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Why Josh Koscheck will beat Georges St. Pierre

The headline says it all.

I am picking Josh Koscheck to defeat Georges St. Pierre via second round TKO (ground and pound) at UFC 74.

There, I said it!

I want to clarify before I go into my dissertation that I’m not a pro-Koscheck guy or an anti-St. Pierre guy, I’m just giving my unbiased opinion.

Take it or leave it.

But wait a minute, how unbiased am I?

For a long time I was a huge GSP fan. No, strike that, I was a MARK for GSP. However, my enthusiasm has waned somewhat out of fear that he could be the Fredo Corleone of the UFC’s welterweight division.

Prior to UFC 69, UFC president Dana White went into Don West-mode (pre-TNA wrestling) and gave us the hard sell on GSP, proclaiming him one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. I bought into it, and I know a lot of you did as well.

What happened in the months after UFC 69? White went from calling him one of the best in the world to publicly question his character! Dana didn’t hesitate to throw GSP under the bus, questioning his mental toughness while praising his athletic abilities.

Apparently GSP didn’t take Matt Serra lightly before the fight. In fact, he was a little bit nervous. A little bit? Well okay, maybe he was having a near-panic attack.

But you can’t bury GSP for an isolated incident. Fighting is a brutal sport and if you’re not running through a gamut of emotions then you’re probably a cyborg. The problem is that during his UFC 58 fight against B.J. Penn, he nearly quit on the stool after the first round. The announcers never really addressed it but after watching years of boxing it was clear as day that his corner had to talk him into going out and fighting. It’s a good thing they were able to convince him because we all know how the fight turned out.

So what if this is a trend and what if GSP doesn’t have the mental toughness needed to reach his full physical potential?

If he was nervous for Serra then don’t you think he might be scared shitless of Koscheck, a fighter who has an inane ability of making good fighters look bad?

GSP is a good wrestler with good submissions but his greatest strength is his striking. The concern is that Koscheck is essentially the old New Jersey Devils of the UFC.

The Devils utilized the trap as a way to neutralize an opposing team’s skating ability and bring their offense to a screeching halt. The end result was usually some very boring hockey. When Koscheck hits one of his shots and gets a fighter on their back, it’s the same idea.

The key in this fight won’t be whether Koscheck can execute a shot and take GSP down. The key will be how much his ground and pound has improved. Once he gets GSP on the ground he needs to get to work. Working submissions will be tough because Koscheck hasn’t been taking Jiu-Jitsu long enough to tap out an experienced grappler like GSP. But if he can throw strikes from inside the guard then it will help him break guard and move into the mount.

He’ll not only score points, but he’ll break St. Pierre.

From my limited experience in fighting, nothing is more demoralizing then having someone pounding your face with fists and elbows while you’re flat on your back. It’s a real helpless feeling and I’ve found myself actually wanting to call timeout when I’ve been in that situation. I mean, what can you do when your opponent is “making it rain?”

For GSP, the gameplan is simple: don’t let Koscheck take him down!

After technique, athleticism is the most essential part of having good takedown defense and GSP has athletic ability to spare. But Koscheck will be relentless in going for attempt after attempt. The tricky part is that his striking has improved enough that he can now set up his shots. GSP is going to have to keep things honest and that could open the door for Koscheck. One takedown might be all Koscheck needs if he’s been working on his elbows and fists from inside the guard.

If Koscheck doesn’t stay busy then he’s going to be wasting his time. Lay and pray isn’t going to get him a shot at the welterweight title.

Hell, it might not even be enough to get a decision.

If Koscheck doesn’t do any damage and GSP is able to provide some highlight reel strikes, he might get the benefit of the doubt from the judges. The crowd will also no doubt be behind GSP and that could also sway the judges (i.e. Cecil Peoples).

There are a lot of things that could go right for GSP in this fight but there are just so many things that could go wrong against Koscheck. And unless St. Pierre has been seeing a sports psychologist, Koscheck is the type of fighter whose style could prove frustrating and cause him to crack.

My belief is that Koscheck will hit at least one takedown and that will be GSP’s downfall.

Oh, and just for the record, I did not bet on GSP at UFC 69 so I’m not a disgruntled gambler. However, I do regret that I didn’t bet against him.

Looks like I have a second chance.

39 COMMENTS
  • says:

    As soon as I read your comment about GSP trying to quit after the first round, I went back and watched the fight. I saw and heard nothing of what you are talking about. Were you there or did you have a different angle? Just trying to follow the logic…..

