Georges St-Pierre doesn't like getting hit, and he has enjoyed a long reign atop the UFC’s 170-pound divisional by avoiding direct hits.
But his elusiveness and ability to impose his will on an opponent get its biggest challenge in Las Vegas on Saturday as UFC 167 arrives after months of hype.
Johny Hendricks, the Oklahoman wrestler with a hillbilly drawl and a left hand that puts men to sleep, is a significant underdog on the UFC 167 betting lines at all sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
But as he showed against top welterweights Jon Fitch (asleep in 12 seconds) and Martin Kampmann (out cold in 46 seconds), he has more than a puncher’s chance of winning here.
GSP, the French-speaking Montrealer who has been champion since 2007, is a -260 favorite, making Hendricks an attractive +220 underdog payout.
“Johny has promised to put his hands on GSP and he is supremely confident in his punching power,” said Jack Randall, an analyst at OddsShark.com, who was interviewed Friday. “But he showed in his last fight against Carlos Condit that he can get tired swinging for the fences, which could spell his doom with the relentless pace GSP will push.”
Indeed, Hendricks reverted to his wrestling background late in the Condit fight, after he started losing exchanges in the stand-up. He will not have the same wrestling advantage against St-Pierre, who is regarded as one of MMA’s best on the mat.
“The underdog line is tempting on Hendricks and we have seen wagers going on the UNDER 4.5 rounds. The rationale is that Johny might knock out Georges early, but if he doesn't, Georges might grind out a submission later in the fight.”
Odds Shark Prediction: GSP by submission
The card is stacked with a truly amazing lineup of crowd-pleasing fights as the company marks its 20th anniversary. The man who won the first two UFC events—Brazil’s Royce Gracie—has been in Las Vegas promoting the fight.
The co-main event puts perennial title challengers Chael Sonnen and Rashad Evans in the Octagon together. Evans was a -170 favorite over his FoxSports1 analyst buddy.
BestUFCOdds.com Prediction: Sonnen by decision
Current UFC 167 odds, from Bovada, check for line updates closer to fight time:
Gian Villante -350
Cody Donovan 265
Will Campuzano 325
Sergio Pettis -450
Jason High -300
Anthony Lapsley 230
Edwin Figueroa 265
Erik Perez -350
Rick Story -220
Brian Ebersole 170
Ed Herman 170
Thales Leites -210
Evan Dunham -110
Donald Cerrone -120
Tim Elliott -155
Ali Bagautinov 125
Rashad Evans -190
Chael Sonnen 155
Rory MacDonald -365
Robbie Lawler +275
Josh Koscheck -110
Tyron Woodley -120
Johny Hendricks 210
Georges St-Pierre -270