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UFC 154 breakdown, betting odds and picks

Georges St. Pierre settled as a 3-to-1 favorite over Carlos Condit

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ASSOCIATED PRESS

Defending UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, left, shakes hands with interim champion Carlos Condit, as president of UFC Canada Tom Wright, looks on following a news conference in Montreal, Thursday, Sept. 27, 2012, where they announced their upcoming UFC 154 fight which will take place in Montreal on Nov. 17.

The perceived invincibility that surrounded Georges St. Pierre vanished sometime in the last 18 months.

It seemed that no one used to dare bet against the UFC welterweight champion, who hasn’t suffered a loss in five years and once won 32 rounds in a row. That’s no longer the case after a series of knee injuries, culminating with a torn ACL, have kept St. Pierre outside of the octagon since UFC 129 in April 2011.

Plenty of gamblers have taken a shot against St. Pierre this weekend in his UFC 154 main event against Carlos Condit in Montreal. St. Pierre opened as around a -400 (risking $4 to win $1) favorite in the title fight, but he’s gotten as low as -300 at sports books.

William Hill sports books, the official provider of the Las Vegas Sun’s UFC betting lines, currently list St. Pierre at -360 with Condit coming back at +300.

Since the Sun started posting picks from multiple media members three-and-a-half years ago, only once has anyone gone against St. Pierre. Make it two after another prognosticator sided with Condit at this weekend’s fight.

Look below for a full breakdown of the 13 fights at UFC 154 and picks from Las Vegas Sun’s Case Keefer (83-61 year to date), KSNV’s Kevin West (90-54), ESPN.com’s Brett Okamoto (90-54), ESPN Radio’s Steve Cofield (89-55) and Las Vegas Sun’s Ray Brewer (74-70).

Carlos Condit

  • Age: 28
  • Height: 6’2''
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 5-1
  • MMA record 28-5
  • Out of: Albuquerque, N.M.
  • Betting line: +300

Georges St. Pierre

  • Age: 31
  • Height: 5’11''
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 16-2
  • MMA record 22-2
  • Out of: Montreal
  • Betting line: -360

Welterweight Championship Bout

Main Event

Last fight: Beat Nick Diaz by unanimous decision at UFC 143.

Punch list: “The Natural Born Killer” took a fair amount of criticism for waiting for St. Pierre and not defending his interim championship belt. But his position on the matter — it was the only fight he really wanted and it had already been booked and fallen apart twice — was reasonable. Plus, he accepted a rematch with Diaz before results came back of a failed drug test (marijuana) after UFC 143.

Staff picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: St. Pierre

Cofield: Condit

Last fight: Unanimous-decision victory over Jake Shields at UFC 129.

Punch list: A year-and-a-half ago, fans debated whether St. Pierre should be ranked the top pound-for-pound fighter in the world over Anderson Silva. Now, he’s rarely mentioned as even in the top two as Silva and Jon Jones are the consensus kings. St. Pierre, who didn’t step into the octagon his entire 30th year with knee injuries, vows not to stop until he reaches that status again.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: St. Pierre

Brewer: St. Pierre

Okamoto: St. Pierre

Johny Hendricks

  • Age: 29
  • Height: 5’9”
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 8-1
  • MMA record 13-1
  • Out of: Dallas
  • Betting line: -145

Martin Kampmann

  • Age: 30
  • Height: 6’0''
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 11-4
  • MMA record 20-5
  • Out of: Las Vegas
  • Betting line: +125

Welterweight Title Eliminator

Co-Main Event

Last fight: Defeated Josh Koscheck by split decision at UFC on FOX 3.

Punch list: Hendricks rightfully won the top contender distinction by sliding past Koscheck for his fourth straight win. But with St. Pierre’s injury, the UFC wanted him to fight again. “Big Rigg” wasn’t thrilled with the idea, but he has a soaring confidence that he can beat any welterweight in the UFC.

Staff picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Kampmann

Cofield: Hendricks

Last fight: Knocked out Jake Ellenberger at “The Ultimate Fighter Live” finale.

Punch list: Let’s just say Kampmann’s last two fights haven’t gone according to plan. Although the local emerged victorious in both, Ellenberger nearly knocked him out and Thiago Alves dominated for 14 minutes before a submission at the tail-end of the fight. The comebacks have been dramatic, but Kampmann would prefer a convincing win here.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Hendricks

Brewer: Kampmann

Okamoto: Hendricks

Tom Lawlor

  • Age: 29
  • Height: 6’0’’
  • Weight: 185
  • UFC record 4-3
  • MMA record 8-4
  • Out of: Providence, R.I.
  • Betting line: +235

Francis Carmont

  • Age: 31
  • Height: 6’3’’
  • Weight: 186
  • UFC record 3-0
  • MMA record 19-7
  • Out of: Montreal
  • Betting line: -275

Middleweight Bout

Featured Fight

Last fight: Knocked out Jason MacDonald in the first round at UFC on FUEL TV 3.

