UFC 167 – Bobby’s Preview and Predictions
On paper, this weekend’s UFC 167 pay-per-view looks like an amazing card – and I am definitely excited to see it – but history also suggests it could be a big letdown. Keep reading to see what I mean, and to get my preview and predictions.
If you’re a fan of MMA it’s easy to think, when you see some of the names on this card, that this one is a no brainer – it certainly has the potential to be a great night of fights. My fingers are crossed. I have seen A LOT of UFC pay-per-views, and too many times I’ve been disappointed by some of the biggest names in MMA, including guys on this card. So let’s just say I’m cautiously optimistic.
Below are my predictions for the 3 biggest fights of the night, and my thoughts on why each one could be a dud.
“Ruthless” Robbie Lawler vs. Rory “Ares” MacDonald
This one truly has the potential to be Fight of the Night, or maybe even one of the best fights of the year! Robbie Lawler is one of those fighters that, win or lose, is out to finish every fight. Lawler is a seasoned vet at only 31 years old, having 31 professional fights under his belt. And he has found new life since his return to the UFC earlier this year. Lawler has been on a big-time roll, winning both of his fights in devastating fashion this year. I have no doubt that he will be try to score his third KO of the year on Saturday night. My concern lies with Rory McDonald. This kid – he’s only 24 – looked like a world beater just a year ago. People were already talking about a title fight for this guy…he was DESTROYING guys (look up his past fights to see what I mean). Then he fought BJ Penn last December, and something was just off. He dominated Penn for 15 minutes and had several chances to finish him, but for some reason he kept backing off. Then came the fight against Jake Ellenberger. I predicted that as a possible fight of the decade – those two guys are beasts – but it ended up as one of the most disappointing fights I’ve seen in the UFC…and that’s not hyperbole. So now I’ve got to wonder what happened to the animal inside Rory McDonald. He has the ability to turn this into a 15-minute snoozer. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen.
My prediction: I think I’d like to see Lawler win this one – I like to see guys get rewarded for exciting fights. But if McDonald fights like he used to, he should be able to win this one – it just depends on which Rory McDonald shows up. So I guess I’m gonna pick Rory McDonald to win a close decision.
“Suga” Rashad Evans vs. Chael Sonnen
Again, on the surface this looks like a barn-burner. You have two MMA veterans…two top-ten contenders in the light heavyweight division…what can go wrong? Well, they are also two wrestlers that have more wins by decision than by KO or submission – so it’s possible that we could see a 15-minute grappling match. Having said that, both guys have also been known to put on an exciting fight from time to time. Rashad Evans has been known to have really good hands – he’s knocked out Tito Ortiz and Forrest Griffin, and shocked the world when he knocked Chuck Liddell out cold. And just because Chael Sonnen hasn’t won a fight by KO in about six years, doesn’t mean he can’t finish a fight. His last fight was a stunner when he submitted Shogun Rua. So the potential for a great fight is definitely there.
My prediction: This is a really tough one for me to pick. I’m pretty sure it’s gonna go the distance, and it will probably end up a 29-28 decision – I just don’t know who’s gonna get the win. Hmmm (I am literally deciding right as I’m writing this)…I’ll say Rashad ends up getting the win.
Georges “Rush” St. Pierre vs. Johny “Big Rigg” Hendricks
And in the main event of the evening, the UFC Welterweight belt is on the line as long-time champ Georges St. Pierre (GSP) defends his strap against the divisions #1 contender. It seems like each new contender GSP faces is billed as the guy who has the best chance to beat him. While that hasn’t happened in his last 8 title defenses, I do think GSP has his hands full with Johny Hendricks.
Hendricks has risen to the top of the division with his great wrestling and his ability to put guys to sleep with one well-placed left hand. He is an exciting guy to watch fight, because you know it could end at any point. At the same time, GSP has remained the champ by using his ridiculous wrestling, his ability to avoid taking damage, and his crazy athletic ability and game planning. The problem with GSP is that his fights have become predictable…predictably boring. Has he been dominant? Absolutely! But he’s also gone from a guy who used to destroy people (Matt Hughes and Matt Serra), to a guy who seems content to win a bunch of 50-45 decisions. Keep in mind I am a huge fan of GSP. He is without a doubt my fighter – so it hurts me to say that. I just wanna see the GSP I remember from about 2008-09…the fighter that made me a fan. I keep hoping, with each new fight, that the old GSP will show up. So here’s to hoping one more time.
My prediction: While Johny Hendricks certainly has the power to end this fight with one punch, he has to first land that punch to be affective, and GSP’s speed and quickness have allowed him to avoid getting punch in the face very often. And while I’m hoping GSP comes out and blows up Johny’s lead leg with a bunch of vicious leg kicks, and dots his face with a bunch of powerful jabs, all leading to a takedown followed by a rear naked choke – I have the feeling the fight will more like a bunch of takedowns with GSP content to stay in Johny’s guard, followed by some moderate ground and pound. In the end, Georges St. Pierre wins by decision – to be more specific I’m gonna say by a score of 49-46.