The UFC is presenting an excellent fight card for UFC 167 and that is only fitting because this event marks the 20th anniversary of the promotion. The UFC has come a long way from a rather modest beginning in 1993 to where it is now, which is the premier mixed martial arts organization in the world. The UFC’s popularity really started accelerating after Frank and Lorenzo Fretitta and their partner, current UFC President Dana White, bought the promotion in 2001 and proceeded to build it into the greatest professional combat sport organization that the world has ever seen. The UFC has become huge in the United States, but it has steadily grown in popularity around the world as well over the course of the last 10 years and is now a very valuable global brand.
On to the fights, at least the Main Event and the top two under that fight.
I’d like to present my picks, along with detailed analysis of each fight, but unfortunately I’m running a little late tonight and I don’t have time for that right now. The undercard is already underway and I will be leaving shortly to see the fights at one of sports bars in downtown San Diego.
Welterweight Championship Georges St-Pierre (Champion) -225 vs Johny Hendricks +250
Johny “Big Rig” Hendricks is the latest in a long line of formidable opponents. Hendricks is a former D-1 wrestling champ out of OK State and has developed into a very dangerous striker, with several big KO’s to his credit. He is a real threat to GSP, but the Canadian Champ is simply one of the most talented fighters the UFC has ever seen. GSP is always well prepared and is very disciplined. He figures out where he has the advantage over an opponent and brings the fight there. GSP will stand and trade strikes if he has advantage in that facet of the fight he will keep it standing. If there is more opportunity on the ground he is very adept at taking his opponent down. Will he be able to do that against Hendricks? I’m tempted to say no, but I can’t bet against GSP demonstrated long term success.
GSP has won 11 straight fights since his last loss in 2007. I don’t think the win streak ends here.
GSP by decision
Light Heavyweight Rashad Evans -200 vs. Chael Sonnen +185
This is an important fight for both men. Both are very experienced, crafty veterans and the winner will stay on track for a possible title fight. The loser may end up being a gatekeeper for the LHW division, which I’m sure is a role that neither man wants. As the odds indicate, this should close fight. Both fighters were outstanding college wrestlers and subsequently added other weapons to their respective MMA arsenals. I think Evans is the better striker, but Sonnen is probably better on the ground. Both a tenacious and never give up. Evans is a former LHW champ and Sonnen came very close to being the Middleweight Champ when he almost defeated Anderson Silva in one of the greatest UFC fights of all time. Evans and Sonnen have both lost to current LHW champ Jon Jones, so they have that in common too.
I really don’t think I would want to bet on this fight, but I would pick Sonnen if I had to. I was impressed by his last fight, in which submitted Shogun Rua and I think he will figure out a way to grind out a win, but I won’t be too surprised if Rashad wins either, he is the favorite after all.
Chael Sonnen by decision
Welterweight Rory MacDonald -355 vs. Robbie Lawler +320
This should be an interesting test for 24 yr old MacDonald, who is currently ranked #3 in the division by the UFC. Lawler, at 31, with record of 20-9-1, is a tough veteran of the sport and has KO’d his last two opponents. Both are very well rounded, but MacDonald has truly outstanding striking skills and I don’t think Lawler will be able to counter MacDonald’s dangerous strikes for three rounds.
Rory MacDonald wins by KO, 3rd Round.