With seven knockout victories in only 13 professional fights, former two-time NCAA champion wrestler Hendricks has already turned into one of the more devastating strikers in the welterweight division. Instead of utilizing his high-level wrestling to drag fights to the ground, Hendricks prefers to use his grappling background to keep fights standing.
Though he too was a four-time All-American wrestler in college, Koscheck also prefers to use his wrestling in reverse to keep fights standing. Koscheck has shown to have a more diverse striking arsenal than Hendricks, but he tends to rely heavily on his overhand right. This gets him into trouble against smart fighters who are able to circle away from his right hand and counter.
Whereas Hendricks has never been knocked out in his MMA career, Koscheck was stopped by Paulo Thiago in February 2009. That being said, Koscheck brings more striking experience into this fight and will be prepared to defend the limited range of attacks that Hendricks has shown thus far.
If this fight stays standing, Hendricks' power gives him the better chance of finishing this fight, but Koscheck would likely have the edge in a fight where he plays it safe and takes Hendricks the distance.
Despite the outstanding wrestling credentials of both fighters, there's a good chance Hendricks and Koscheck will remain standing for most of their fight on Saturday night.
If one fighter does have an edge over the other in the MMA wrestling department, it may actually be the one with less NCAA titles resting on his mantle. This may not come as that big of a surprise considering Koscheck has had much more time to adapt his wrestling to his new sport of choice.
In his 22-fight career, Koscheck has only been taken down by three different opponents, St-Pierre, Mike Pierce and Dave Menne. Meanwhile, Hendricks has been dragged to the canvas in nearly half of his appearances.
That being said, Hendricks has proven that he can quickly regain his feet and score takedowns of his own. So, for the most part, expect the high-level wrestling abilities of Hendricks and Kocheck to cancel out in this matchup.