Josh Koscheck, who’s a significant underdog in his main event tilt against Georges St. Pierre, plans on wearing the welterweight strap Saturday night. Although odds makers and the lionshare of MMA fans see GSP getting his hand raised at the end of the fight, Koscheck is confident that he can come out victorious in the rematch against the French Canadian.
"I believe that I'm going to win this fight," Koscheck said. "I'm going to knock Georges St. Pierre out, either in Round 2 or 3."
Koscheck, most well know for his time on the first season of The Ultimate Fighter show, has spent the bulk of his career in the UFC as the bad guy; a label that he’s now comfortable with.
"I think that there are going to be a lot of boos," Koscheck said. "The last time we were here in Montreal we got spit on, we got beer thrown on us, we got popcorn thrown on us, So I'm going to be prepared for all that and more. It's Georges' hometown. It's almost like Rocky going into Russia -- it's cold here, it's snowing here, and I guess we're going to disappoint a lot of people."
Despite the fan’s hatred of the Pennsylvania native, Koscheck has an impressive 13-4 UFC record and is without a doubt, one of the best welterweights in the world. He’s currently on a three-fight win streak.
The big question for ‘Kos,’ who was outclassed by GSP in their 2007 fight: Will he have an answer this time?
Keys to a Koscheck upset:
Win the mind-game battle: Although St. Pierre has recently indicated that trash talking doesn’t really affect his performance in a negative way, with the champ having to discuss this very issue so frequently over the last few weeks, something tells me Koscheck’s strategy might just be working. The perennial agitator can only hope that the current distractions result in GSP drifting from his game plan; allowing emotions to takeover.
Tune out the crowd: If Koscheck is going to have any chance of beating the champ, he’ll have to ignore the overwhelmingly GSP-friendly Montreal fan base, which will be 23,000 strong at the Bell Centre on Saturday. Since ‘Kos’ has been in enemy territory on more than a few occasions, It’s likely that he’ll be focused on the task at hand. I’m sure quieting that capacity crowd with a fight-ending punch is also on the agenda for the contender.
Open up the hands: St. Pierre’s last defeat was against heavy-handed Matt Serra, who clipped him with an overhand right that eventually secured Serra the huge upset. With a possible chink in St. Pierre’s armor, Koscheck should test GSP’s chin as often as possible.
Prevent the takedowns: Of course, if the welterweight contender plans on standing toe to toe with the champ, he’ll need to counter GSP’s seemingly effortless takedown abilities. Off all the factors at play, this should be a huge priority for Koscheck. If the 4-time Div I All American wrestler can not stuff at least a few of St. Pierre’s takedown attempts, it could be a long night for the AKA fighter.
Think quick: Koscheck’s best opportunity to score the upset might be in the first minute of the first round, a la Penn vs. Hughes III. If the underdog can skip the feeling-out period and do some serious damage straight out the gate, before GSP executes his own game plan, he might just escape with the win.
UFC 124: St. Pierre vs. Koscheck II will be held at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada on December 11. The main card will air live via PPV.
Champ Georges St. Pierre vs. Josh Koscheck (for welterweight title)
Sean McCorkle vs. Stefan Struve
Jim Miller vs. Charles Oliveira
Thiago Alves vs. John Howard