UFC Welterweight Title Bout: Geroges St-Pierre vs. Johny Hendricks
Odds: ( -280 St-Pierre / +220 Hendricks )
Betting Pick: St-Pierre
Bet on this fight at Bovada
In the main event of UFC 167, UFC Welterweight champion and pound-for-pound king Georges “Rush” St. Pierre will put his title on the line against surging contender Johny Hendricks. St. Pierre has dominated the UFC Welterweight division for years with his dominant wrestling and top control, but Hendricks has blazed his way to a title shot with solid wrestling of his own and devastating punching power. If St. Pierre wants to avoid a repeat of the nightmare he experienced against Matt Serra, he’s going to need to show off some of the dynamic striking he used to rely on more.
Johny Hendricks has put himself into title contention with a combination of close, grinding wins and spectacular knockouts. Hendricks is a tough, durable fighter with solid wrestling and good takedown defense. What separates him from the pack at Welterweight, though, is his devastating power punching. St. Pierre is by far the sport’s most dominant wrestler, and Hendricks is going to have to be on point stuffing his takedowns, but St. Pierre has been notoriously shy about getting punched since his loss to Serra, and if Hendricks can stuff a few takedowns and make St. Pierre pay with strikes, he will be in a great position to win this fight.
Following Anderson Silva’s recent loss to Chris Weidman, Georges St. Pierre has cemented himself atop the MMA pound-for-pound list. With one minor aberration aside, St. Pierre has ruled the Welterweight division with an iron fist for years. There is nothing that St. Pierre can’t do at a top level, but he has become increasingly reliant on grinding out wins with unstoppable takedowns and positional control. It is not always the most exciting thing to watch, but it is undeniably effective. No one has found an answer for St. Pierre’s wrestling yet, and he has destroyed other wrestlers, top strikers, and world-class grapplers with equal efficiency. Against Hendricks, who has good takedown defense and one-punch knockout power, St. Pierre will need to be careful in extended engages on the feet. He also needs to time his takedown attempts well, because if he gets stuffed and hit on the way out, he might find himself in trouble.
Johny Hendricks is definitely a top Welterweight and quite possibly a future UFC champion, but picking against St. Pierre is a fool’s bet. Until someone can keep St. Pierre from taking them down literally at will, he is not going to lose a fight if he fights for control. St. Pierre has utterly outwrestled multiple wrestlers as effective as Hendricks, and I don’t see Hendricks being able to keep this fight standing long enough to be effective. St. Pierre will ground and pound him through five long rounds en route to a unanimous decision.
Prediction: Georges St-Pierre by Unanimous Decision.