Preview & Live Blog of UFC 167: GSP Makes His 11th Straight Title Defense Against Knock-Out Artist Johny Hendricks
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UFC Welterweight Championship Match: Georges St-Pierre defeated Johny Hendricks via decision to retain the title (48-47, 47-48, 48-47)
In a controversial decision, Georges St-Pierre defeated Johny Hendricks by decision. Hendricks dominated the first two rounds, taking the champion down in the first round and punishing him, and then stunning St-Pierre with two huge upper-cuts in the second round. St-Pierre bounced back in the third round despite a late takedown by Hendricks, and pressuring the challenger. Hendricks took control back in the fourth round, busting the champion open after taking him down and attacking with a ground-and-pound that busted St-Pierre open. The man known as GSP fought the fifth round like he was on the verge of losing the fight, not allowing the former NCAA wrestling champion to take him down, and eventually hitting Hendricks with a left-right combo to set up a takedown, and attempting a choke-hold and Kumara late in the round to take the round.
After the fight, St-Pierre, who was very emotional and admitted he cannot remember portions of the fight, announced he was taking an extended break from the sport of mixed martial arts to focus on a personal matter, which UFC president, Dana White, did not think was fair for Hendricks, who he felt was robbed by the judges.
"GSP owes it to the fans, that belt, this company, and Johny Hendricks to give him the opportunity to fight for that belt," said White during the UFC post-fight interview to Ariel Helwani.
Light Heavyweight: Rashad Evans defeated Chael Sonnen via TKO in Round 1
Sonnen attempted a takedown right away only to get stuffed immediately by Evans, backing Sonnen to the cage. While jostling for position, Evans took Sonnen down, pummeling with rights and elbows as Sonnen attempted to protect himself with a half-guard. Sonnen turned around, face-down, which allowed Evans to mount him and unload with a barrage of punches. Helpless and unable to defend himself, Sonnen tapped out on the mat, causing Herb Dean to stop the match.
Welterweight: Robbie Lawler defeated Rory MacDonald via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
While Round 1 was a close round where both Lawler and MacDonald were feeling each other out, with Lawler working leg kicks from the outside. Round 2 saw MacDonald take control as he countered Lawler's kicks with a series of kicks and body shots, eventually taking Lawler down with a double-leg takedown against the fence, with MacDonald ending the round sitting on top of Lawler and dropping elbows and punches from the top position. Round 3 saw MacDonald get stumbled by a solid right that hurt him, with MacDonald getting in his guard immediately. After the referee stood them up, Lawler stumbled MacDonald again, in the third, forcing MacDonald back into his guard and before referee Herb Dean stood them up again. Lawler continued to pummel MacDonald, dropping him again with a combo, dropping bombs on MacDonald as he tried to protect himself. Lawler got into a side-guard, controlling the pace of the round, continuing to punish the MacDonald. MacDonald got a late takedown in the round and punished Lawler with a series of elbow, but it was not enough to snatch the round or the victory from Lawler.
Welterweight: Tyron Woodley defeated Josh Koscheck via first round KO
Despite their acumen in wrestling, Koscheck and Woodley started right away throwing bombs at each other to start the fight, with Woodley setting the pace to turn the match into a brawl. Woodley looked like he knocked out Koscheck down, who hung on by getting into his full-guard against Woodley. After referee Herb Dean stood them up, brawl continued with Woodley taking Koscheck out with a vicious and powerful right to the chin, followed up by another right that ended the match, giving Woodley the victory.
Flyweight: Ali Bagautinov defeated Tim Elliott via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Bagautinov took the first round, adjusting to Elliot's unorthodox style, making him pay in the first round with a straight right, following up with a left, and a kick to Elliot's face that sent him reeling back. Bagautinov continued controlling the pace in Round 2, slamming Elliot down when he attempted a standing guillotine midway through the second. Elliot tried to comeback, ending Round 3 with a huge slam and a knee to Bagautinov but it was not enough to convinve the judges in the decision.
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is celebrating their 20th anniversary as a company with long-time welterweight Georges St-Pierre (26-2 MMA record) headlining against knockout artist Johny Hendricks (16-1) in the UFC 167 pay-per-view main event.
St-Pierre, known as GSP to his loyal fans, is looking for his 11th straight victory in a row and his tenth straight title defense, after having pretty much cleared out the division with victories over B.J. Penn, Thiago Alves, Dan Hardy, Josh Koscheck, Jake Shields, Carlos Condit, and Nick Diaz. A win over Hendricks would make him the first fighter in UFC history with 19 victories in The Octagon.
"When I fought Nick Diaz and they raised my hand right away my mind switched and, bang, I'm thinking about Johny Hendricks," said St-Pierre to Sports Illustrated after his unanimous-decision victory in March.
Hendricks, a powerful striker who was a four-time All-American and NCAA Division I college wrestling champion in 2005 and 2006 for the Oklahoma State University at the 165-pound division, had to beat out Condit, via decision, to finally get his title match against GSP. Hendricks believes his wrestling experience gives him a distinct advantage that other contenders like Condit, Koscheck, and Diaz lacked going up against St-Pierre.
"I don't think he can go into the Oklahoma State wrestling room and win a match," said Hendricks to Fox Sports. "MMA wrestling is totally different. Guys are standing a lot taller and he has a long reach. Hopefully I can squash that this Saturday."
While Hendricks has a punchers chance to pull off the upset, St-Pierre is considered the most cerebral fighter on the UFC roster, so much so that some fans find his matches boring, having won eight of his last nine fights by decision. St-Pierre doe not believe he is a boring fighter, countering that he cannot finish fights when his opponents do not allow themselves to get knocked out or submitted.
"Sometimes an opponent breaks mentally and he's not fighting to win anymore. He's fighting not to lose," said St-Pierre to Bleacher Report. "He's not taking as many risks and he's only thinking about his well-being and not getting hurt. It's very hard to finish an opponent in these conditions."
The rest of UFC 167 card:
Light Heavyweight: Rashad Evans vs Chael Sonnen
Welterweight: Rory MacDonald vs Robbie Lawler
Welterweight: Josh Koscheck vs Tyron Woodley
Flyweight: Tim Elliott vs Ali Bagautinov
To watch the Georges St-Pierre - Johny Hendricks UFC welterweight title match, please contact your cable or satellite provider for information on how to order the pay-per-view event.
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