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Old 03-17-2013, 04:04 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Johnny Hendricks Will KO GSP

Here is my full analysis of the upcoming Hendricks-GSP title fight and how I believe it will go down:

In approaching this fight, you have to consider GSP's gameplan in every title defense. Like Bill Belicheck in the NFL, GSP is a highly cerebral strategist whose only concern is winning, and he does this by taking away his opponent's biggest strength while attacking his biggest weakness. This sounds obvious enough, but you'd be surprised how often fighters and athletes compete with awful gameplans and low fight IQ.

In recent history, GSP has adopted this gameplan effectively because he is strong in all facets of MMA: He is a black belt karate striker with extensive boxing training from Freddie Roach, he has a black belt in BJJ, and he is arguably the best wrestler in MMA. So, if his opponent's strength is wrestling then he will take that away by using his great wrestling to keep the fight standing and exposing his opponent's weakness on the feet. We saw this strategy against Jake Shields, when GSP took away Shields's strength as a grappler by standing and striking Shields against his weakness. Conversely, against a fighter whose strength is striking and weakness is wrestling, GSP will take away the strength and attack the weakness simultaneously by taking the opponent down in every round and keeping the fight on the mat. We saw this strategy employed against Dan Hardy and Thiago Alves.

GSP has had success in every defense because he is strong in every aspect of MMA, whereas his opponents have typically been EITHER strong grapplers OR strong strikers. Thus, he has been able to rinse and repeat his gameplans with relative ease and predictability. Because GSP has monstrous MMA wrestling, he's been able to even take down other wrestlers like Josh Koscheck.

With Hendricks, though, GSP will face the best MMA and pure wrestler he has ever faced. Hendricks was an incredible undefeated champion in college who was even better than Koscheck, and as we saw against Condit yesterday he can take people down pretty easily when he feels like it. Also, I've never seen anybody take him down and I can't imagine anybody doing it, including GSP. Because of this incredible wrestling, Hendricks will be able to keep the fight standing against GSP.

Thus, the battle will come down to a striking match between Hendricks and GSP. While GSP has better technical striking, Hendricks undoubtedly has more power in his fists. Showing the ability to KO anybody, Hendricks has the ability to KO GSP, who has an average chin since he has been rocked by Carlos Condit and even finished by little Matt Serra.

The final questions are: Can Hendricks actually land his bombs, and does he have the stamina to last 5 rounds? To the first question, I think he can land his power lefts against GSP by pressuring him. GSP is not a counter-striker like Anderson Silva, and he doesnt respond to pressure well. Normally, GSP goes in for a double-leg takedown when pressured, but this is not an option against a wrestling stalwart like Hendricks. So, Hendricks can back GSP up, defend his takedown attempts, and land his power left with pressure. While he doesnt have the stamina for five rounds, I don't think it will matter because Hendricks will rock and finish GSP within the first 3.

The only other way I can see this fight developing is for GSP to be well prepared for Hendricks's left hand and outpoint him on the feet for a five round decision via superior endurance and technique. But, ultimately I see HEndricks taking the belt with a KO in the first 3 rounds. What do you all think?
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Old 03-17-2013, 04:14 PM   #2 (permalink)
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No one is ever going to knock GSP out, because there will never be a fight where he won't take it to the ground and lay and pray for 5 rounds and win.
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Old 03-17-2013, 04:25 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Hendricks is a legitimate threat to GSP's title.

It boils down to how good his takedown defense is. It he can keep it standing, the way he darts in to land his bombs will have GSP in all kinds of shit.

Then again GSP can take everybody down, I don't think Hendricks will be an exception. Everybody said Diaz would destroy GSP standing but the fight was standing for 16 of 25 minutes and Diaz couldn't do anything with it.

It will be a good fight, I'm looking forward to it
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Old 03-17-2013, 04:32 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Of course Hendricks is a threat. But to act as though GSP won't - without question - be able to control Hendricks because of Johny's wrestling credentials is jumping the gun. Rick Story was able to win a UD against Hendricks by doing precisely that - controlling him. To think it impossible that GSP, a larger and much more talented WW, could do the same is just silly. I've been told so many times now that GSP will be in danger on the feet or on the ground because of ______'s ability that the words have lost all meaning.

Hendricks can be controlled. And as we saw last night, Hendricks can be broken when things don't go his way. There's a reason he dropped the third, and it's because Carlos turned up the pressure and started winning the fight. Hendricks wilted.

All that to say that of course Hendricks can catch GSP. But I'll hardly be shocked if GSP is able to take Johny down and make him quit from underneath. If people honestly believe that Diaz vs. GSP was boring, then I suggest not ordering this fight, because GSP isn't dumb enough to attempt anything other than out-grappling Hendricks. And I can't say that I'll blame him.
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Old 03-17-2013, 04:35 PM   #5 (permalink)
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GSP puts on another technical striking clinic, though there's always a chance Hendricks could catch him at some point. Condit got nailed a bunch of times last night because he either backed straight up or circled into the left hand instead of away from it. GSP is very unlikely to make that mistake, he has the footwork, speed, and reach to stay out of the way and pick Hendricks apart from the outside all night long. Add to that is ring awareness, watch any of his recent fights and notice how he circles back to the center of the cage as soon as his feet get behind the black line. This makes it a lot harder for Hendricks to cut off the cage and put GSP in a position where he can be hit.

Personally I think GSP will Randy Couture him. By that I mean he'll use his striking to setup the clinch and wear out Hendricks that way. Gas him out, wear him down, and frustrate him into making mistakes which can be exploited.
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Old 03-17-2013, 04:44 PM   #6 (permalink)
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GSP has a 6" reach advantage which means he'll likely use dynamic striking to keep Hendricks out of range and then reactive double when Hendricks tries to close the distance.

Hendricks at least will have 5 rounds to land that shot to KO GSP; in that time he'll get tired and GSP will work to take the power out of his punches.

This fight will just like every other GSP fight in the past five years with the same result.
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Old 03-17-2013, 04:47 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Hendricks has a damn good shot... much better than Diaz IMO. Hendricks throws hard and has the wrestling backgrounds to cause potential problems.

I still think GSP takes it, but it's an interesting fight.
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Old 03-17-2013, 05:02 PM   #8 (permalink)
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To me this outcome was unthinkable and virtually impossible 6 months ago, now i actually think it is the most likely outcome.



Comparing their wrestling last night i actually see Hendricks as the more explosive and dynamic wrestler of the two, I think Hendricks will be able to stuff GSP's attempts, GSP's best chance to win this fight might be to employ his Koschek tactics.. but judging by GSP's post fight face i really doubt he's going to be elusive enough over 5 rounds to avoid being hurt by Hendricks.

This is madness, but i predict Hendricks by KO/TKO in the championship rounds.
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Old 03-17-2013, 05:37 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Jab and circle GSP is coming out to this fight. I hope Johny is smart enough to train for that. As good as GSP is he is pretty predictable.
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Old 03-17-2013, 06:17 PM   #10 (permalink)
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GSP looks a little less dynamic and more straight line in his last few fights Shields included.

Hendricks biggest weapon is his ability to really lung forward and cover big ground with power punches. Diaz hit GSP with his slow footwork, albeit with a long reach. Hendricks managed to clip Condit who seems more dynamic on his feet than GSP does these days.

Is GSP's wrestling good enough to make Hendricks hesitant to rush in? I'm really excited for this matchup, GSP has been a master of the safest gameplan this is definitely a tough puzzle to crack. The closest match might be Koscheck but he doesn't cover forward ground nearly as quickly as Hendricks.
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