UFC 167: Georges St. Pierre vs. Johny Hendricks Head-to-Toe Breakdown

Nov 17, 2013, 1:18 AM

It’s been a historic second half of the year in UFC, as we’ve already witnessed longtime champions Anderson Silva and Benson Henderson dethroned.

Combine that with UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones never looking more vulnerable than he did against Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 165 and the ever-durable Dan Henderson suffering his first knockout loss in his long and illustrious career on Nov. 9, and fans everywhere are beginning to wonder which fighter will be the next to fall back down to earth.

That question may very well be answered on Saturday as longtime UFC welterweight champion and pay-per-view kingpin Georges St. Pierre puts his belt on the line against former NCAA wrestling national champion Johny Hendricks.

It’s a special night indeed as UFC celebrates its 20th anniversary with a night filled with nonstop action, culminating in a main event that is guaranteed to end in historic fashion.

Striking

Stylistically, the standup aspect of the fight game its about as black and white as two fighters can get. With that being said, it’s no secret what both men will look to do come fight night. St. Pierre, who has landed the most significant strikes-at and most total strikes-at in UFC history, has always utilized his phenomenal footwork, speed and picture perfect technique to batter his opponent for 25 minutes. Combine this with the second highest striking accuracy in UFC welterweight history, and St. Pierre will undoubtedly look to stay on the outside and utilize his legendary jab to keep Hendricks and his Mack truck of a left hand at bay.

Easier said than done as Hendricks and his vaunted left hand has put away four opponents within the first minute of the first round, a feat only three other UFC fighters have ever accomplished.

With Hendricks sporting a 6-to-0 knockdown ratio, St. Pierre will certainly have his hands full if his opponent manages to close the distances and connect with even one powerful haymaker. However with St. Pierre holding a striking defense rate of 75.1, the highest in UFC welterweight history, Hendricks may hitting nothing more than air for the majority of the fight so the edge has to go to the champion.

Edge: St. Pierre

Wrestling/Grappling

Simply looking at each fighter’s wrestling credentials, this mathchup isn’t even close as Hendricks will enter the octagon as a former four-time NCAA Division I All-American, a three time Big 12 Conference Champion and a two time NCAA Division I National Champion as a member of the historic Oklahoma State University wrestling program.

His skills have never been on display better than in his fight against former UFC interim welterweight champion Carlos Condit, at UFC 158, which saw “Big Rigg” secure 12 takedowns, the fourth most ever in a single UFC fight. With an average 5.47 takedowns per 15 minutes of fighting, the highest average in UFC welterweight history, 57.1 percent takedown accuracy, Hendricks has proven he is capable of taking the fight to the canvas whenever and however he wants.

But St. Pierre is no slouch in the wrestling department as he has completed a total of 84 successful takedowns and has a takedown accuracy of 75 percent, both of which are the highest in UFC history. Combine this with a takedown defense rate of 88 percent, the highest in UFC welterweight history, and the champion should prove more than capable of combating the former collegiate standout’s wrestling attack. However, St. Pierre has never faced an opponent as powerful and explosive as Hendricks, who brings a skillset into the octagon that the champion has never experienced before, so the edge will tip slightly in challengers’ favor.

Edge: Hendricks

Submission

A fairly easy decision here as Hendricks has shown very little submission skill inside a UFC octagon. With only one submission victory in his MMA career, Hendricks has not shown to be much of a threat working off his back and even if he did he would have almost no chance of submitting the champions who showed tremendous submission defense against Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu standout Nick Diaz at UFC 158.

Hendricks’ best chances of pulling off a submission win would be to use his tremendous strength and size to hold down St. Pierre and lock on an arm triangle or guillotine. Easier said than done as St. Pierre has spend very little time working off his back and has proven almost impossible to hold down. Combine this with 22 career submission attempts, the second most in UFC welterweight history, and five career submission victories and the edge has to go to St. Pierre.

Edge: St. Pierre

Prediction

Hendricks is being billed as St. Pierre’s biggest challenge to his welterweight championship. With explosive knockout power and world class wrestling skills, the champion will have to bring his A-game if he hopes to walk out of the octagon with his belt in hand.

St. Pierre will undoubtedly look to jab and counter his way to victory like he did against past fighters with a similar wrestling background. St. Pierre should have no problem earning another unanimous decision and surpass Matt Hughes for most victories inside a UFC octagon, but more impressively claiming sole possession of the most championship victories in UFC history.

St. Pierre via Unanimous Decision

Here are the rest of my predictions for the main card and preliminary bouts:

• Rashad Evans def. Chael Sonnen
• Rory MacDonald def. Robbie Lawlor
• Josh Koscheck def. Tyrone Woodley
• Ali Bagautinov def. Tim Elliot
• Donald Cerrone def. Evan Dunham
• Ed Herman def. Thales Leites
• Rick Story def. Brian Ebersole
• Erik Perez def. Edwin Figueroa
• Jason High def. Anthony Lapsley
• Sergio Pettis def. Will Campuzano
• Gian Villante def. Cody Donavan

Penguin Air

MMA

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UFC 167: Georges St. Pierre vs. Johny Hendricks Head-to-Toe Breakdown