Punch list: Lawlor gets a promotion at UFC 154 as well. The four-year UFC veteran had never graced a main card before. The lively wrestler was possibly on the cutting block going into his last fight, but responded by knocking MacDonald out cold 50 seconds into their bout.

Staff picks:KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Carmont

Cofield: Carmont

Last fight: Second-round submission victory over Karlos Vemola at UFC on FUEL TV 4.

Punch list: One of Georges St. Pierre’s primary training partners receives a major push on the card headlined by his teammate. This is the promising Carmont’s first time on a pay-per-view. His style, which features relentless attacking for a finish, should prove viewer-friendly.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Lawlor

Brewer: Lawlor

Okamoto: Carmont

Costa Philippou

  • Age: 32
  • Height: 5’11''
  • Weight: 185
  • UFC record 4-1
  • MMA record 11-2
  • Out of: Long Island, N.Y.
  • Betting line: -240

Nick Ring

  • Age: 33
  • Height: 6’1''
  • Weight: 185
  • UFC record 3-1
  • MMA record 13-1
  • Out of: Calgary, Alberta
  • Betting line: +200

Middleweight Bout

Pay-Per-View Fight

Last fight: Won a unanimous decision over Riki Fukuda at UFC 148.

Punch list: Like Ring, Philippou feels he has little time to waste. He got into professional mixed martial arts later than most of the fighters on the UFC roster. His boxing background helped him move fast up the ranks, however, as he’s getting close to the top 10 of the middleweight division.

Staff picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Philippou

Cofield: Philippou

Last fight: Defeated Court McGee by unanimous decision at UFC 149.

Punch list: Ring is trying to fight as much as possible after he missed nearly two years with injuries. Since returning, he’s gone 3-1 and wants to take advantage of being in his prime. The Canadian should have a noticeable grappling advantage against a strike-first opponent like Philippou.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Philippou

Brewer: Philippou

Okamoto: Philippou

Pablo Garza

  • Age: 29
  • Height: 6’1’’
  • Weight: 145
  • UFC record 2-2
  • MMA record 11-3
  • Out of: Fargo, N.D.
  • Betting line: +255

Mark Hominick

  • Age: 30
  • Height: 5’8’’
  • Weight: 145
  • UFC record 3-3
  • MMA record 20-11
  • Out of: London, Ontario
  • Betting line: -310

Featherweight Bout

Pay-Per-View Opener

Last fight: Defeated by unanimous decision against Dennis Bermudez at UFC on FOX 3.

Punch list: Garza began his UFC career with two first-round finishes, but he hasn’t followed those memorable performances with much. Dustin Poirier out-classed him two fights ago, and Bermudez outlasted him in May. “The Scarecrow” may need an upset victory to keep his job in Montreal.

Staff picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Hominick

Cofield: Garza

Last fight: Lost a split decision to Eddie Yagin at UFC 145.

Punch list: What’s happened to Hominick? That’s a question every UFC fan probably wants to know. He pushed featherweight champion Jose Aldo like no one else had a year-and-a-half ago, but has gotten upset as a massive favorite in two bouts since. UFC 154 could prove whether Hominick’s fall is an anomaly or sign that his best days are behind.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Hominick

Brewer: Hominick

Okamoto: Hominick

Alessio Sakara

  • Age: 31
  • Height: 6’0’’
  • Weight: 186
  • UFC record 6-6
  • MMA record 15-9
  • Out of: Miami
  • Betting line: +190

Patrick Cote

  • Age: 32
  • Height: 5’11’’
  • Weight: 185
  • UFC record 4-8
  • MMA record 17-8
  • Out of: Montreal
  • Betting line: -250

Middleweight Bout

FX Prelim

Last fight: First-round knockout loss to Brian Stann at UFC on FUEL TV 2.

Punch list: “Legionarius” has found a way to hang around on the UFC roster for seven years now. It’s going to take some more magic to keep him with the promotion beyond Saturday night. Sakara is on a two-fight skid heading into the fight. The UFC rarely keeps anyone who loses three in a row.

Staff picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Cote

Cofield: Cote

Last fight: Unanimous-decision loss to Cung Le at UFC 148.

