Hardy's 'puncher's chance' won't be enough against GSP at UFC 111
Never again. If his loss to
Hardy, of course, faces his own realities Saturday in Newark, N.J., when the 27-year-old from Nottingham, East Midlands, England, steps into the cage against the UFC welterweight champion inside a sold-out Prudential Center.
How, many have wondered, can a fighter without a discernible wrestling pedigree handle an opponent that dominates every wrestler he faces?
Hardy punches hard, and always comes to fight, but if he can't stay on his feet long enough to do so, then what?
That's the basic point of the fight. St. Pierre can, and probably will, indulge Hardy on the feet. The corporation known as G.S.P. mixes up his game as well as anyone. He uses his jab better than most. He changes levels and attacks all parts of the body. And he delivers with enough power to end a fight, just ask
From his back, Hardy needs to employ an offensive guard and, having trained for several years with
Essentially, Hardy is undefeated over 13 fights the past three and a half years (a disqualification loss in Japan in a bout he was winning actually led him to sign with the UFC). Though St. Pierre, 28, painted "The Outlaw" as something other than a martial artist, that seems to be exactly who he is. It's one thing to pay dues at your local McDojo. Hardy, when he was 20, lived on a Chinese Shaolin monk commune for two months. He's always been a nomad about his martial arts, that's how he found Bravo, the creator of 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu, in Los Angeles.
I don't doubt that he's skilled and experienced enough to have this fight right now. But St. Pierre is simply too good. He's the better athlete. He's the better fighter. Hardy (23-6, 1 NC) will come to that realization sometime around the second or third round, when everything he wants to do he can't.
One is a two-time UFC heavyweight champion. The other, undefeated, seems to be a man in a hurry.
Cutting weight to make 265 pounds, Carwin, a former collegiate wrestler carved out of granite, is part of the reason Mir (13-4) has added so much size since last summer. This is a real test of Mir's mission to gain strength and explosiveness in the Lesnar era, though it's not like in his "smaller" days Mir wasn't pretty rough. While he's one of the most violent submission fighters in the history of MMA's heavyweight division, he can't afford to wrestle Carwin too much. Grappling is the fastest way to challenge your fitness, and at a minimum trading takedown attempts will activate all that new muscle Mir carries around. If he wants Carwin on the floor, the Las Vegan, a 15-fight UFC veteran, must be intelligent in how he goes about getting him there. And in most things, Mir considers himself smart.
Carwin is hardly perfect. He's green on the feet, this despite the facts of his record. He can appear stiff, and he won't move as well as his 30-year-old rival.
Still, lights-out power seems to be the biggest difference between the two, which is why I'm leaning Carwin.
There is an unbelievable amount of free MMA on television this weekend, and two events with zero oxygen headline HDNet and Showtime on Friday night.
Strikeforce Challengers heads to Fresno, Calif., with a good mix of prospects. I'm curious to see
HDNet's King of the Cage tour hits Reno. Welterweight prospect
And don't forget, UFC 111 prelims on Spike TV features two interesting welterweights fights.