MMA superstar Georges St. Pierre returns to defend his UFC welterweight title Saturday night in front of a hometown crowd that is expected to set the North American MMA attendance record when he meets Josh Koscheck in the main event of "UFC 124: St. Pierre vs. Koscheck."
Here's what your fearless MMA For Real prognosticators see happening Saturday night from the sold out Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec.
Matt Bishop - You notice how Georges St. Pierre tends to make world-class fighters look like amateurs? Yeah, I think that's going to happen again here. Just look at the man's hit list. He has more quality wins in his first 22 fighters than a random handful of UFC fighters have combined in their careers. Josh Koscheck is a good fighter, but he's not on St. Pierre's level. A ready-to-go GSP is a dangerous thing. And he's ready to go in this one. That spells impending doom for "Kos." St. Pierre by TKO, round 4.
Charles Walker - We've seen this fight before, but this time around there's a few things added to it. Both guys just finished coaching for TUF and we get two rounds tacked on, oh yeah, and a title is on the line. Those really are the only things that I feel will make this fight that much different from their bout at UFC 74 in '07. Yes it's been 3 years. Yes they've both improved. But no, the areas of their improvement pretty much play into the same way GSP was able to beat him the first time. GSP's wrestling, which ironically, became his bread and butter in this bout following his beatdown to Matt Serra is simply that good. Meanwhile, Koscheck is still a highly touted wrestler but the time's that he's used and done it effectively have been with guys that aren't exactly the best wrestlers (ie. Anthony Johnson, Chris Lytle). Not to mention, Kos' striking has held up against many decent strikers but whenever he's face a good striker, he's reverted to wrestle mode. Here he's outclassed on the feet and even on the mat. I can see him possibly stealing a round, if not coming out and planting GSP on his back out the gate, however I think the type of pace GSP is able to keep up and his ability to strike in and out while always threatening takedowns will wear down Koscheck. St. Pierre via fourth round TKO.
Rich Wyatt - There is nothing wrong with being one of the best welterweights in MMA. That is, however, what Josh Koscheck will have to settle for as long as GSP holds the world championship. St. Pierre has, by far, the best wrestling that I've ever seen for someone that has never officially competed in the sport of wrestling. His athleticism, ability to learn quickly, skill, toughness and conditioning make him exceptionally difficult to beat. Expect an entertaining matchup with both fighters performing well but St. Pierre catching Koscheck later in the fight. St. Pierre def. Koscheck by TKO in the 4th.
Anthony Pace - Georges St. Pierre is better at everything than Josh Koscheck, he just doesn't have as much power. If Koscheck can stop enough takedowns early to launch the overhand right, he can KO GSP. Outside of that, I think the curly-haired one gets picked apart on the feet. GSP by decision.
Matt Bishop - If you predicted at the end of 2009 that Sean McCorkle would be fighting second from the top on a UFC card in 2010, raise your hand. Seeing no hands raised, I'll admit I'm just as shocked as you are. This is an interesting fight. You can always bet on the fact that Stefan Struve will get beat on initially and, if he doesn't get finished during the initial onslaught, he'll come back to win. Can McCorkle hand it to him enough in the beginning that Struve doesn't make it to the end? Time will tell, but Struve seems to be the pick here. Struve via submission, round 2.
Charles Walker - Shows how big of a star GSP is when this is a suitable co-main event. These two behemoths will set the record for combined height in the UFC when they meet. I haven't really seen McCorkle enough to assess what he can do. Struve is huge but tends to let guys get in range of him. For that and the fact McCorkle dispatched Mark Hunt fairly easy, I'm going to McCorkle to TKO the giant in round 2.
Rich Wyatt - Although I find it odd that these two fighters are competing in such a prominent position on this card, maybe they'll put on a good show. Fans seem to enjoy seeing two large heavyweights fight and Joe Silva has given them that in this matchup. Struve has had mixed results in his UFC run thus far, but one thing observers often note is how young he is. He has already had a lot of success at a young age over in Europe and, with experience, he could end up surprising some folks over here as well. I'm not sure that Sean has beaten an opponent with a winning record yet so I'll wait until he does before I pick him. Struve def. McCorkle by submission in the 3rd round.
