UFC 154 Betting Notes
November 16, 2012
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Georges St-Pierre (22-2) vs. Carlos Condit (28-5)
Sportsbook.ag Line: St-Pierre -300, Condit +240
Welcome back Georges St-Pierre. After a long hiatus, the welterweight champ will look to reclaim his throne from interim champ Carlos Condit as the headline bout on UFC 154's main card Saturday night in Montreal.
St-Pierre first won the belt in 2007 in an interim capacity from Matt Hughes and won it outright against Matt Serra just four months later. Since then, he has defended it successfully six times against all the top welterweights, but he has not fought since April 30, 2011 as he has recovered from knee surgery. In the meantime, Carlos Condit earned the interim belt from Nick Diaz in February. The former WEC welterweight champ has now won five fights in a row after losing his first UFC bout to Martin Kampmann. It is difficult to bet against St-Pierre in any capacity as one of the best ever to take the Octagon. But he enters this bout as the heavy chalk, and it is always dangerous to bet on somebody coming off a long layoff, particularly somebody recovering from an injury. And Condit has proven himself against the UFC welterweight elite over the past year and is well worthy of his chance here.
St-Pierre is such a difficult foe because of the variety in his game. Of his 22 career wins, eight are knockouts, five are submissions and nine are decisions. His supreme athleticism and tactical discipline allows him to pounce on any mistake by an opponent. And if this fight goes to the final bell, the 31-year-old is likely to be the winner, as each of his past four fights have been unanimous decision victories. The Montreal native will be fighting in front of a supportive crowd here, but it remains to be seen how he has kept in shape during the layoff and if the rust will lead to his downfall on Saturday.
Unlike St-Pierre, the 28-year-old Condit vastly prefers to end a fight early. Of his 28 career wins, 13 are knockouts, 13 are submissions while just two are decisions. It's worth noting, though, that one of those two decisions was against Diaz nine months ago. Prior to that, he earned three consecutive knockouts, something he will be capable of here with his elite striking power. At 6-foot-2, he has a three-inch height advantage and that should aid him as he seeks his moment to pounce for a striking barrage.
Martin Kampmann (20-5) vs. Johny Hendricks (13-1)
Sportsbook.ag Line: Hendricks -160, Kampmann +13
In a potential eliminator bout for the chance to battle the winner of St-Pierre/Condit for the welterweight belt, Martin Kampmann and Johny Hendricks fight on the main card at UFC 154 on Saturday night.
Hendricks enters this fight as a slight favorite but still with a chip on his shoulder-he thought his previous win against Josh Koscheck in May was the one he needed for a chance at the welterweight crown, but here he is instead. Including that split decision, Hendricks has won four fights in a row, two via decision and two via knockout that lasted a combined 1:47. Prior to that, he lost in a decision to Rick Story. Kampmann has won three fights in a row over Story, Thiago Alves and Jake Ellenberger by decision, submission and KO, respectively. He also beat Condit in 2009, who is now fighting for the welterweight crown on this same card. Between that and the June victory against Ellenberger, Kampmann has shown he can beat top foes, while he owns a key victory against their most recent mutual opponent, Story, as well.
"The Hitman" Kampmann has won three in a row since a two-fight losing skid, falling to top-notch contenders Diego Sanchez and Jake Shields in those two bouts, both via decision. The former middleweight has extreme power with eight career knockouts, but he also has a refined Jiu-Jitsu attack that makes him very comfortable taking things to the ground. That skill will be very important going against Hendricks' takedown style. The 30-year-old Kampmann is also a strong defender and at 6-foot-0, he owns a 3-inch height advantage here.
"Bigg Rigg" Hendricks is coming off a narrow split-decision victory against Koscheck that many thought would launch him to the title fight, but UFC president Dana White had other plans. That was a key win for Hendricks, but he still has time to prove that he can hang with the best-Kampmann has a few more losses on his resume, but he has also beaten more top contenders. The 29-year-old Hendricks is a wrestler by trade and aims to take his opponents down, bringing them to a position where his small frame can become an advantage, not disadvantage. Of his 13 career wins, seven are knockouts and five are decisions. He doesn't have the same defensive consistency as Kampmann, so he will need to earn a key takedown early to make sure he can win this before the final bell.