Punch list: “The Predator” gets a favor in the form of another chance from the UFC for taking the fight against Le on short notice. Cote last won in the octagon at UFC 86 in 2008. That split-decision win over Ricardo Almeida preceded a forgettable attempt to dethrone middleweight champion Anderson Silva.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Cote

Brewer: Cote

Okamoto: Sakara

Chad Griggs

  • Age: 34
  • Height: 6’1”
  • Weight: 248
  • UFC record 0-1
  • MMA record 11-2
  • Out of: Spokane, Wash.
  • Betting line: -140

Cyrille Diabate

  • Age: 39
  • Height: 6’6’’
  • Weight: 205
  • UFC record 3-2
  • MMA record 18-8-1
  • Out of: Rueil Malmaison, France
  • Betting line: +110

Light Heavyweight Bout

FX prelim

Last fight: First-round submission loss to Travis Browne at UFC 145.

Punch list: It’s a reinvention for Griggs, who drops to the 205-pound division after a career spent at heavyweight. The Tucson firefighter made a name for himself by slaying three straight Strikeforce heavyweights as an underdog — Bobby Lashley, Gian Villante and Valentijn Overeem.

Staff picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Diabate

Cofield: Diabate

Last fight: Majority-decision victory over Tom DeBlass at UFC on FUEL TV 2.

Punch list: Age means nothing to the French kickboxer. He’s won two of his last three despite being one of the oldest fighters in the UFC. Diabate is susceptible to submissions, but few can claim to possess more technical striking.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Diabate

Brewer: Griggs

Okamoto: Diabate

Rafael dos Anjos

  • Age: 28
  • Height: 5’9’’
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 6-4
  • MMA record 17-6
  • Out of: Rio de Janeiro
  • Betting line: -125

Mark Bocek

  • Age: 31
  • Height: 5’9’’
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 7-4
  • MMA record 11-4
  • Out of: Montreal
  • Betting line: -105

Lightweight Bout

FX Prelim

Last fight: Defeated Anthony Njokuani by unanimous decision at UFC on FUEL TV 4.

Punch list: Dos Anjos’ last two fights illustrate how he’s become more well rounded as his career has progressed. He beat a striker, Anthony Njokuani, and a grappler, Kamal Shalorus, in his first two fights of 2012. Bocek should challenge his aptitude in the wrestling department.

Staff picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: dos Anjos

Cofield: Bocek

Last fight: Unanimous-decision victory over John Alessio at UFC 145.

Punch list: Bocek lobbied for a high-profile opponent after he won his second straight earlier this year. The wish likely wasn’t granted by the UFC because, although Bocek has won two in a row, the fights were largely uneventful. He’s one of the best Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioners in the division, but hasn’t finished a fight in two years.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Bocek

Brewer: Bocek

Okamoto: Bocek

John Makdessi

  • Age: 27
  • Height: 5’8”
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 2-2
  • MMA record 9-2
  • Out of: Montreal
  • Betting line: +300

Sam Stout

  • Age: 28
  • Height: 5’9’’
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 7-6
  • MMA record 19-7-1
  • Out of: London, Ontario
  • Betting line: -450

Lightweight Bout

FX Prelim

Last fight: Unanimous-decision loss to Anthony Njokuani at UFC 145.

Punch list: “The Bull” must beat Stout to keep his job with the UFC. In addition to the two-fight losing streak, Makdessi missed weight in his last bout. When he gets loose and finds his range, Makdessi possesses dangerous striking. He’s remembered the most for his spinning back fist knockout of Kyle Watson at UFC 129 a year-and-a-half ago.

Staff picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Stout

Cofield: Stout

Last fight: Unanimous-decision victory over Spencer Fisher at UFC on FX 4.

Punch list: The only fight on the card to pit two Canadians against each other kicks off the FX preliminaries. Rank the lightweight division from top to bottom and Stout likely falls square in the middle. He lost a unanimous decision to Thiago Tavares in January before getting back on track and beating Fisher in the conclusion of their trilogy.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Stout

Brewer: Makdessi

Okamoto: Stout

Rodrigo Damm

  • Age: 32
  • Height: 5’7’’
  • Weight: 145
  • UFC record 1-0
  • MMA record 10-5
  • Out of: Sao Paulo, Brazil
  • Betting line: +170

Antonio Carvalho

  • Age: 33
  • Height: 5’8’’
  • Weight: 145
  • UFC record 1-1
  • MMA record 14-5
  • Out of: Oshawa, Ontario
  • Betting line: -220

Featherweight Bout

Facebook Prelim

Last fight: Submitted Anistavio Medeiros at UFC 147.

