While Georges St-Pierre is seen as a no-brainer pick among UFC 129 betting fans as one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world, there still are a few questions surrounding the French Canadian superstar heading into Saturday's welterweight title fight against challenger Jake Shields.
GSP 's wrestling is Olympic-caliber despite never competing seriously outside of MMA, his striking is ferocious now that he's spent considerable time with boxing savant Freddie Roach, and his athleticism is unquestionably world-class, especially when it comes to the MMA world.
But some still question his Brazilian jiu-jitsu prowess coming off of last year's title win over Dan Hardy, even though GSP dominated his opponent. The March 2010 fight showed that GSP still had serious room for improvement in terms of grappling as he had Hardy dead to rights on the ground in kimura and armbar attempts only to show the world that he wasn't quite technical enough to submit him.
Against Shields, he will have to be at his absolute best as a grappler to survive against one of the best submission artists in mixed martial arts today.
Despite Shields' potential advantage on the ground, he is listed as a serious UFC 129 betting underdog heading into Saturday night.
St-Pierre (21-2 record) is a -450 to +325 favorite over Shields (26-4), the former Strikeforce champ who has switched between welterweight and middleweight and had a solid but unspectacular debut UFC win over Martin Kampmann.
The odds are quite skewed against Shields considering the California native is on a remarkable 15-fight winning streak and has the wrestling to hang with GSP, something Hardy was exposed for in their fight.
Josh Koscheck, GSP's last opponent, also was thought to have the same wrestling background necessary to make for a close fight with St-Pierre.
But St-Pierre's devastating new jab was on full display for five rounds as he battered and bruised Koscheck without even letting him getting into range for one of his explosive takedowns.
Considering that Shields' striking is borderline rudimentary among top-level UFC fighters, it's hard to see how he will be able to get close to GSP without eating leather all night long.
Shields' best hope to get GSP to the mat will be to force some sort of scramble during which he can grab a hold of him and try to secure underhooks or a leg for a takedown.
But it's not going to be easy considering how well-rounded the champ has become.
GSP has also trained extensively on his ground game with masters such as Renzo Gracie in the past year and a half and his jiu-jitsu game is still among the most solid in the 170-pound division.
St-Pierre is so well-rounded and so explosive that it's heard to see Shields being the man to dethrone him, even despite his impressive credentials.
UFC 129 betting pick: Georges St-Pierre (-450).