Quijano: GSP, Bradley and Casimero in action today-A A +A
Saturday, March 16, 2013
ALL athletes must go through the inevitable and inescapable decline of their physical prowess as time passes and the fight odometer registers more mileage.
Judging from his recent performances, the same must hold true with 31- year old Georges St. Pierre.
But the question is whether or not the degree of that decline is substantial enough to allow Nick Diaz to emerge as the new UFC welterweight champion at UFC 158 today.
UFC 158. Injuries the past years have hampered GSP and limited his activity inside the cage.
And while he has always been in shape come fight time, still, his recent wins came via decision with the last two being more competitive than most fans thought it would be.
GSP has fought only twice since 2011 (both unanimous decision wins against Carlos Condit and Jake Shields)
Both victories were impressive and the close nature of the proceedings were probably indicative of the top notch level of his opponents, rather than anything that GSP failed to do.
But still you kind of wonder..where was the GSP who stopped lightweight champ BJ Penn in 2009 or the one who thoroughly dominated the formidable Thiago Alves at UFC 100?
ENTER NICK DIAZ. As much as GSP is an icon edified by millions of MMA fans, Diaz has strutted himself about in a very anti-hero manner and he doesn’t seem to give a damn.
Five years ago in his return to the welterweight division, Diaz already made it clear to everybody that GSP was in his sights.
Though he lost to Carlos Condit in his last outing via a close decision, GSP has given in to Diaz’ pipe dream of facing him, probably to shut him up once and for all.
Prior to the fight, the grapevine says that Diaz and GSP almost got it on in a hotel incident.
MY TAKE. Diaz’s best option would be to keep the fight standing so he can utilize those long arms in keeping GSP at bay. But GSP won’t shy away from the exchanges, as it would ultimately open up Diaz to one of his vaunted takedown attempts.
It will probably be competitive in the first round and Diaz’ bravado will certainly keep things interesting, but I see GSP winning this fight via submission in the second round.
BRADLEY. Unable to get any traction behind a rematch with Manny Pacquiao, Timothy Bradley has moved on with his career and today will be fighting Ruslan Provodnikov
Russian Ruslan brings an impressive record of 22 wins, one loss with 15 via the short route, albeit he hasn’t been in there with top-tier opposition.
Bradley is the more accomplished fighter and his win over Pacquiao , despite its dubious nature, could very well have shored up his confidence.
Still, this is a compelling battle between the a brawler and a boxer and Ruslan should have benefitted from having Freddie Roach in his training camp.
I’m swimming against the tide here, but I’m leaning towards Provodnikov winning via decision.
CASIMERO. If it’s not too much of a bother, please take time to say a good one to Man up there for our very own Johnrheil Casimero who will be in far away Panama duking it out with local sensation Luis Alberto Rios (18-1, 13KOs).
This bout will be Casimero’s 2nd title defense of the IBF junior flyweight crown he won last year against another fighter also named Luis Alberto (Lazarte) in Argentina.
I’m sure you will recall how Casimero and his team were attacked and waylaid on top of the ring by Argentinean hooligans who did not take lightly the defeat of Lazarte.
A couple of months back this writer had a chance to confer with Casimero’s indefatigable promoter Sammy Gelloani and the latter was confident of his fighter’s chances of retaining his belt on foreign soil.
Good luck, Johnheil, and may you retain one of the very few world titles belonging to the Philippines.
LAST ROUND. It’s on my high school buddy Dennis Alcarez who celebrates his birthday today. Cheers!
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 17, 2013.