UFC 158: Rory MacDonald Out, Co-Main Event Now Carlos Condit vs. Johny Hendricks

UFC-158 The UFC 158 card suffered a blow when Rory MacDonald pulled out of his co-main event match with Carlos Condit due to a back injury. The card is scheduled for March 16 in Montreal, Canada leaving less than a month for fighter preparation after the fighters sign, so it is definitely nice work to put this event back together this quickly. Top welterweight contender Johny Hendricks, who has been clamoring for a title shot, will step in to face Carlos Condit. What we are left with is a solid fight on paper, and probably a near Pick ’em fight when the lines are released. Both Condit and Hendricks face adversity heading into the fight, but a great deal of those negatives seem to cancel each other out. Condit was preparing for Rory MacDonald, who physically is tall, long and lanky, while Hendricks is a much more compact athlete. The same issue confronts Hendricks however, as his original opponent Jake Ellenberger is not tall and lanky like Condit, so both men are facing a high level opponent switch with a shortened camp to prepare for it. Both men should enter the match with focus and motivation. This has not been a weak spot for either man so far in his UFC career, but neither man holds an advantage and both men really need the win. Condit is coming off a loss in a failed attempt to take Georges St Pierre’s UFC welterweight title. Condit knows a high level win like Hendricks puts him right back in the title picture, while a second loss in a row would be considered a major setback. Hendricks has one punch, knock you out and leave you in convulsions type of power that is rare. He has put it on display several time in his climb up the rankings of the UFC, including in his last fight when he flattened Martin Kampmann in less than a minute. Yet it is not enough to get him a title shot as he was bypassed for Nick Diaz. The fact is that in the current UFC pecking order, a win over Condit will carry more weight and do more for Hendricks career than beating Ellenberger, so he has to look to seize the opportunity and take what Condit has right now. Since the fight starts standing, it will be interesting to see how Hendricks finds his range against the mobile Condit with his punches, all the while defending Condit’s unorthodox knees and kicks as well. Because of his diversity of attack on the feet, Condit may enjoy a slight edge on the feet. If it goes to the ground, the fight will likely see Hendricks use his wrestling and his stocky body type to work from the top position. Again, Condit may enjoy some advantages, as he can also finish the fight by submission on the ground, whereas Hendricks is more likely to use the ground and pound approach. The fight is a Pick ’em or near Pick ’em fight, with Condit probably being the slight favorite. Should Condit come in the underdog for some reason, that is one to be all over, as Condit is the more complete of the two fighters with more weapons in his arsenal that get him out of the fight. Look for this line to be up at the books very shortly. Jake Ellenberger, who was Hendricks original opponent, is reported to be facing off against former Strikeforce fighter Nathan Marquardt, so he remains on the main card. This is another hard fight to set a line on….

Written by Miguel

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