UFC 167 will likely turn into another highly entertaining fight card — which seems to be the norm for the Ultimate Fighting Championship these days — that MMA fans won’t stop talking about anytime soon thanks to the abundance of excellent mixed martial arts matchups, most notably, a headliner featuring Georges St. Pierre and Johny Hendricks.
The fight card is set for Nov.16, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nev.
In the co-main event, MMA’s number one trash talker Chael Sonnen will take on fellow “UFC Tonight” analyst Rashad Evans.
Here are my UFC 167 predictions:
Georges St. Pierre vs. Johny Hendricks (welterweight title fight)
Georges (24-2-0, 8 KOs) is without a doubt one of the most dominant champions in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s history, but Hendricks (15-1-0, 8 KOs) is arguably the most dangerous opponent he’s faced in quite some time.
On paper, GSP is the better mixed martial artist, so, for the most part, he should get the better of the grappling and striking exchanges at UFC 167.
However, Hendricks packs serious power in his left hand, and he’s extremely good at lunging in and closing the gap on his opponents. Johny’s also a tough, durable MMA fighter, meaning the odds of GSP finishing him at UFC 167 are slim to none.
That gives him 25 minutes to find GSP’s chin, more than enough time if you ask me.
Prediction: Hendricks wins via KO.
Rashad Evans vs. Chael Sonnen
Evans (20-3-1, 6 KOs) hasn’t been particularly impressive inside the Octagon lately, barely engaging during his fight against Antônio Rogério Nogueira, which he lost via unanimous decision, barely walking away with a split decision during his last outing against Dan Henderson.
Chael (29-13-1, 7 KOs) on the other hand looked awesome during his last outing, manhandling Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at UFC Fight Night 26, putting the Brazilian away with a guillotine choke late in the first round.
Unfortunately for Sonnen, getting past Evans at UFC 167 won’t be that easy.
The reality is: Evans is one of the best MMA wrestlers in the world, and he should be able to dominate the grappling exchanges even though Sonnen’s wrestling isn’t too shabby either. Factor in the fact Rashad is also the better striker and it becomes even clearer that the matchup favors the former Michigan State Spartan.
Prediction: Evans wins via decision.
Rory MacDonald vs. Robbie Lawler
Lawler (21-9-0, 18 KOs) has been on a tear ever since he returned to the Ultimate Fighting Championship, making quick work out Josh Koscheck and Bobby Voelker. Robbie will be in for another tough test when he squares up against MacDonald (15-1-0, 6 KOs) at UFC 167.
MacDonald will likely replicate the strategy he used against Jake Ellenberger against Lawler, but there’s a decent chance Robbie will light him up before their three-rounder comes to an end.
Prediction: Lawler wins via TKO.
Josh Koscheck vs. Tyron Woodley
Koscheck’s spot in the Ultimate Fighting Championship might be on the line at UFC 167 since he’s lost his last two fights inside the Octagon. It’s a very close fight on paper given both men’s wrestling credentials, but it’s worth noting that Koscheck (17-7-0, 6 KOs) has already competed with the very best welterweights around. Woodley (11-2-0, 5 submissions) on the other hand is yet to step inside the cage with any of the truly elite welterweights.
That experience should pay dividends come fight time.
Prediction: Koscheck wins via decision.
Tim Elliott vs. Ali Bagautinov
Ali (11-2-0, 5 KOs) is on a nine-fight win streak, but his run will likely come to an end at UFC 167. Elliot (10-3-1, 4 submissions) was extremely impressive during his outing, handing Louis Gaudinot a brutal beatdown.
Expect more of the same from Elliot on Nov. 16.
Prediction: Elliot wins via decision.
Donald Cerrone defeats Evan Dunham
Thales Leites defeats Ed Herman
Brian Ebersole defeats Rick Story
Erik Perez defeats Edwin Figueroa
Jason High defeats Anthony Lapsley
Sergio Pettis defeats Vaughan Lee
Gian Villante defeats Cody Donovans
Check out my FightPicks closer to the event date for my UFC 167 predictions based on the odds. +6.9 units so far in 2013 and I plan to close the year out with a bang.
If you’re feeling froggy, test your knowledge against me and other hardcore mixed martial arts heads in fantasy MMA.
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