(Tan advantage: Hendricks. Beard advantage: Hendricks. Really, I don’t see how GSP has a shot here. Photo via Esther Lin/MMAFighting)
This week marks the 20th anniversary of the UFC, and so much has changed since the wild, awkward days of the early 1990s. Of course, the UFC’s welterweight division has stayed pretty much the same since 2008 — with Georges St. Pierre at the top, dispatching all comers. Will Johny Hendricks be the man to end St-Pierre’s 11-fight win streak and take the gold belt for himself? Nah, probably not. But if you’re a GSP fan, that shouldn’t really matter.
Also on tonight’s UFC 167 lineup: Chael Sonnen and Rashad Evans duke it out for no apparent reason, while GSP’s heir-apparent Rory MacDonald faces old-school banger Robbie Lawler in a classic meeting of suit guy vs. t-shirt guy. Handling the play-by-play for the PPV broadcast will be Anthony Gannon, who will be stacking live results after the jump beginning at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT. Refresh the page every few minutes for all the latest, and throw your own thoughts down in the comments section. Thanks for coming.
UFC 167 preliminary card results
- Donald Cerrone def. Evan Dunham via submission (triangle choke), 3:49 round 2
- Thales Leites def. Ed Herman via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Rick Story def. Brian Ebersole via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Erik Perez def. Edwin Figueroa via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Jason High def. Anthony Lapsley via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Sergio Pettis def. Will Campuzano via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
- Gian Villante def. Cody Donovan via TKO, 1:22 round 2
What up, Potato Nation? Tonight is a big Goddamn deal. Not only is GSP in the house looking to defend his title for the 9th consecutive time, but it’s the UFC’s 20th anniversary. That means a little walk down memory lane is in order.
What were you doing on November 12, 1993 on the night that MMA was created? Sure they already had Vale Tudo in Brazil, Pankration dating back to the ancient Olympics, some bootleg boxing/wrestling hybrid matches here in the states, and God knows what other savagery going on in some parts unknown jungle. But none of that shit created modern MMA. UFC 1 did.
I was a senior in high school, probably, like most nights back then, drinking Milwaukee’s Best and smoking dirt weed behind some factory, trying – futilely in most instances – to get myself laid. I had no clue what the UFC was. To me and most of America back then, fighting consisted of boxing, and if you were a major tool, pro wrestling. Jiu jitsu was not a real thing. It was movie shit. It was that weird leg choke thingy Riggs got Joshua with. By 93 even the karate craze of the 80s had died down. All that took was a couple high school parking lot fights where some misguided dipshit was foolish enough to test his Drunken Monkey style against the captain of the wrestling team. Little did we know during those times that we would be witnessing the same shit happening very soon, and that it would spawn a new sport.
We owe our current obsession to the pioneers, the OGs like Royce Gracie, Ken Shamrock, and Art “One Glove” Jimmerson. And even though by modern standards UFC 1 was a total fucking freak show, no fight lasted longer than the 4:20 mark. If a modern event showcased that kind of finishing rate we’d be talking about it as Event of the Decade. It was, quite simply, a brutal spectacle. The only thing you weren’t allowed to do was bite and eye gouge – ya know, for safety ‘n shit. Everything else was fair game: hair pulling, nut punches, titty twisters, Indian burns, wedgies, noogies, wet Willies, smudgies, you name it. And it was Goddamn great. What was supposed to be a one-time tournament to introduce Gracie Jiu Jitsu to America ended up selling 86,000 PPVs. At $30 a clip (correct me if I’m wrong on that) that’s just north of $2.5 million. In other words, Rorian Gracie, Art Davie, John Milius and their group of investors made a little loot. No reason not to do the shit again. The rest is history.
If you were in on the ground floor of MMA, salud. I didn’t catch UFC 1 until 1997, and that was only because I found the tape at the Salvation Army store for $1.50. My Marine buddies and I got blitzed and watched it, all the while beating the shit out of each other with absurd moves poached from Kung Fu Theatre. We could scantly appreciate the significance of what we were watching. But it did peak an interest for more. Not long thereafter though, MMA entered its Dark Ages and that interest waned, until about 2003 when it started to appear more regularly, and guys like Tito Ortiz, Chuck Liddell, and Randy Couture were becoming popular figures even outside the fringe MMA scene.
The culmination of all that history – the beginning, the evolution, the Dark Ages, the Ultimate Fighter, FOX, and of course the totally unconstitutional Cagepotato Ban - is now upon us in the form of amazing athletes like GSP and Johny Hendricks. In 2003 the UFC did five shows. Just a few years earlier UFC fans were forced underground to search for grainy VHS like the creepy pervs in 8MM. This year they’re running 33 events. Next year they’ll do even more. When MMA fans are griping about too many fights, that’s a high class problem.
Anyway, enough about the old days. We got a serious card about to start, and we should all be sporting some wood. Let’s get it crackin’ up in this piece.
No matter what happens tonight, the move of the night goes to Brian Ebersole for getting the absolute shit beat out of him by Rick Story, yet still getting up after the final buzzer and raising his arms in triumph.
Kenny Florian predicts Woodley, McDonald, Sonnen, and GSP. Daniel Cormier goes with Koscheck, McDonald, Evans, and Hendricks. They either forgot there’s a 5th fight on the main card or just totally are ignoring the poor flyweights.
