The UFC returns to Montreal, Quebec this Saturday with an epic card set to take place at the Bell Centre. Headlining the event is welterweight champion and pound-for-pound great Georges St. Pierre, who will be taking on Stockton, C.A.’s own bad boy, former Strikeforce welterweight champion Nick Diaz. Ex-interim welterweight champion Carlos Condit is looking to stay in the title hunt as he is set to clash with the man whom many feel should be the true number one contender, Johny Hendricks, in a battle that will serve as the co-main event. A pivotal contest between two more welterweight contenders is also on the card, as Jake Ellenberger squares off with former Strikeforce welterweight champion Nate Mardquart. The entire card is stacked with great fights, and will make for a historic night in Canada.

George St. Pierre vs. Nick Diaz fight prediction

St. Pierre is fresh off a decision victory over Condit and is currently riding a ten-fight win streak. Diaz was on an eleven-fight win streak before losing to Condit in a controversial decision loss. Diaz won the Strikeforce title in 2010 and defended his strap three times before making his way to the UFC, and battered BJ Penn in his debut. St. Pierre is without a doubt the most explosive wrestler in the division, while Diaz is by far the best with his hands in the division. St. Pierre has a frustrating and extremely strong top game, while Diaz has great jiu-jitsu and submission skills. Both men have elite cardio.

Unfortunately for Diaz, his weakness is takedown defense, which St. Pierre is great at. Diaz certainly has the tools to finish the fight, but I don’t see him being able to. Every time Diaz walks forward and goes to throw his punches in bunches, look for St. Pierre to score a takedown, and St. Pierre is too hard to submit. If Diaz manages to get back to his feet, expect St. Pierre to take him down again. St. Pierre will retain his belt and defeat Diaz by unanimous decision.

Prediction: Georges St. Pierre def. Nick Diaz by unanimous decision

Jake Ellenberger vs. Nate Mardquart fight prediction

Ellenberger is 7-1 in his last eight fights. Mardquart is actually coming off a loss, losing his Strikeforce welterweight belt to Tarec Saffedine in January. However, Mardquart is still at the top of the heap when it comes to division contenders and will be a tough test. This is actually a very evenly matched-up contest. Both men have punching power. Ellenberger throws a little more wild, while Mardquart is more of a crisper boxer. Both have great takedowns. Ellenberger seems to favor the clinch while Mardquart usually goes for the takedown from that range. Both men have good ground games – Ellenberger is more of a positional grappler, while Mardquart goes for more submissions. Both men have the ability to finish the fight, and that’s exactly why I think it will go to a decision. I believe Ellenberger’s takedowns will be the difference and this fight, and expect him to win a very close decision.

Prediction: Jake Ellenberger def. Nate Mardquart by split decision.