Georges St. Pierre and Josh Koscheck: Stephen Fernandez / Splash News
Regardless of what went down during filming of Season 12 of “The Ultimate Fighter,” the raucous crowd that will fill the Bell Centre in Montreal for UFC 124 on Saturday was destined to have treated Josh Koscheck like an enforcer who plays for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
That reception can be traced primarily to the fact that Koscheck will be squaring off against the city’s native son, UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre, in the main event. However, Koscheck only enhanced his place among the sport’s all-time heels during his time coaching opposite St. Pierre on the Spike TV reality series. Now, the two meet again inside the Octagon, with Koscheck looking to avenge a 2007 decision defeat to the champion.
Sherdog.com recently caught up with dozens of professional trainers and fighters to gauge their opinions on the rematch between St. Pierre and Koscheck:
Marlon Sandro: I think that GSP will face a very tough opponent, but I think he wins the decision.
Ray Elbe: “Fraggle Rock” will be the new welterweight champion of the UFC. Not sure how “Kos” is going to pull the upset off, but this is going to be American Kickboxing Academy’s moment to shine.
Keith Berry: I gotta go with GSP on this one; Kos is just so easy to hate. Plus, GSP is the best fighter on all aspects. Kos has said, ‘Oh, I’m a different fighter, but he’s the same.” He will get beat in a five-round decision win for the poster boy, GSP.
Dan Bobish: GSP is just the better all-around fighter and will win if Josh doesn’t get lucky.
Gesias "JZ" Cavalcante: I think GSP wins by submission in the third round.
Rob Foster: GSP all the way. Koscheck has been doing everything he can to get under GSP’s skin, and I think he is going to pay dearly. In front of his Canadian fans, I see GSP laying Koscheck out. Should be a great fight, though. Koscheck has a ton of trash [talk] to back up, but I don’t think he will be able to do it. This fight won’t be going to the judges. GSP still the champ.
Mike Ciesnolevicz: Koscheck by overhand right TKO in round one. I don’t believe GSP will want to stand up with Josh, and I think Koscheck will be prepared for the wrestling. New welterweight champion. Sorry Canada. You still have the best drink in the world (Caesar) but no longer the UFC 170-pound champion. My girlfriend is Canadian, and I’m probably gonna get in trouble for this prediction (laughs).
Robert Follis: GSP wins this by ground-and-pound or decision. I think his timing for takedowns will be too good, and he will get on top and ride Kos out.
Amilcar Alves: I think GSP wins a decision.
Jason Dent: I’m going with GSP all the way. Georges just mixes everything so well. He is way more technical, athletic and smarter than Koscheck by far. Georges has so many more ways he can win, and Koscheck will be looking for a right hand and trying to make this fight more of a brawl. I think GSP will win by submission this time around, and if I had to pick a round, I would say round four.
Elvis Sinosic: This is a rematch worth seeing. Koscheck has worked his way back up the ladder to earn a rematch after losing to GSP in a three-round decision loss. Since then, both fighters have improved immensely. Both have also been caught by a big punch and put out of a fight because of it: GSP vs. [Matt] Serra and Kos vs. [Paulo] Thiago. Both fighters have a similar skill set, with striking and wrestling, though GSP has better grappling. Kos has finishing power in his stand-up, but GSP has better technique and control of range. Kos is technically the better wrestler on paper, but GSP applies it better in MMA. Kos has made this rematch even more interesting with his trash talking during “The Ultimate Fighter.” Even though he may not have made himself more fans, he’s definitely bringing more viewers to watch him lose. That is good business sense. Sadly, that’s not going to be enough. Kos also has experience on his side, having fought GSP already and another teammate who has fought GSP. Problem is both guys lost when they faced GSP, so even that insight will be skewed. Kos is always dangerous with his wrestling, and if he looks to work his takedowns, he has the ability to get on top of fighters and win a decision with control. He also has good power and, if he lands a clean shot, has the ability to end the fight. He has two options with his skill set: keep it standing and look for the big KO, or take it down and win a decision. If he tries the first strategy, he will be taken down each and every round. I think being a five-rounder this will be even harder for Kos to go the decision way. I give GSP the edge in skills and ability to apply it in MMA. I think GSP will pressure Kos from the start. He will put Kos on his back every round and work his ground-and-pound. GSP always works to pass guard and will continue that trend. I think the change with this fight is that he will work his ground-and-pound more, rather than going for a sub, unless it’s in the later rounds or he hurts Kos first. I think he will punish Kos with ground-and-pound to either win a decision or possibly pull off a TKO or sub in the later rounds.
Luis Ramos: I think GSP wins the decision, exchanging a few blows standing and dominating the ground.
Gabe Ruediger: Interesting fight. I think it gets more interesting with both Koscheck and his main training partner having already fought GSP. That’s a lot of firsthand knowledge into how to properly fight Georges. Even with that, I think GSP will win again. I think it will be a good fight, but GSP just knows how to throw people off, and his takedown seems unstoppable. I’m going GSP by decision.
Stephane Vigneault: I’ve hated Koscheck for a long time, and watching “The Ultimate Fighter” made me hate him way more. He insults GSP and all the French Quebecers. He is a dick. I can’t wait until Saturday, when Georges puts his hands on him. Georges by TKO, round three, and bye-bye Mr. “Ronald McDonald” Koscheck.
Gustavo Machado: I think GSP wins by submission in the third round.
Chase Beebe: I think this is a great matchup, and if Koscheck backs up all the talk, then it should be a good battle. But for saying he is the best wrestler in MMA, he will have to step it up with his takedown defense. This is not wrestling; it is fighting, and everything changes when strikes are involved. I think he improves at a good rate but will have to mix it up with his own takedowns to keep GSP guessing. Otherwise, it will just be the same as the first fight.
Kultar Gill: GSP is too strong in every aspect of the MMA game. Kos is in for a very bad five-round beating, or if he’s lucky, he’ll get KO’d in the third. GSP has no competition in the welterweight division.