MMA NEWS: UFC 167: ST. PIERRE VS. HENDRICKS ODDS, PICKS & PREDICTIONS
Saturday November 16, 2013 10:00/8:00 ETPT
TV: MAIN EVENT: PPV PRELIMS: FOX SPORTS 1
Chicago, Illinois – November 13, 2013
UFC 167: ST.PIERRE VS. HENDRICKS
Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
MGM GARDEN ARENA: Las Vegas, Nevada (USA)
All great empires eventually fall. . . Like Rome, Egypt, Emelianenko and Silva before him GSP faces a descent of epic proportions when he meets Johny “Handbricks” Hendricks in the cage Saturday night. These legendary fighters, the Pound 4 Pounders fascinate fight fans with their Herculean efforts and leave us slack-jawed with their inevitable, almost tragic downfalls. A single five round fight can either cement an amazing athlete as the G.O.A.T (Greatest. Of. All. Time) or crown the new heir to the throne. On the Co-Main Event Chael Sonnen tries to sour “Suga” Rashad Evans in a pivotal LHW bout. Welter Weight Robbie Lawler will swing jackhammers at the gracefully elusive GSP prodigy Rory MacDonald. And I ask the question; will Josh Kosch put the Kibosh on Woodley? Tack on a 125lb “puncher” fest and you have UFC 167: St. Pierre VS. Hendricks. These are my picks and predictions for a Thanksgiving adjacent card with all the fixins’.
GEORGE “RUSH” ST.PIERRE (24-2)CHAMP VS.JOHNY HENDRICKS (15-1)#1
Looks like GSP is the last of the “Original Champs” standing in the realm of untouchable domination. With Anderson Silva being KO’d in ridiculous fashion by Chris Weidmen back in July and “The Last Emperor” Fedor Emelianenko’s invincible aura tarnished before his retirement this year, “Rush” is alone, hovering over the ultimate distinction in fight sports. St. Pierre’s momentum into this match is very high with his triumphant return from a potentially career ending injury, soundly defeating top tier welters Carlos Condit and Nick Diaz. It’s no mystery as to why GSP’s latest opponent has quite a few backers. Hendricks has the means to snuff out GSP’s dominating take down offense and extinguish the Champ’s lights with his heavy hands. More than half of the contender’s wins are by KO or TKO. If Hendricks can catch the elusive, elite Canadian with a precision haymaker within the first (3) rounds we may see a new man wearing that WW “bling”. For his sake, Hendricks better have improved his head movement to avoid GSP’s punishing jab. Ignoring that aspect of the Champ’s game will make for a long and bloody night for Hendricks.
Prediction: GSP BY UNANIMOUS DECISION.
“SUGA” RASHAD EVANS #4(23-3) VS.CHAEL SONNEN #6(29-13)
Sonnen’s last 2 losses were to Champs Silva and Jones and although finished soundly by them, no one can question Sonnen’s caliber of opponents these days. Coming off of a submission win against Shogun Rua in August, Sonnen will be fighting again with three months rest between bouts. Evans has had a couple more months of R&R, but wasn’t as dominate in his split-decision win over Dan Henderson. This is a telling bout for both fighters, with one ranking separating them in the LHW Division. Wrestling advantage goes slightly to Sonnen, both men are NCCA DIV I, but Sonnen was an Olympic alternate. That being said, I believe “Suga” has more than enough grappling skill to nullify Sonnen’s attempts and even score a few takedowns himself. Striking is in Rashad’s favor, so if it stays standing I can see him taking this match utilizing superior punching/kicking speed. Outcome will come down to who implements their game plan faster and executes it with pressing accuracy.
Prediction: “SUGA” BY UNANIMOUS DECISION.
RORY “ARES” MACDONALD #3 (15-1) VS.“RUTHLESS” ROBBIE LAWLER #10 (21-9)
What UFC fighter is a Welter-Weight from Canada, dominating his opponents with stiff jabs and at-will takedowns, but has proven striking/submission ability to finish a fight? I could easily be describing GSP, but I’m not. Is Rory MacDonald a Junior GSP? Maybe. So what about it? It’s working, with (5) straight wins for the St. Pierre disciple, “Ares” is poised to be the future of the WW division. Here comes “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler (even their ring name choices clearly separate them) with the exact opposite mindset. 18 of Lawler’s 21 victories have been by KO or TKO. He is a fighter that finishes by crushing opponents with flying knees, elbows, kicks and punches in bunches. However, McDonald has finished 12 fights out of his 15 wins. Not his strategy of late, but MacDonald can end a fight without a doubt. Public and professional opinion heavily leans towards a MacDonald decision win, but I see a different outcome.
Prediction: THE GOD OF WAR RUTHLESSLY SUBMITS LAWLER.
JOSH KOSCHECK (19-7) VS. TYRON WOODLEY #10 (11-2)
Injury has plagued UFC vet Josh Koscheck for the past year. 2013 also sees the Division I All-American (2) fights in the hole, losing to Lawler and Hendricks. Woodley came out strong in his UFC debut against Jay Hieron, notching a KO victory. The American Top Team member lost his latest bout via hard fought split against elite adversary Jake Shields. On one hand you have Koscheck fighting to remain in the organization, facing possible termination and Woodley just starting out in the octagon and looking to make a statement. Wrestling skills should cancel each other out, leaving a stand up game, which I give to Woodley with a 57% significant striking rate over Koscheck’s 32.
Prediction: WOODLEY BY REF STOPPAGE GNP.
TIM ELLIOT VS (10-3)#7 VS. ALI BAGAUTINOV (11-2)
This Fly-Weight bout kicks off the main card with a stylistic match-up that could either garnish Fight/KO/Submission of the Night or turn into a snore-fest of epic forgetfulness. Elliot is the Top Ten Fly with NCAA ranked wrestling skills, while Bagautinov is the dangerous X-factor, possessing killer submission skills and punching power. Elliot has a bit more UFC experience (2-1) over Bagautinov (1-0). World Combat Sambo Champion Bagautinov has 11 overall wins with 5 by KO and 5 by submission. Elliot may want to play it safe and neutralize Bagautinov’s dangerous abilities by closing distance, utilizing under-hooks and “cage grating” the Russian. I see Elliot walking into a Russian blender with 3 speeds; Crush, Puree and Whip!
Prediction: BAGAUTINOV BY UGLY SUBMISSION 2ND ROUND