We all want to see super fights happen. Georges St Pierre vs Anderson Silva, Jon Jones vs Anderson Silva, Benson Henderson vs Georges St Pierre, Benson Henderson vs Jose Aldo, Fedor Emelianenko vs Brock Lesnar (at least when Lesnar was the UFC champ and Fedor had yet to retire), and on and on. Super fights are very intriguing to us as fight fans because when champions become too dominant in their respective divisions like St Pierre, Silva and Aldo have and Jon Jones close to being, our interest wanes in having them continue to fight guys who are unlikely to defeat the champs. In Georges case particularly, he is a master of game planning and not taking undue risks. Against the majority of opponents he faces, this strategy allows him to win the majority of the rounds he fights, thus making him a dominant (although I would argue also boring) champion. That’s where Anderson Silva comes in.
When Silva fought Chael Sonnen in their initial match-up way back in August 2010 at UFC 117, not many people saw Chael Sonnen being able to dominate the champ over 4 rounds before he finally submitted to a triangle choke by “The Spider.” This fight showed us that if there is a hole in Silva’s game, it is being able to get up when a great wrestler is able to take him down in each and every round. It is already extremely well known that Silva is probably the best striker in mixed martial arts. Georges St Pierre on the other hand, has extremely strong wrestling and is able to stick to his game plan to a “T” during the vast majority of his fights. With all that being said, we can consider each fighter’s strengths and weaknesses.
Georges St Pierre
– Follows his game plan perfectly, doesn’t seem to get frustrated when things don’t go perfectly (i.e. unable to take Diaz down in fourth and fifth round at UFC 158 so he stood and traded punches)
– Extremely high level of wrestling (He even had thoughts of trying to wrestle in the 2012 Olympic games in London, evidenced by his 76% takedown success rate and 4.38 takedowns per fight)
– Ability to control from the top (We’ve seen it time and time again that when Georges has guys down, it is not easy for them to get up)
– Striking (We saw him get tagged a few times in his last couple fights vs Diaz and Condit. If Georges is stuck standing up with an extremely high level striker it could make for a long night for the welterweight champ)
– Lack of finishes (Because Georges avoids taking unnecessary risks in his fights in order to finish them, he gets stuck in 5 round wars. This gives a good striker 5 full rounds to land one KO shot)
– Cardio (Georges admitted in the post fight press conference at UFC 158 where he defeated Nick Diaz that he was beginning to tire in the fourth and fifth rounds. We feel this is a side affect of the knee surgery he had in December, 2011)
– Striking (Silva lands 67% of his strikes and is one of the most accurate strikers in the UFC. In addition, he generates a lot of power with his strikes evidenced by his last 4 fights being KO or TKO finishes.)
– Speed (Silva is able to make a lot of guys look silly by dropping his hands and dancing around their punches. His speed is the stuff of legends, only looking human in the aforementioned UFC 117 fight vs Sonnen)
– Jiu Jitsu (In most fights of Silva’s it’s a non-issue because he is able to dominate guys on the feet, but if push comes to shove and Silva ends up on his back, he is a black belt jiu jitsu practitioner under the Nogueira brothers.)
– Cockiness (Silva is arguably the best pound for pound fighter in the world and he knows it. At times in his fights he seemingly toys with his opponents. Versus the very best on the pound for pound list, this could cost him)
– Inability to get up from his back (The evidence we do have for this is when Chael Sonnen was able to keep him on his back for essentially 4 full rounds. Chael Sonnen is a very good wrestler, but he is not the best so a better wrestler than Chael would likely have no problem keeping Silva down.)
– Taking undue risk (Along the same lines as Silva’s cockiness is the fact that sometimes he gets frustrated in the cage. We believe that at some point in his career it could cost him because he will attempt something crazy to finish an opponent and it won’t workout well.)
Based on our perceived strengths and weaknesses of each fighter, it is obvious that we feel Georges has a huge wrestling advantage and Silva has a huge striking advantage. It is very difficult to say how the actual fight will turn out. Our prediction model has Georges St Pierre as the heavy favourite, but it is important to keep in mind that these guys fight in different weight classes so there are few common opponents and the stats are difficult to read. Based on the output of the model and the strengths listed above though, we expect Georges St Pierre to win in a 5 round decision.