Anthony Pace - The fight with Mark Hunt didn't tell us anything about McCorkle since no win over Hunt really does these days. Struve uses reach and what I presume is superior grappling ability to stay out of danger and take this one when McCorkle gasses in the 2nd. Struve via Submission, Round 2
Matt Bishop - Great fight! Every now and again the UFC puts together a main card fight that really makes you go "Wow!" To me, this fight is one of them. Believe it or not, Jim Miller is 7-1 in the UFC with his only loss coming to future lightweight world champion Gray Maynard. That's impressive. Now he gets booked against the division's hottest rising star in Charles Oliveira. I like Oliveira here, but Miller is super-tough. Look for Oliveira to control both the striking and the grappling here. Oliveira by decision.
Charles Walker - Great match, Oliveira is an up and comer the UFC seem to be behind and Jim Miller is the scrappy lightweight that's right on the cusp. Perfect timing. This will tell us a lot about Oliveira as I feel his fight with Efrain Escudero really didn't show us much because of Escudero's poor game plan. Miller's going to come out the gate and just try to beat on him from start to finish. However, I think Oliveira's improved striking and slick grappling will get the job done. Oliveira via a close, contested decision win.
Rich Wyatt - Oliveira vs. Miller should be an interesting matchup. Miller is a really solid fighter, in my opinion, and Oliveira has turned lots of heads with his recent performances. Charles seems to be a fighter that pushes a quick pace and stays active no matter where the fight takes place. I foresee Jim really pushing him for a few rounds but I think that Oliveira takes this one by a narrow margin in a competitive scrap. Oliveira def. Miller by decision.
Anthony Pace - Great fight here. Jim Miller is basically a smaller version of his brother, which means he is tough as hell and will be hard to embarrass in any facet of the fight. With that said, I think Oliveira is too fast with the Muay Thai and too good with the BJJ to lose here. Oliveira by decision
Matt Bishop - Although this doesn't have the "OMG!" potential of the fight between Miller and Oliveira, Joe Stevenson and Mac Danzig should have a decent fight. The heat is on Danzig here because if he loses, he's toast. One would think this would cause him to come out and have the fight of his life. Stevenson is coming off a loss in which he was dominated, so he's going to want to win, too. Should make for an exciting affair. I think Stevenson is the better fighter, but Danzig is going to want it more. That's big. Danzig by decision.
Charles Walker - Do or die for Mac, and this will probably be the last time we see him in the octagon. Since joining Greg Jackson's camp Stevenson has looked really good, though George Sotiropolous got in his way. Danzig seems to just be good everywhere, great nowhere and while the same can be said for Stevenson, I think his grappling is better than Danzig's and Danzig never seems to get it together on the feet enough to take his opponents out. This'll be fairly one-sided I believe but no finish as Joe Daddy coasts to a decision win.
Rich Wyatt - This is a matchup that will likely determine which TUF winner stays with the UFC (or, at least, which will continue to be featured in televised fights). Stevenson always comes to fight and has better wrestling skills. For some reason, however, I like Danzig for the upset here in a surprising performance. Danzig def. Stevenson by decision.
Anthony Pace - Wow, I haven't really thought about either guy in so long, I don't know what to make of this fight. Danzig could win a decision, but I think Stevenson muscles him down in the first. Stevenson via Submission (Signature guillotine!), Round 1
Matt Bishop - This is pretty good matchmaking here. Both men are coming off losses and this is a good opponent for Thiago Alves to get back on track against. I have a feeling John Howard is going to want to prove himself and stand and trade with Alves. That, obviously, is going to be a mistake and will be his downfall. Alves by TKO, round 2.
Charles Walker - Is this fight starting the PPV? If so.....GREAT. This fight has fireworks written all over it, both guys like to stand and slug it out and that's probably what we'll see. Both come off loses as Jake Ellenberger beat Howard until his eye was hanging out and a slow-drawn Alves stumbled across the octagon while Jon Fitch beat up on him. If Alves made his weight cut without having to kill himself, he should find much success on the feet as he attacks furious and with bad intentions every time and while Howard's not horrible on the feet, he's out of his league in a pure kickboxing match with Alves. In the end, I have to go with Alves brutalizing the tough Howard for a third round TKO.
Rich Wyatt - As if the Canadian fans in attendance won't already be hyped for this show, Alves vs. Howard should leave them smiling even more. Give credit to Joe Silva for making what should be an entertaining fight for the fans and a bout that makes sense for both guys. These fighters have some similar strengths but I think that Thiago might have an edge in athleticism and he definitely has an edge in big fight experience. Sit back and enjoy. Alves def. Howard by TKO in the 3rd.
Anthony Pace - Alves kept Koscheck from taking him down and Howard isn't as good a wrestler or all-around athlete as Koscheck. This one is to get Alves back in the win column, with apologies to Howard's legs which are gonna be busted up after this one. Alves via TKO, Round 2