Friday, November 16, 2012
Notes and nuggets for UFC 154
By Chuck Mindenhall
MONTREAL -- The fight game is always two steps ahead of itself. So it's only natural that most of the people assembled in Montreal to see Georges St-Pierre defend his title against Carlos Condit are focusing on more distant possibilities. Like, will St-Pierre fight Anderson Silva if he gets through Condit?
St-Pierre has coolly told anybody and everybody who's bothered to ask that he isn't thinking about Silva. When informed that Silva will be in Montreal to see him fight, surely not by any kind of coincidence, St-Pierre said he wouldn't be uncivil and ignore him. He would at least say hello. But right now he is focused on Condit. You know, Condit, the reason we're all here.
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But the specter of Silva is everywhere.
Martin Kampmann's wrestling coach Kyle Griffin said at least half the questions directed at Kampmann were about St-Pierre-Silva. Never mind that Kampmann is thrice removed. Dan Hardy has been asked to break down a fight between Silva-St-Pierre, too, by ESPN U.K. and others.
If the periphery is being quizzed on the fight, imagine what the monkey wrench in the scenario must be thinking.
People forget that Condit is standing right there in the room. How does he feel being the invisible obstacle?
"It's fine, man. I'm used to being overlooked," he told ESPN.com. "You know, when I fought Nick Diaz [at UFC 143], they were talking about the Georges St-Pierre-Nick Diaz fight next. No big deal for me. I'm focused on Georges St-Pierre."
Open workouts a strange bit of theater
The UFC 154 open workouts were a little misleading Thursday. For starters, what people were doing in the cage at the New City Gas nightclub in Montreal couldn't rightly be called a workout. Closer to performance art, really.
It began with Tom Lawlor, who was wearing his standard Ambrose Burnside whiskers and a Sheraton bathrobe. He and his cornermen -- Seth Petruzelli and Kyle Holland -- did the media rounds in white robes before they were ushered to the cage. Underneath the robes? Adult diapers. Oddly clumpy but perfect for the faux sumo wrestling tournament they engaged in.
St-Pierre arrived to a nice ovation with his entourage (among them Francis Carmont, Phil Nurse and John Donaher), and they entered the cage and proceeded to, like, span time. St-Pierre signed shirts, gloves and action figures. He casually talked to Nurse. He tossed memorabilia to his fans. All this generosity was backdropped by the thumping sounds of 2 Chainz’s "No Lie." At one point, St-Pierre stretched; this was the only move toward anything athletic.
Just brawl, baby
Despite his ability as a technical striker, Martin Kampmann can't seem to avoid getting into brawls.
Sometimes he gets hacked down. Sometimes he gets hacked down but gets back up. Sometimes he flattens his opponent (don't remind Alexandre Barros). You ask the Dane's cornermen if Kampmann digresses from the game plan, and they laugh. That's just him, they say, a technical striker who can't help becoming a technical brawler.
"He just loves to fight," Xtreme Couture's Griffin said.
You have to wonder, though, how it plays out against a heavy-handed wrestler like Hendricks. Kampmann was able to weather Ellenberger's first-round onslaught to come back and win. Ditto Thiago Alves in March. It's true that Kampmann has been the picture of endurance and perseverance in his run back into welterweight contention, but the reality is he had to come back because he put himself in trouble to begin with.
Bottom line: If he puts himself into a bad spot against Hendricks, there may be no coming back. Then again, if he wins dramatically, as he did in his previous fights in 2012 against Alves and Ellenberger, Kampmann has to be considered for fighter of the year.