St-Pierre is Coming Back but Can He Succeed Against Woodley or Maia?

July 20, 2017

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St-Pierre is Coming Back but Can He Succeed Against Woodley or Maia?



UFC president Dana White recently confirmed that Georges St-Pierre will return from his self-imposed hiatus to challenge the winner of the UFC 214 welterweight title fight between Tyron Woodley and Demian Maia.

Woodley will defend the title at UFC 214 in what should be a fascinating fight, so this will be a good opportunity to review Bodog and take advantage of their odds.  Tyron Woodley is currently at -205 on the UFC odds board while Demian Maia is at +165.

Knowing that the winner will take on the man known as GSP in his first professional fight since November 2013 will add extra motivation for Woodley and Maia, who would likely be favored against St-Pierre, but we’ll get into the reasons why later.

Georges St-Pierre was expected to face middleweight champion Michael Bisping on his return, but as reported by Damon Martin of Fox Sports, Bisping is suffering with a knee problem.

That change of plans has positioned St-Pierre for a title shot in the division he dominated for such long time. St-Pierre’s last UFC fight finished with a controversial split decision win over Johny Hendricks. The win was GSP’s ninth straight successful title defense since he won the belt against Matt Serra in 2008.

St-Pierre held the welterweight title from 2008-13 and he announced his hotly anticipated return earlier this year. Now, four years later, GSP’s return is imminent and it’s safe to say that he’s not far removed from his athletic prime at just 36 years of age, but it’s hard to know if all the time he took off will benefit him or dull his reactions.

What can’t be denied is that it will be fascinating to see whether the accomplished GSP, one of MMA’s all-time greats can cope with being tossed back against Woodley one of the most hungry and talented representatives of the new generation of a sport that’s evolving extremely fast.

Woodley won the title via first round knockout in an impressive display against Robbie Lawler at UFC 201 last year. He would go on to fight to a majority draw against Stephen Thompson at UFC 205 before beating him via a majority decision at UFC 209 in March.

Maia has won his last seven fights. He recently beat Jorge Masvidal via split decision at UFC 211 but he had won three of his previous fights by submission.
Woodley or Maia?

To me St-Pierre’s time away from to octagon will cost him against either Woodley or Maia. He won his last 12 fights sure, including nine title defenses but he won nine of those 12 fights via decision, including his last seven fights, which tells us he was no longer the GSP of the 2000’s. Add that to almost four years away from MMA and it pretty much makes him an underdog on fights against Woodley or Maia, as unbelievable as it may sound.

Maia is by far the best active grappler in MMA today, the most decorated competitive BJJ star, there’s no one like him in MMA right now. Woodley has been opportune because there was a lack of talent in the division so I’m leaning towards Maia upsetting and facing GSP, which would spell trouble for St-Pierre too.

Maia’s modus operandi is to not let any punches in, once on the floor or behind the back his opponents have nothing to do, including Woodley and St-Pierre. Looking at Maia’s losses, all were in fights in which he tried to win with striking, but now he’s back to his roots and he’s training with the outstanding Master Marcelo Garcia.

Going back to Maia’s fight against Masdival, he made him look like a rookie, which is impressive because Masdival is one of the best strikers nowadays, as he uses depurated boxing and street fight smarts. If Maia gets through Woodley then he can take down GSP. St-Pierre has a much better chance if he takes on Woodley, but he will likely be an underdog on the UFC odds on both fights. For now we can just wait until July 29 to find out who will face GSP.

 

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