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  • says:

    Matt:

    Are you watching the commercial DVD or a version taped directly off the original PPV telecast? I’m not disputing what you saw, I just remember vividly sitting at a table at a bar and watching the fight and seeing a clearly flustered GSP with his head down going back and forth with his corner. I vaguely remember Rogan making some kind of brief comment about it. I’ve talked about the incident with people before so I don’t think I am imagining things.

    Can anyone help me out here?

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  • says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more about the outcome of the fight. Good write up.

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  • says:

    [...] Sam Caplan: Why Josh Koscheck will beat GSP [...]

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  • says:

    I think George is gonna use his jab, stuff the take down and eventually KO Koscheck.

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  • says:

    I remember how flustered he was between rounds too, he was getting his ass beat on his feet and you could tell he didn’t know how to handle it – his corner obviously told him to go for takedowns and stall, even then I was suprised he won the decision – BJ won that fight.

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  • says:

    Sam, I love the blog and respect your opinion but I’m going the other way. As a GSP fan I’m scared shitless of this fight, but I do think GSP will via brutal TKO. Perhaps a knee to one of Kos’ shots.

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  • says:

    I agree with Brent, and really, you could argue either of the last two rounds going to GSP. Penn didn’t appear hurt at any point in the fight; in the second round, he might not have been getting off first as much but he still appeared to be doing the most damage. In round three GSP had a nice slam and a high kick that seemed to land well, but if you ask me Penn did more than enough to take the round and the fight in the last minute or so, once he had that arm trapped he began raining down short punches from the bottom and came relatively close to sinking in that gogoplata.

    As for GSP after the first round, I think he was just a little stunned, I think that was the first time he ever had to return to his corner after getting his butt whooped the entire first frame. At first he went to the wrong corner, and then he seemed to hesitate to sit down… but I can’t say it looked like he was going to quit.

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  • says:

    Heya Sam,

    Great write up on this fight. I agree with you. I had never really questioned GSP’s mental toughness, but I saw he was frustrated after round one.

    Oh and BJ won that fight.

    I also want to hear your thoughts on the Randy GG fight…

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  • says:

    Sam,

    My version is the one I taped off the PPV telecast. I watched between rounds again and I guess it is up to personal interpretation. I agree to the comments that he was a bit stunned how BJ handled him in the first. I have to say that GSP clearly won two and three on points simply for the repeated takedowns. Like it or not it’s part of the scoring.

    Matt

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  • says:

    Not doing anything after the repeated takedowns should be taken into account.

    As well as the ability to avoid/get back up from a takedown.

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  • says:

    I agree 100% with your Devils analogy (the team that beat my Stars, by the way, with that exact strategy). Kos by decision.

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  • says:

    One of these dudes is going to have to go back to the drawing boards after the fight. I can picture the outcome you’re predicting, Sam, but I can see GSP schooling Kos just the same.

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  • says:

    I got some money on KOS on Bodog. I do not think this will be a lay and pray battle. I actually see KOS landing one of those overhand rights and stunning GSP and then KOS will just capitalize on it.

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  • says:

    GSP by sub, Kos is at disadvantage standing, ground, clinch, GSP is better, the Sanchez fight doesn’t mean what people think it means- this will be a wake up call.

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  • says:

    I listened to the show, and I was surprised to see you flip flop on Randy/GG Sam. Randy is my all time fave fighter – and pretty much the best “game planner” of any fighter today. But GG is equally as skilled as Randy and is going to be the strongest fighter he’s ever fought. GG by GNP.

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  • says:

    the comments on takedowns/laynpray go right back to the fact that we need another way of scoring MMA. the ten point must is stupid.

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  • says:

    I agree with Matt.
    GSP was frustrated, no doubt about that. He did indeed have to regain his composure, and his corner was instrumental in that regard. They didn’t have to convince him to go back out and fight. They helped him re-focus. However, the fact that he came back in rounds 2+3, pushed the pace and won the fight (What did Penn do between the last minute of round 1 and the last minute of round 3? A lot of standing around is what) says a lot about his character.

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  • says:

    “…I got some money on KOS on Bodog. I do not think this will be a lay and pray battle. I actually see KOS landing one of those overhand rights and stunning GSP and then KOS will just capitalize on it…”

    I agree. If GSP gets stunned early, the fight is over. His mind will break if things don’t go good early-on for him. Kos knows it and he will be agressive to throw off GSP. We’ll see if he is successfull at it, I think Kos has a great chance to win. He is catching GSP at the perfect time.

