UFC Welterweight bout: Jon Fitch vs. Johny Hendricks
Odds: (-260 Fitch / +200 Hendricks )
Betting Pick: Fitch
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In a featured Welterweight match up, up and coming contender Johny Hendricks will face his toughest challenge yet in the form of former title challenger Jon Fitch. Hendricks has only lost once as a professional and has carved out a very successful niche for himself in the UFC, but Fitch’s grinding, wall and stall style has proven extremely difficult for opponents to figure out. Fitch is firmly established as one of UFC’s top Welterweights, so if Hendricks wants a chance at establishing himself as a title contender this is a must-win fight for him.
Johny Hendricks is a tough young striker with very heavy hands and a developing ground game. He has great hand speed and a surplus of punching power to complement his sound technical boxing. He isn’t the most versatile fighter in the world, and his wrestling and submissions are very much a work in progress, but he has handled every step up in competition fairly well on the strength of his striking game. Fitch is the first real top contender Hendricks has had to deal with,and by far the best wrestler he has ever had to face. Hendricks’ only loss came when he was out wrestled by Rick Story. Fitch is more than capable of recreating that game plan, so Hendricks is going to need some tricks up his sleeve if he wants to score the biggest win of his career.
Jon Fitch has long been established as one of the top players in the Welterweight division. A stifling wrestler who uses the clinch no neutralize the action and control the pace of his fights, Fitch is one of the best in the world at imposing his will on his opponents. He is a very effective dirty boxer with great trip takedowns from the clinch and punishing ground and pound. It is easy to criticize Fitch for not being a good finisher or for having a boring fight style, but it is nearly impossible to deny that he is effective at what he does and skilled at doing enough to win fights.
There is no doubt that Hendricks is a talented young fighter with a promising future, but I don’t think there is a way for him to win this fight. Fitch is too tough, too durable,too experienced, and too good at shutting his opponents down. Hendricks has no answer for Fitch’s clinch game or his takedowns, and is going to find himself getting battered on the in side for three rounds. Fitch by unanimous decision.
Prediction: Jon Fitch by Unanimous Decision.