Everybody’s favourite fighter (at least in Canada), Georges St. Pierre, will take on a man who, to many, is the most hated, Nick Diaz, at UFC 158. The event takes place in Georges’ home town of Montreal, Quebec, Canada on March 16, 2013. At times, St. Pierre has been criticized for not finishing fights, with his last 5 wins of his 10 fight win streak coming by way of unanimous decision. Diaz on the other hand, finished 3 of 5 fights before losing to Carlos Condit at UFC 143 just over a year ago.
Will the fight even happen?
Dana White has hinted (maybe just a scare tactic) that the fight could be cancelled should Diaz continue to miss media appearances. This fight was already supposed to happen at UFC 137, before he was pulled for the exact same reason. We think Diaz will shape up and start making his required appearances, but you never know with the “Stockton Bad Boy.”
Is GSP Recovered?
St. Pierre underwent knee surgery in late 2011 to repair a torn ACL and damaged meniscus. In addition, just prior to that he had to pull out of a fight at UFC 137 with a knee sprain. While he showed against Condit at UFC 154 in a 5 round unanimous decision that the knee is not a major question mark, it will take a few more wins before we are completely convinced. Knee injuries of this type can easily be career ending so Georges fighting again at the level he is is remarkable to say the least.
How much does the hometown advantage favour St Pierre?
Generally, sleeping in your own bed and not having to travel would be considered advantages in the fight business. Alternatively, when a fighter is at home there are more distractions (family, friends, etc.), whereas a fighter on the road can get mentally focused on what they have to do in the cage. We doubt this aspect will play into the fight for Georges. He has 4 UFC wins in his hometown of Montreal and it hasn’t seemed to affect him in the past. In addition, Nick Diaz enjoys playing the villain so the roxious Montreal crowd won’t likely have much effect.
The stat line
|Stat||St Pierre (C)||Diaz|
* SLPM = Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute
** TD = Takedowns per 15 minute fight
*** TD Acc = percentage takedown accuracy
In terms of height and reach, there is not much between the two competitors. Both are in their prime, with St. Pierre at 31 years old and Diaz slightly younger at 29. When we look at the overall records though, St Pierre is nearly unblemished with just 2 losses in his entire career. Diaz on the other hand has 8 total losses. It should be noted in regards to record however, that the majority of Diaz’s losses came outside of the last 5 years. When we look at record in their last 10 fights, St Pierre has no losses and Diaz has the one against Condit. The very important distinction between the two in this area though, is that St. Pierre was either fighting for, or defending a title in 9 of the 10 fights and they happened in the UFC. Presumably, the competition that St Pierre was facing was of a much higher calibre than that which Diaz was facing.
St. Pierre has recently been a fighter who is able to win convincing decisions, but doesn’t go for the finish. This is evidenced by his 3 finishes in his last 10 wins. Prior to that though, he had 7 KOs and 3 submissions in 15 fights. A pretty impressive record in the welterweight division. Diaz is more of a finisher (or his competition is easier to finish), with 5 KOs and 3 submissions in his last 10 victories. One problem he will face with St Pierre’s technical style is that any mistakes he makes in trying to finish the fight will be capitalized on.
The in-fight stats pretty much speak for themselves. St. Pierre uses his wrestling ability (78% TD accuracy and 4 takedowns per fight) to take down and pound on his opponents. Diaz, on the other hand, prefers to stand and bang with almost double the strikes landed per minute of St. Pierre. Diaz has mastered the art of the light punch that doesn’t stop an opponent right away, but scores and beats the opponent up so they eventually cannot continue.
We believe St. Pierre has the necessary tools to take down Diaz and keep him on the ground. Diaz’s extremely high level Brazilian jiu-jitsu will allow him to avoid being submitted, but he will not be able to score points on the judges score cards. Our model agrees and has GSP as a heavy favourite over the “Stockton Bad-Boy.” At under 1.25 to 1, the odds on St Pierre aren’t the greatest, but we feel like he is enough of a favourite to make this bet worthwhile.
St Pierre over Diaz by unanimous decision. 1 unit bet at 1.23 to 1
Here are the best fight odds for UFC 158: