Carlos Condit was expecting to see a familiar face Saturday night at UFC 158, but it will not work out that way.
His original opponent, Rory MacDonald, was forced off the card due to an injury.
Now Condit faces perhaps an even tougher challenge in the form of former NCAA Division I wrestling champion Johny Hendricks.
Hendricks presents some true match up problems for virtually anyone at welterweight—including "The Natural Born Killer." Condit should expect a tough fight coming into UFC 158.
He will need to employ these tactics to secure a victory.
Carlos Condit can do a lot to increase his chances of winning by using proper footwork and a lot of it. The old saying "you can't hit what you can't see" fits perfectly into Condit's match up with Johny Hendricks.
Everyone knows Hendricks is just waiting for the opportunity to unload his vicious left hand while on the feet. Condit can avoid facing that damaging strike if he can maneuver himself out of harms way with his feet.
Facing a southpaw, footwork and proper foot placement is even more crucial and I have no doubt Greg Jackson along with Mike Winklejohn will have told Condit he needs to keep moving for all 15 minutes of the fight.
Expect to see "The Natural Born Killer" circling on the outside much like he did against Nick Diaz in order to avoid Hendrick's punches or have ample time to cover up.
Another big part of Johny Hendricks' game is his wrestling ability.
Hendricks was a four-time NCAA Division I All-American wrestler at Oklahoma State, and a two-time NCAA champion.
He's one of the most decorated collegiate wrestlers to transition to MMA in recent memory. Carlos Condit will have his hands full when it comes to stopping the takedowns of Hendricks.
If Condit comes in overly aggressive, like he has in the past, he could find himself on the canvas for most of the 15 minute bout.
However, Condit has shown incredible patience lately for a guy who is among the most aggressive fighters in the sport.
"The Natural Born Killer" should have a field day on the feet if he can pick his spots carefully while keeping a good base to defend the takedowns of Hendricks.
Odds are Carlos Condit will end up on the canvas at least once in his contest with Johny Hendricks. I just believe the wrestling of Hendricks is too good for Condit to continually stop all night.
When Condit finds himself on the mat, he should avoid looking for submissions.
Although we haven't really seen the jiu-jitsu skills of Hendricks, Condit will quickly find himself behind on the scorecard—something he can't afford in a three-round fight.
Condit's advantage in conditioning won't play as much of a factor in the shorter fight as it would a five-round bout. That won't leave much time for him to make a comeback if he starts falling behind on the judges' scorecards due to the takedowns of Hendricks.
Instead of attempting to look for a submission, Condit should look to wiggle back to his feet where he holds the advantage.
Staying on the ground while attempting to look for submissions only plays to the strength of Hendricks.