Punch list: Damm struggled in Strikeforce, losing bouts to Gilbert Melendez and Justin Wilcox, but has been perfect in the octagon. He won all of his fights in “The Ultimate Fighter Brazil” and debuted with a quick victory over Medeiros in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. His last four fights have all been in different countries.

Staff picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Carvalho

Cofield: Damm

Last fight: Knocked out Daniel Pineda at UFC 149.

Punch list: It took Carvalho 71 seconds to stun Pineda in Calgary a few months ago. The knockout was the 10th of Carvalho’s career, but first in a major promotion. He signed to the UFC at the beginning of the year to face Felipe Arantes at UFC 142, a fight he went on to lose by unanimous decision.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Carvalho

Brewer: Damm

Okamoto: Carvalho

John Maguire

  • Age: 29
  • Height: 5’9”
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 2-1
  • MMA record 8-4
  • Out of: Cambridge, England
  • Betting line: +170

Matthew Riddle

  • Age: 26
  • Height: 6’1’
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 6-3
  • MMA record 6-3
  • Out of: Las Vegas
  • Betting line: -220

Welterweight Bout

Facebook Prelim

Last fight: Lost to John Hathaway by unanimous decision at UFC on FUEL TV 5.

Punch list: It’s a quick turnaround for Maguire, who lost his first UFC fight two months ago to a fellow Briton. Before the setback, Maguire’s self-described “gypsy-jitsu” had taken the UFC by storm. He’s a lock to stand out, what with the trademark pink shorts and outgoing nature.

Staff picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Riddle

Cofield: Riddle

Last fight: Third-round submission victory over Chris Clements at UFC 149 overturned to a no-contest.

Punch list: A positive test for marijuana forced Riddle to forfeit his victory over Clements. A debate ensued as Riddle revealed his medical marijuana card and argued he needed the drug for therapeutic use. No matter, the wrestler turned brawler is back shortly after his 90-day suspension ended.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Maguire

Brewer: Riddle

Okamoto: Maguire

Azamat Gashimov

  • Age: 22
  • Height: 5’9’’
  • Weight: 135
  • UFC record 0-0
  • MMA record 7-1
  • Out of:Fairfield, N.J.
  • Betting line: +300

Ivan Menjivar

  • Age: 30
  • Height: 5’6’’
  • Weight: 135
  • UFC record 3-1
  • MMA record 24-9
  • Out of: Montreal
  • Betting line: -450

Bantamweight Bout

Facebook Prelim

Last fight: First-round submission victory over Azay Ionov at Tsumada Fighting Championship 5.

Punch list: One of Russia’s top prospects, Gashimov joins the UFC roster after a slight delay. An injury made him pull out of a bout with Alex Soto scheduled for May of this year. Submissions are the most dangerous part of Gashimov’s game

Staff picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Menjivar

Cofield: Menjivar

Last fight: Unanimous-decision loss to Mike Easton at UFC 148.

Punch list: “The Pride of El Salvador” starts the considerable climb back to the top of the 135-pound division in Montreal. He was as few as one fight away from a title shot this summer, but couldn’t quite figure out Easton. Menjivar will still be favored over the majority of bantamweights.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Menjivar

Brewer: Gashimov

Okamoto: Menjivar

Darren Elkins

  • Age: 28
  • Height: 5’10”
  • Weight: 145
  • UFC record 4-1
  • MMA record 14-2
  • Out of: Hobart, Ind.
  • Betting line: +110

Steven Siler

  • Age: 25
  • Height: 5’11’
  • Weight: 145
  • UFC record 3-0
  • MMA record 21-9
  • Out of: Orem, Utah
  • Betting line: -140

Featherweight Bout

Facebook Prelim

Last fight: Beat Diego Brandao by unanimous decision at UFC 146.

Punch list: Since a loss to Charles Oliveira prompted Elkins to drop to featherweight, he’s steadily improved. The wrestler is undefeated at 145 pounds, really reaching his peak six months ago when he survived an early barrage from Brandao to pull off a major upset.

Staff picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

West: Elkins

Cofield: Siler

Last fight: First-round submission victory over Joey Gambino at UFC on FX 4.

Punch list: This is quite a matchup for a first fight on a card. Siler is an example of an athlete who took full advantage of his time of “The Ultimate Fighter” to become better in all areas. Since losing to Diego Brandao in the quarterfinals of the show, he’s been unstoppable and won three in a row.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Siler

Brewer: Siler

Okamoto: Siler

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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