediction
Simply put, from a stylistic perspective, Diaz is far too in over his head here against the champion.
GSP has the required conditioning to withstand Diaz’s output, the type of jab capable of keeping Diaz out of range in most of the exchanges, and an overwhelming edge in both strength and grappling control.
So what does really leave him?
Basically, his only foreseeable path to victory is hitting some type of armbar or triangle off his back, which you’d have to go back nearly 9 years to see the last time GSP was armbar-ed by Matt Hughes at UFC 150.
I guess you could say Condit’s ability to sweep GSP a few times may have shown a glimpse of hope for Diaz here, but I’ don’t think anyone would argue that Diaz’s sweeps- even if he is the superior grappler overall - aren’t quite on the level of Condit’s.
Honestly, GSP should probably be priced a lot closer to -700 in this match. For my UFC betting picks, I’ll be throwing a straight wager on the champion as well as putting a play down on the exact same prop I’ve played in nearly all of GSP’s fights over the last 3 years- GSP VIA 5 ROUND DECISION- which has cashed a total of 5 straight times in GSP’s most recent title fights dating back to 2009.
UFC Picks: Georges St-Pierre -450 @ Betdsi.com & the GSP via decision prop at 5dimes