Carlos Condit: 3 Reasons He Will Beat Johny Hendricks at UFC 158
Surging welterweight contender Johny Hendricks hasn't made many mistakes since losing to Rick Story at the Ultimate Fighter 12 Finale in December 2010.
Beating top 10 opponents like Martin Kampmann, Josh Koscheck and Jon Fitch have made Hendricks a viable candidate to fight the winner of the Georges St-Pierre-Nick Diaz title fight.
Unfortunately for Hendricks, his next foe, Carlos Condit, tends to capitalize on his opponents' most minuscule of mistakes.
In a bout that will include a pair of vastly contrasting fighting styles, Condit's move-heavy, slipping style will keep Hendricks off balance in chase mode.
Here's a look at three reasons Condit will outshine Hendricks in this de facto welterweight tournament bout.
Condit's Iron Jaw
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It's no secret that Hendricks' left hand causes considerable harm when it finds its mark.
However, if anyone in the UFC's welterweight division can withstand one of Hendricks' haymakers, its the ever-resilient Condit.
Although Condit was vulnerable to submissions in the early stages of his career, "The Natural Born Killer" has yet to suffer a knockout in 34 pro fights, including seven in the UFC and five in the WEC.
In his most recent outings, Condit's chin impressively withstood thunderous shots from St-Pierre, Nick Diaz, Rory MacDonald and Jake Ellenberger.
Nevertheless, "The Natural Born Killer" will certainly face the most stern litmus test of his career when he faces the heavy-handed Hendricks. Condit's key will be controlling the distance and forcing Hendricks to fall back on his base and wrestle.
Condit's 76-Inch Reach
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Few fighters in the welterweight division can say they sport a reach longer than Condit's, and Hendricks is definitely not one of them.
Condit will enjoy a seven-inch reach advantage over Hendricks (76 inches to 69), a natural benefit that could push him over the edge in an evenly matched contest.
Condit must utilize push kicks and a stiff jab if he intends to keep Hendricks off balance and out of range. If "Bigg Rigg" starts firing comfortably from the pocket, Condit might quickly find himself flattened and trying to remember what just hit him so hard.
But if Hendricks, a two-time NCAA wrestling champion, can't find his range against the much longer Condit, he may have to rely on his takedown prowess, something he hasn't done since losing to Story.
Superior Game Planning
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UFC president Dana White can try to diminish the relevance of Condit's head trainer, Greg Jackson, but White can't deny the fact that Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn have mastered the art of concocting ingenious game plans.
Arguably two of the most cerebral coaches in the sport, Jackson and famed striking coach Winkeljohn almost always contrive intricate game plans that put their fighters in positions to prevail.
Hendricks' striking coach, Steven Wright, has been instrumental in developing Bigg Rigg's understanding of range and distance in striking. But unlike Jackson, Wright doesn't advocate point fighting and admits that he prefers his fighters to primarily deliver strikes in the pocket.
For Hendricks' sake, Wright needs to make revisions and tweak his style to be more conducive to Condit's. If Bigg Rigg struggles to put his hands on Condit early, the Natural Born Killer will force him into his brand of scrap, which is a touch-and-go point fight.