Georges “Rush” St-Pierre (20-2) vs. Josh Koscheck (15-4)
The rematch. The grudge match. After a season of watching Josh Koscheck try to get in the head and play mental games and take verbal shots at UFC welterweight titleholder Georges St-Pierre, we finally get to see them collide.
It’s been four years since St-Pierre defeated Koscheck by unanimous decision, and this is not the same match-up it was then.
St-Pierre was able to out-wrestle the former four-time NCAA Division I All-American and National Champion wrestler. Something Koscheck didn’t think could happen.
Now the American Kickboxing Academy trained Koscheck knows of St-Pierre’s Olympic level wrestling skills and second-to-none takedown ability.
Since the first fight, Koscheck has evolved into more of a complete fighter. St-Pierre has improved as well.
Looking back on their first meeting, Koscheck actually won a round and was able to take St-Pierre down. Two feats not yet repeated by anyone else.
Storylines aside, St-Pierre is the better, more complete fighter. He’s finished his foe in every rematch to date and that hit list includes the names of Matt Hughes twice, B.J. Penn, and Matt Serra.
Koscheck has stated that he intends on preventing St-Pierre from taking him down and winning by knockout.
Comparing the stand-up, St-Pierre wears a tool belt filled with dangerous weapons. He can end it with his feet and hurt you with his hands.
What Koscheck has going for him is one-punch knockout power and a solid chin. He doesn’t have the variety of strikes that St-Pierre has developed, but his right hand has found it’s mark several times in the Octagon.
We know St-Pierre can go 25 minutes and then some. He’s broken many a fighter with endurance. Koscheck typically comes into a fight in excellent condition, but has yet to feel the thin air of the championship fourth and fifth rounds.
Expect Koscheck to look to start fast and aggressively go after a knockout. He has to stuff the first takedown attempt, if not the first few.
He could also be fooling us all and intend on taking St-Pierre down, while we all think he’s going to stand and trade.
It’s an intriguing clash because, on paper, Koscheck matches up stylistically probably the best in the division with St-Pierre. If there’s someone who could out-wrestle the champ, it’s Koscheck. And there’s no question if Koscheck lands that overhand right on St-Pierre’s chin that the titleholder could be in a lot of trouble.
The odds makers have St-Pierre as a -400 favorite and the challenger a +300 underdog. While I think it’s probable St-Pierre will win a decision or get a stoppage late, Koscheck is worth throwing some extra coin down on because sometimes the good guy doesn’t always win.
MMAWeekly.com’s UFC 124 main card breakdown:
-Georges St-Pierre vs. Josh Koscheck Preview
-Stefan Struve vs. Sean McCorkle Preview
-Jim Miller vs. Charles Oliveira Preview
-Joe Stevenson vs. Mac Danzig Preview
-Thiago Alves vs. John Howard Preview