Todd Martin talks to Fitch about his training and game plan for his fight with GSP in light of Koscheck's preparation and performance:
St. Pierre dominated high level wrestlers like Matt Hughes, Frank Trigg and Koscheck. St. Pierre's victory over Koscheck was particularly notable, since Koscheck and Fitch are former collegiate wrestling stars who train together at the American Kickboxing Academy.
Fitch distinguishes his fight with St. Pierre from Koscheck's by noting their contrasting approaches.
"(Koscheck) is very stubborn," Fitch notes. "He didn't want to listen to anyone when we told him to practice wrestling. He had it in his head that nobody could take him down if he didn't want them to. I don't think he drilled a single takedown that entire training camp. It was basically all standup and even very little jiu jitsu. I haven't taken that approach for this fight. I always train everything."
I'm not suggesting there won't be some takedown battles in this fight, but I would be very surprised if the ground game was the domain where the fight ended. St. Pierre is customarily a smart gameplanner and is adept at making adjustments on the fly. If Fitch has shown any acumen, it's not in trading hands to finish opponents standing. St. Pierre, while he hasn't been willing to overly engage in fisticuffs in recent fights, has shown an ability to stop opponents standing. Go back and watch St. Pierre's fight with IFL standout Jay Hieron for proof. Once Hieron was rocked St. Pierre followed him down, but it was during the punching exchanges that St. Pierre asserted himself with better angles, solid power and aggressive maneuvering.
We all know the professional boxers St. Pierre trains with swear by his stand-up and I believe the notion of GSP being gun shy are grossly overstated. I don't think this will be a walk in the park for either fighter, but I do believe St. Pierre will force Fitch into engaging him on the feet. He will force Fitch into making mistakes by doing what St. Pierre does best: removing fighters from their comfort zones.
We shall see.