Welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre (24-2-0) will face the toughest test of his career Saturday night against Johny Hendricks (15-1-0) in the main event of UFC 167.
Each man has elite skills inside the Octagon, and the contrasting styles and abilities will result in one of the most interesting welterweight title fights since St-Pierre won the interim championship in 2007.
Here is all the vital viewing information MMA fans need to witness Saturday’s show and the keys to victory for each of the competitors.
Where: MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas
When: Saturday, November 16 at 10 p.m. ET
Watch: Pay-Per-View (call local service provider)
Live Stream: UFC TV
Georges St-Pierre’s Keys to Victory
For Georges St-Pierre, the only key to victory is sticking to his game plan.
While St-Pierre’s style has been called methodical, slow and sometimes boring, a heavy influence of wrestling in his arsenal has been the biggest contributing factor to his success. As one of the best grapplers in MMA today, he had no issue in the past taking his opponents to the mat and grinding out a victory using the ground-and-pound attack.
Despite earning 11 straight wins, including eight successful title defenses, his in-ring approach has forced many of the blood-hungry fans to turn on GSP. The champion told Jonathan Snowden of Bleacher Report about why his fights always tend to go the distance:
Sometimes an opponent breaks mentally, and he's not fighting to win anymore. He's fighting not to lose. He's not taking as many risks, and he's only thinking about his well-being and not getting hurt. It's very hard to finish an opponent in these conditions.
Hendricks is also one of the best wrestlers in MMA and will attempt to match GSP move for move. With the challenger’s ability to sprawl and avoid the champion's shot attempts, St-Pierre must avoid the frustration of being stifled and stick to his game plan.
GSP will eventually break through Hendricks’ defense, and he must do as much damage while in the mount positions to earn a hard-fought decision victory. While the win in this fashion wouldn’t be pretty, it would continue proving St-Pierre is one of the best champions in UFC history.
Johny Hendricks’ Keys to Victory
St-Pierre may be known for his wrestling abilities, but No. 1 contender Johny Hendricks is a two-time NCAA champion in the sport. While GSP has faced tough grapplers in the past, none have the resume that the four-time All-American boasts.
Hendricks understands that St-Pierre is going to bring the same game plan into Saturday's bout as he does to every fight, and the challenger will be ready. As a wrestling specialist, look for Hendricks to be ready for the champion’s shot attempts and counter them by using submissions and strikes.
Hendricks has the wrestling prowess to frustrate his opponent with his sprawl defense, and that will stifle the game plan of GSP. With the champion forced to fight toe-to-toe in the center of the Octagon, the No. 1 contender will use his knock out power to force St-Pierre into a defensive mindset.
GSP’s last loss came against Matt Serra via TKO in 2007 (UFC 69). While the champion’s reign of dominance since can’t be questioned, Hendricks will be looking to keep this fight standing up and use his power to end this fight early.
Predicted Winner: St-Pierre via Decision
On paper, Hendricks has the grappling ability and mental aptitude to give St-Pierre the toughest test of his career. As well as the No. 1 contender has fought during his six-fight winning streak, the main event experience of the defending champion is a major advantage.
GSP has been in 12 title fights over his career, and Saturday will be Hendricks’ first. With the lights of a PPV main event shining brighter than the challenger could anticipate, he must keep his focus on the game plan.
Hendricks will have to be perfect to beat St-Pierre.
The welterweight champion has the skill to eventually break through Hendricks’ shot defense and dominate the bout on the ground. While the toughness of the No. 1 contender will keep him around for all five rounds, GSP will successfully defend his title once again.