Looking Back at GSP vs Hendricks: Rewind and Fight Review

UFC-167The main event of UFC 167 between welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre and challenger Johny Hendricks last month (Nov. 16, 2013) resulted in one of the biggest controversial decisions of the year. When GSP’s hand was raised and he was awarded the split decision victory, the sold-out crowd at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, N.V. got on their feet and booed the decision in an uproar. Many MMA fans and members of the media felt the same way, as they expressed their frustrations through Twitter, being very quick to call the fight a “robbery.” That said, there were many others, myself included, who felt the decision was not a robbery whatsoever. After the five rounds, I felt it was a very close fight and the decision could have gone either way, so I was not in shock when Bruce Buffer announced read GSP’s name. Now that some time has gone by and my mind has been off the fight, so I am going back and re-watching it with fresh eyes and a clear mind. Let’s get started… The first time around, I thought round one was very close, but watching it again now with the volume off, it was clear to me that GSP was in control for four out of the five minutes. He ducked under a hard punch Hendricks threw, and secured a takedown. He quickly transitioned into a guillotine, and for a moment it appeared as if Hendricks was tapping, but this occurred as GSP was letting go, so it can be dismissed. It could be argued that Hendricks was just adjusting hip position. Hendricks was in control of the round for only a minute; maybe a minute and a half. While GSP was trying to take him down against the cage, Hendricks hurt him with some elbows to the head. He then turned things around and took GSP down. When GSP got back up, he controlled him against the cage for a bit. Other than that, GSP was the one in control for most of the round, and it was him that also landed the most significant strike of the round, which was a head kick towards the end of the frame. This was the closest and most controversial round of the fight and I have it 10-9 GSP heading into the second round. The second round had a lot of back and forth action on the feet, with Hendricks landing the more significant strikes. He badly hurt GSP in the beginning of the round, but once GSP recovered, the rest of the round was pretty close. GSP landed was being technical, landing some good jabs and a headkick, while Hendricks was connecting with some powerful punches. Simply because of how badly he hurt GSP in the beginning of the round, I score the second frame of action 10-9 for Hendricks, making it 19-19 heading into the third. The third round was very close. Watching the fight for the first time, it seemed as if GSP did a lot more, but watching it a second time with the sound off, it was a lot closer than I thought. Watching it without commentary on how tired and slow Hendricks is starting to look, it’s actually very close. GSP lands more strikes and has Octagon control for the first four minutes of the round. Hendricks scores a takedown in the final minute, and I could see that being enough to call it a 10-10 round. It would have been if he were able to keep him down, but GSP got back to his feet not long after being taken down. First time around, I thought he easily won the round. This time, I think he barely edged it. I give round three 10-9 to GSP, and have him winning the fight 29-28 heading into the championship rounds. Round four was yet another close round, but not one that is tough to score. Hendricks landed the better strikes on the feet, and got some ground and pound in. He also ended the round in dominant position, as he had GSP held against the fence, while landing some shots. I score the round 10-9 for Hendricks, which makes the fight dead even at 38-38 headed into the fifth and final round. Hendricks started the round very comfortably, being certain he was up three rounds to one. Too comfortably, I would say. He was bobbing his head and singing to himself as the round got started; he didn’t feel like he had to do much to win. He thought he had the fight in the bag, and that proved to be a mistake he may never forgive himself for. In the final frame of action, the champ got the better of Hendricks in every way; he outstruck him on the feet, scored a takedown and did a little work on the mat, and he also did some damage in the clinch against the cage. I score round 5 for GSP 10-9, and award him the fight 48-47. It was a very close fight, and initially, it seems Hendricks wins, because of how badly he hurt GSP in the beginning, and how bad GSP’s face looked after the main event was concluded. However, once you take the time to carefully score the fight, it becomes easier to score, and although clearly a close fight, you can’t dismiss the fact that GSP did enough to win those razor thin rounds.

Written by Gabe Killian

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