    Fighters have looked like crap coming off thier title-fight losses…..

    Sobral got KO’ed, Tito got a draw, Hughes/Franklin had shaky and unimpressive wins over lesser competition. Loiuseau fell off the map.

    GSP has never had a tap-out beat down like he took against Serra, really humiliating. I mean an 11-1 dog did that to him? We’ll have to see how GSP responds to those facts.

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  • says:

    Clearly the weakest thing about GSP is his mental toughness. He can be vulnerable to getting mentally off-track.

    This is the guy who beat B.J. Penn??? the guy who beats Matt Hughes (!) and then loses to Matt Who??? Amazing.

    I have a few bucks on Kos but he will have to come out fast and go after GSP. If he does what he did with Sanchez, IE stay on the outside and wait for opportunities, Georges will have time to start to relax and feel comfortable and Kos is going to get his bell rung.

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  • says:

    In my mind it’s all about which GSP shows up:

    -will it be the Canadian kid who went on a tear after suffering his first loss (to Matt Hughes); where he absolutely dismantled Sherk and Trigg

    or

    -will it be the mentally shaken GSP that couldn’t look Hughes in the eyes during their initial fight and was extremely nervous for his first title defense against Serra

    If it’s the former then he’ll make Koscheck pay for leaving his chin out there (watch his stand-up against Sanchez, his chin was never tucked) and actually make Koscheck look bad. If it’s the latter, then Sam’s prediction will probably come to fruition.

    Personally, I think we’re going to see another assault on the welter-weight division as GSP storms back into title contention (but that’s just my gut feeling).

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  • says:

    I disagree completely. Josh is hands down one of the worst fighters in UFC history. Even his “win” over Sanchez was laughable. Sanchez fought Sanchez and lost in that 1. Kos is the most boring fighter to watch, and the boos in every one of his fights match what I say. The only way he will win is if it goes the distance and he runs and lays on GSP for 3 rounds, and the ‘judges’ decide thats cool. No idea what your basing your opinion on, this isn’t high school wrestling and GSP isn’t the usual schmoe brought in for Josh to chokeout to make Dana not look foolish for having him in UFC. Im sorry, but the fights are for the fans and most fighters know this, I don’t hate Josh, i just think he doesnt know what it means to be a champ in the UFC and he should be sent to the minor leagues till he realizes, its about the fans. GSP will destroy him if Josh fights like a fighter, But if he fights like he usually does playing lay and run just for points I guess you could be right.

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  • says:

    You are wrong and mind altering drugs are bad for you.

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  • says:

    [...] the Sanchez/Koscheck fight. I like his take and figured it could make for a good discussion. Source:Why Josh Koscheck will beat Georges St. Pierre ? Five Ounces of Pain! Why Josh Koscheck will beat Georges St. Pierre August 9th, 2007 by Sam Caplan The headline says it [...]

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  • says:

    For GSP, the gameplan is simple: don’t let Koscheck take him down.

    Your whole argument is based on this assumption. Yes, GSP tries to defend the takedown for three rounds, Kos will eventually get on top and score some LnP points.

    However this won’t happen. St-Pierre won’t go on full offense (i.e.: striking and defending takedowns). He HAS to win this fight or his career is in trouble. He probably doesn’t care about a spectacular KO. The fighters will stand up and set up a takedown with strikes. In all likelyhood, St-Pierre will hit him first and take him down. Then you will see blood. What’s Kos gonna do from his back?

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  • says:

    I keep hearing about Georges being shaken up in the first round against Penn and walkin’ to the wrong corner. Did you guys notice the thumb in the eye or what. He couldn’t see. I’m not sayin’ it was intentional but let’s not question the guys heart when he’s got no depth perception. As for what his corner was saying btween rounds, I speak a little french but couldn’t quite hear what they were saying. I think Rogan was speculating.

    Kos was 43?-0 in college wrestling so he can put GSP on his back, but let’s not forget Georges trains with the Canadian National wrestling team consistantly with some of the TOP ranked wrestlers in the world so he can do the same to Kos. This is a tough fight to call so I won’t. -GSP FAN

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  • says:

    You are not giving GSP enough credit for:

    A: his sprawl. Hughes couldn’t get him down.

    B: the fact that he is an AMAZING wrestler. He has an ADCC victory over the only man to be ranked HIGHER than Koschek in the NCAA. And it was a 15 min “gut-it-out” unanimous decision victory. Look what he did to Trigg.

