GSP faces a tough challenge in hard-hitting Thiago Alves (Part 1 of 3)
Part 1: The Champion
St. Pierre, regarded by many as the top pound for pound MMA fighter, has dominated all the fighters he had fought. His only two losses, one of each from the feuding Serra and Hughes, were soundly avenged. GSP made it clear that these losses were just flukes. Matt Serra got tenderized by the French-Canadian’s ground and pound while Matt Hughes got dominated in the octagon in both of the rematches. St. Pierre’s only unconvincing win was from the hands of BJ Penn. And sure enough, three years later, GSP showed the world that “The Prodigy” is no match for him --- greased or not greased.
St. Pierre is a complete mixed martial artist. He excels in all aspects of cage fighting. His Kyukushin Karate background gave him a solid base for his stand-up. He works with premier boxing and muay thai coaches to further improve that base. He has a great step jab that worked well with his 1-2 combo and his counter left hook is also one of his useful hand tools. His kicks were even more amazing. He habitually utilizes the less common left inside leg kicks. Sometimes, he fools opponents by unexpectedly throwing left headkicks. Also, if he feels cocky enough, he throws occasional spinning back kicks and wheel kicks. The most amazing thing is when GSP use his hands and legs combination. He makes it look effortless. It’s a thing of beauty, a fast and fluid
display of martial arts. GSP’s trademark stand-up moves are his superman punch combo. It’s not just for show; it has been effective in his fights. It is a deceptive combination that he usually ends in a leg kick. St. Pierre had shown that he can also do it from both sides, either from the lead or from the rear.
Georges stand-up is superb but his bread and butter skill is his wrestling. His strength and conditioning training complements his wrestling and focuses particularly in core strength but he is not only strong, his technique and hip sensitivity is impeccable. He trains with the Canadian Olympic wrestling team; he could’ve even wrestled in the Olympics if he wanted to. Even without amateur or collegiate experience, he is a wrestling standout in MMA. Reportedly, he outwrestles his heavier stable mates at Greg Jackson’s camp and takes light heavyweight Rashad Evans, down at will. He surprised his opponents (Sherk, Hughes, Fitch, Koscheck, Trigg), that even with their better wrestling pedigree, he is able to take them down with relative ease. This Montreal native is a monster on top position. He dominates on top by pounding with knees, fists and elbows. Excellent top control with relentless but effective attempts to pass the guard makes him a nightmare on the mat. He had already passed the reputed guards of Penn and Fitch, making them looked like amateurs.
GSP is already a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. Sometimes, he even travels to Brazil to train. With only two wins via submission, his submission grappling skills is often overshadowed by his wrestling supremacy. But with closer look, the Brazilian martial art is evidently present in GSP’s game. He knows how maneuver himself to get away from very threatening jiu-jitsu positions. He knows that a set-up for submission is coming and his knowledge for counters against those is broad. As he ground-and-pounds his opponents he’s always on a lookout for an opportunity to submit them. He will take what is given to him. He’s not shy of giving up a position just to grab a neck, leg, or arm for possible choke or lock. For GSP’s opponents, the threat is always there.
Last but not least, St. Pierre’s cardio is second to none. He has not been outworked before. His pace is too fast and too tiring for opponents. As the enemy tires and fatigues, GSP is just warming up. Fortunately for St. Pierre, as a champion, he fights five rounds. It works well with his asset in the cardio department. He has the liberty of taking challengers in deep waters, ultimately, drowning them.
What makes Georges St. Pierre so special is the way he integrates all of these skills into a single mastery with fluid transition. It results in an effective fighting style that gives plenty of threats to worry about and this unpredictability intimidates GSP’s challengers.