UFC Opening Odds Breakdown: Welterweight Title Georges St-Pierre vs. Johny Hendricks

Johny HendricksUFC Welterweight Title Fight UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St-Pierre (-240) Profile: Without a doubt one of the greatest fighters in the history the MMA, Georges St-Pierre (24-2) has been virtually untouchable in the welterweight division for the better part of the last decade. He has defended his welterweight title eight straight times – second only to middleweight champ Anderson Silva – and has dominated nearly every fight he’s been in since 2007. He takes his training to another level, surrounds himself with the best coaches and is an unbelievable athlete. GSP has cardio for days and is technically a phenomenal boxer and wrestler. He can stifle his opponents with a smothering ground game or keep the fight standing if he has the advantage on the feet. The only two smudges on GSP’s stellar resume came via a shocking loss to Matt Serra in 2007, and the first setback of his career against Matt Hughes for the welterweight title back in 2004. As of late, GSP has taken heat for his inability or possible reluctance to finish his opponents in the Octagon, as if he’s playing it safe. These statements are somewhat unfounded since he broke Josh Koscheck’s orbital bone in a bludgeoning performance and nearly yanked Dan Hardy’s arm out of the socket in their respective fights. GSP has successfully recovered from a torn ACL in his right knee that kept him out of action for more than a year-and-a-half, grinding out consecutive UD wins against Carlos Condit and Nick Diaz over the past four months. UFC #1 Welterweight Contender Johny Hendricks (+190) Profile: Johny Hendricks (15-1) is riding a six-fight winning streak and coming off a Fight of the Night performance in a unanimous decision victory against Condit at UFC 158. In his previous two bouts before that, he pulled off a shocking first-round knockout of Martin Kampmann at UFC 154 after earning a controversial split decision against Koscheck six months earlier. The 29-year-old Hendricks was a two-time NCAA wrestling champion at Oklahoma State and also previously knocked out Koscheck’s teammate Jon Fitch in just 12 seconds at UFC 141 on December 30, 2011. He is the only fighter in UFC history to knock out two different opponents in less than a minute. The only loss for Hendricks in his MMA career came by UD against Rick Story at The Ultimate Fighter 12 Finale on December 4, 2010. He is 10-1 in the UFC overall, with five of the wins resulting in a TKO/KO and four of them ending in the first round. Four of his past six bouts have earned post-fight bonuses, including three Knockouts of the Night. Opening UFC Odds Analysis: MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas made the champion St-Pierre a solid -240 favorite (bet $240 to win $100) while the challenger Hendricks opened as a +190 underdog (bet $100 to win $190) at Several Bookmakers sportsbook. Besides a potential superfight against Silva, GSP can no longer dodge Hendricks, who is the obvious No. 1 contender for his belt right now. Hendricks is getting a lot of respect with this opening number due to his enormous knockout power and elite wrestling skills, a lethal combination that St-Pierre has not seen from an opponent in quite some time if ever. GSP has won his last six bouts via UD, and the biggest question most MMA bettors will be guessing at going into this title fight is whether or not Hendricks has the endurance to go hard for five full rounds and win over the judges at the same time. Hendricks looked tired at times in his win over Condit but was able to overpower his opponent with takedowns whenever he needed a breather. St-Pierre is used to doing the same thing, controlling his foes while on top with vicious ground-and-pound. Both of these fighters are very strong and powerful with their legs as well as their upper bodies. Hendricks will likely test GSP with his left fist early and often and see how the champ holds up against it. While St-Pierre has been able to weather storms in the past, Hendricks presents him with a unique challenge he has not seen before, a similar style boxer who can end the bout with a flurry or just one punch. If GSP can avoid taking major punishment from the Hendricks hammer, he should be able to use his experience and conditioning to his advantage over the long haul.

Written by Matty

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