Since the absorption of Strikeforce into the UFC, there have been many compelling matchups between both organizations' finest fighters. This inter-organization matchmaking will come to a head on Saturday, as Strikeforce's most infamous champion, Nick Diaz, takes on one of the UFC's best welterweight champs and pound-for-pound greats, Georges St-Pierre (GSP).
Here's a breakdown of the statistics and odds surrounding the fights to see how perceptions between the two organizations will play a role in the main event and to see where betting value lies in UFC 158.
Georges St-Pierre (minus-500) vs. Nick Diaz (plus-400)
The most notable aspect of the UFC 158 main event will be the hype and drama that always surrounds Diaz. As Diaz will likely get under the skin of the professional, reserved St-Pierre, the question will be whether bettors will be led to believe that Diaz has some intangible edge heading into the fight. However, upon considering the statistics, it's hard to believe that the flawless GSP could be deterred by anything.
Diaz possesses one of the most impressive skill sets in MMA; his prolific striking ability mixed with his unrivaled endurance helps to maintain his pace deep into the championship rounds. With a 6.03 strikes landed per minute (SLpM) rate, Diaz almost always possesses this advantage against opponents, especially in five-round fights. However, against St. Pierre, Diaz may not find himself standing for very long, as GSP has arguably the most effective wrestling ability in MMA, holding the record for most takedowns in UFC history with 75. With opponents almost helpless against his attempts, GSP manages to get opponents to the ground 4.3 times per 15 minutes with a ridiculous accuracy of 78 percent, the all-time UFC record. With only a slightly above-average takedown defense (64 percent), Diaz won't likely be the first to keep GSP from putting him on his back. As a result, will Diaz be able to submit GSP at any point in the five rounds (if it goes that far)?
Diaz is certainly capable of considerable danger from the bottom, attempting 1.13 submissions per 15 minutes and gaining eight out of his 26 wins by submission. GSP, on the other hand, has suffered only two losses in his entire career, once by armbar while on his back in his first title contention against Matt Hughes, and once to gigantic underdog Matt Serra. Despite these rare losses, consider that GSP has spent the majority of his career inflicting damage from inside of his opponents' guard and has not once been submitted, making it unlikely that Diaz will be the first, despite his great submission skills.
Further, GSP has faced opponents with similar submission success from off of their backs -- including Carlos Condit, Jake Shields and BJ Penn -- never finding himself in much danger. With GSP nearly a lock to win barring an unlikely submission victory, consider minus-500 for the champ as a heavy favorite an appropriate price, despite the hype.
Insider's value pick: