COMMENTARY | In one of the most anticipated match-ups of 2013, on November 16, at UFC 167, George St. Pierre will face off against the welterweight division's No. 1 contender, Johny Hendricks. St. Pierre has fought the elite of his division and has remained a UFC champion for just under six years. However, the Canadian faces a great obstacle at UFC 167. Hendricks, with his profound wrestling base and knockout power, possesses more than enough skill to dethrone the long-time champion.
Hendricks is a former NCAA Division I All-American. His grappling background is profound. This area of his arsenal was heavily utilized in his victory over former interim UFC welterweight champion Carlos Condit at UFC 158. The New Mexico native was stifled by Hendricks' movement and remained constantly aware of the takedown.
In that, at the UFC 158 post-fight conference, the former two-time world champion stated:
"It's pretty obvious what I need to do. I need to go and work on my wrestling. Both fights (UFC 158 against Hendricks and UFC 154 against St. Pierre) that was really the deciding factor. Both fights I put on a show, I left it all out there, but came up short in both instances, so I've got to go back and re-evaluate and got to keep working, improving."
However, St. Pierre's wrestling skills reign supreme in his division--bar none. He possesses the uncanny ability to control the majority of his opponents, while rendering them virtually helpless on the ground. His grappling skills, in combination with his extreme athleticism, have assisted the Canadian in becoming the most decorated welterweight champion in UFC history.
Advantage: Georges St. Pierre
Hendricks sports a 53 percent knockout rate compared to St. Pierre's 33 percent. The No. 1 contender has earned himself three UFC Knockout of the Night awards. Eight of Hendricks' nine finishes have come by way of knockout. In fact, his last two knockout wins lasted just 58 seconds combined--Martin Kampmann in 46 seconds and John Fitch in 12 seconds, respectively.
Regarding his knockout capabilities, at the UFC 158 post-fight conference, the Oklahoma native stated:
"I hit harder than him (St. Pierre). That's a proven fact. I'm just excited for the opportunity. Hopefully, I can finish him. That's my goal."
Hendricks is heavy-handed, and is more than capable of snapping the current welterweight champion's 11-fight win streak at UFC 167.
Advantage: Johny Hendricks
Throughout the years, St. Pierre has been criticized for inability to finish his opponents. Many have labeled his style of fighting as "boring" and "overly cautious." In fact, the welterweight champion hasn't finished a foe in four years, and sports the most wins by decision in the UFC (11). Regarding St. Pierre's fighting style, the current bantamweight champion, Ronda Rousey, stated:
"I don't have anything against him personally. But he's not the kind of fighter I like watching. He fights to win matches. He doesn't fight to defeat his opponents. I lost a lot of judo matches because of points fighters. It was extremely frustrating for me. And when I see that same style being played out in a different sport, it brings out the same reaction in me."
Hendricks, on the other hand, enjoys finishing his opponents. Nine of his professional 15 wins have come via knockout or submission. Given the No. 1 contender's ability to capitalize on opportunities and finish his opponents, Hendricks is poised to wrest away the title from the long-standing champion in St. Pierre at UFC 167.
Advantage: Johny Hendricks
Clinton Alexander Bullock has been a Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner for many years. He has studied mixed martial arts for 12 years and has been published in the Yahoo! News, Bleacher Report, Philadelphia Sunday Sun Newspaper, and Next Step Magazine. Follow him on MMAUnchained.net, Facebook & Twitter @clintonbullock.
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