    GSP will not let Kos get him down, and if he does, GSP will get out or reverse position on Kos.

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  • says:

    The reason I believe GSP lost to Matt Serra, is because of conflicting thoughts about fighting someone he considers a friend. When you get coflicting thoughts, you hesitate. Its one of the flaws of being a nice guy. But when you get back on the horse, your getting on with a madman attitude.
    With all of GSP’s skills and strength, he bis as powerful as Matt Hughes – if not more so, i believe that he will demolish Koscheck in the first round. Koscheck could never match his strength.

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  • [...] my original rant about why I think Koscheck will beat GSP, just click here. I also recommend you check out Luke Thomas’ response to my argument by clicking [...]

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  • I respect your opinion. But GSP never wanted to quit against BJ. Let alone, this fight showed his character. GSP is seeing a sport psycologist after his loss. He changed his entourage for management. He’s never been as ready. No excuse. He will TKO kos in the first round. Easy bet on sportbooks. St-pierre is scared of no one. Losing don’T mean you were scared. He got caught against serra and it’s his fault. He knows. HE won’T do that mistake twice. Mark my words. He’ll get the belt back in 2 fights.

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  • And B.J Penn , Trigg, Hughes , sherk, couldn’T take st-pierre down. And you think Kos will?…euh….no

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  • [...] upprört känslor och Luke Thomas på BloodyElbow som förutspår vinst för GSP har kolliderat med Sam Caplan på Five Ounces of Pain som anser att Kos kommer att vinna. Jag rekomenderar att ni läser båda deras utomordentliga [...]

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  • pgam says:

    no offence,
    i disagree.
    this is WEAK:
    If he was nervous for Serra then don’t you think he might be scared shitless of Koscheck, a fighter who has an inane ability of making good fighters look bad?

    first of all GSP wasn’t in form, serra was, GSP he got tagged.
    KOS making good fighters look bad? like who?
    sanchez didn’t look like sanchez, and the rest i’d call good – but not elite.

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  • morgan says:

    ummmm ok gsp beat bj,, and he’s gonna make koscheck look dumb

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  • Danny says:

    Time for you to check your notesbeacause Kos just got his face handed to him. Koscheck is so overated. Kos should have used his patented blanket/dead whale move dominate GSP.

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  • Danny says:

    Time for you to check your notes beacause Kos just got his face handed to him. Koscheck is so overated. Kos should have used his patented blanket/dead whale move to dominate GSP. Kos was clearly out of his league and needed to be humbled large. Thank you GSP. The UFC world owes you big for putting the little baby Kos to bed.

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  • Dana says:

    I guess you’re eating your words now. I knew Josh didn’t have what it takes. You can’t harp on GSP for having a weak mind. Some things need to be learned and it’s seems he’s learned how to control his metal game now. What did Josh really have to defeat GSP? Georges shot right through Josh like it was nothing. I smiled the whole damn fight and I love it. Who is going to get in his way now?

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  • nathan says:

    First and foremost GSP CLEARLY won rounds 2 and 3 against Penn and would have won round 1 too if it wasn’t for the inadvertant poke in the eye which caused him to see double the entire round and enabled Penn to break his nose(why most don’t get this baffels me). Gsp would have made Penn like like crap if the eye poke didn’t happen and to me it was so obvious gsp was the superior striker, penn just went crazy and was swinging wildly(got the eye poke, then broke the nose of a semi blinded gsp). Had to get that out, and now on to Koscheck…..very humiliating fight for him, especially round 2, gsp sat on his head and made him look terrible, I would actually give that round 10-8 in gsp’s favor. Gsp controlled about 90 percent of that fight how two judges scored it 29-28 is beyond me I would give it 30-26, first round close but gsp’s 10-9, second totally domination 10-8 gsp, third, my favorite round gsp showed amazing take down defense and displayed obviously superior stand up and I’d give it 10-9 very dominating round but not quite a 10-8. My two cents.

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  • nathan says:

    Oh and I have to give Kos some credit, even though he actually did much worse than I thought he would, and was surprised how easily gsp got him down and how difficult it was for kos to get him down. I was very impressed with his guard and his submission defense, also avoiding the ground and pound, gsp is very dangerous here and kos did a great job of avoiding a fight ending strike. Kos is a good fighter but think he’s a bit overrated and has never fought a great wrestler like gsp before, and is the reason he looked so good against strikers and submissionist, hope he learned a little humility and comes back stronger.

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