To kick things off we have Tim Elliott vs. Ali Bagautinov
It’s nice that the flyweights are getting some PPV billing here, especially after the epic diss from K-Flo and Cormier. By conventional logic the guaranteed barnburner of Donald Cerrone vs. Evan Dunham should have kicked things off. But here we see the UFC showing the 125ers some good loving. Ali Bagautinov – who for the purposes of keeping shit simple will henceforth be known as just Ali – is a good prospect who has won his last nine, seven by some form of violent stoppage. Plus he’s Russian, so that fills the Ivan Drago slot for emotionless scary dude that any quality fight card is required to have.
Tim Elliot is riding a two fight win streak after falling short versus Jon Dodson in his Octagon debut. He packs a decent punch for a flyweight and is sporting the corn rows.
Round 1: Elliot going forward with his hands down, taunting Ali. Elliot misses a couple jabs, Ali lands a right. Ali misses a huge hook. Elliot goes for a spinning backfist, misses by a mile. They clinch, separate with no damage done. Elliot throws a grossly telegraphed kick, misses badly. The tie up, Elliott with a nice knee to the body. Ali lands a right. Elliott with a leg kick. Ali lands a huge right, buckles Elliott. But he looks recovered. Ali lands another right. Elliott continues to press forward. Ali lands a takedown, Elliott pops right back up. Left hook from Ali, Elliott responds with a combo. Ali misses an uppercut, then a high kick. Ali shoots, Elliott defends. Ali ends the round by landing a solid right, then a kick to the dome. 10-9 Ali
Round 2: Elliott charges forward again, looking like a mad man. Ali misses a straight right, then sticks one. Ali then lands an overhand right, followed by a leg kick. Elliott jumps in with a knee, Ali takes him down. Elliott with a guillotine, looks tight, but Ali escapes, takes Elliott down, but ends up on the bottom in the scramble. Elliott in top position working some ground and pound. Ali sweeps, gets to his feet. Elliott throws a lazy leg kick, Ali answers with a big right, then a left. Kick to the body by Ali. They trade rights, Ali’s looks better. Ali with a left, Tim with a jab. Ali misses big with a hook, Elliott continuing to fight with his hands down. They scramble, no significant damage. Elliott lands a right at the buzzer. Closer round, but Elliott isn’t really landing anything, 10-9 Ali
Round 3: Elliott charges forward, looking to exploit Ali’s fatigue. Ali misses a huge shot, Elliott lands a jab, then another. Ali lands a big leg kick. Elliot lands a couple little jabs, Ali goes straight kick to the body. Left lands by Elliott. Ali sticks a good uppercut. Leg kick by Elliott. Ali lands a left, then a good right, then an uppercut. Ali with an overhand right. Elliott lands a three punch combo, not much on em though. Ali misses a straight right. Then a couple more. Elliott doing good with head movement. Elliott charges in, eats a big right for it. Elliott with a jab. Ali with a head kick, skims the cheek. Ali shoots, Elliott defends. Elliott with a left, Ali responds with a couple shots. Elliott with a slam, a knee, and it’s over. Tough one, 10-9 Elliott
The decision is in, and it’s a unanimous decision for Ali Bagautinov (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Next up is Josh Koscheck vs. Tyron Woodley
Here we have two hard-hitting guys who can wrestle. Hardly ever see that in MMA.
Kos holds the record for the most UFC fights with 22. He used to volunteer for any opening that came up. He’d just troll Twitter with his trademark, “Let’s do it, brah” and land a fight. Lately though he’s been taking it a little easier. Dude’s 35 now, had to pull out of his last fight due to injury, and is probably nursing a bunch of little nagging injuries that we never even hear about. It’s common for all fighters, especially the older ones. Some guys come in with an injured hand, others with a sprained ankle. On occasion a guy may even be brave enough to fight with a zit on his taint big and nasty enough to fill a cannoli. We just don’t know.
Who knows if Kos is even into this whole fighting thing anymore. Unlike his pal Jon Fitch, Kos actually did very well for himself. Dude’s got a fat crib, a Ferrari, and a fucking plane. Who has a plane? If you want to feel shitty about how your own life turned out, you can watch Kos and some smokin’ chick take the tour here, or if you prefer, you can watch some painfully annoying gal with gigantic cans talk about it here.
Woodley aint got none of that shit, but he wants it. He’s a dangerous cat. He can knock your punk-ass out with the quickness or put your bitch-ass to sleep (literally) with some horribly boring clinch work. Just depends on how he’s rollin’ that particular day.
Round 1: Woodley begins with a right. Then charges in with a big right, stuns Kos. Woodley with a knee, but Kos pushes him into the cage and is working for a takedown. Woodley defending well, Kos working some knees to the thighs. The fans are getting pisses already. Herb Dean breaks them apart. Woodley lands another nice right, then a leg kick. Kos responds with a mice right of his own, gets Woodley’s respect. Kos misses an overhand right. Woodley drops Kos with a right, working some ferocious ground and pound. Kos ties him up in full guard, trying to recover. Woodley puts Kos into the cage, working some short shots to the body. Herb Dean stands them up. Kos goes hard to the body, Woodley lands a huge right, puts Kos onto a knee, then bashes him again with another one, Kos is out, Dean steps in and stops the action. Very impressive win for Woodley.
The official call is a KO at 4:38 of round 1
Keeping things moving along is Rory McDonald vs. Robbie Lawler
Aside from being the creepiest thing since Buffalo Bill, Rory is widely viewed as the next big thing at 170, that when GSP hangs em up he’s going to glide right into the championship. He’s a bad dude, no doubt, but let’s not go swinging from his metrosexual nutbag just yet. He’s talented as hell, just don’t seem right that a guy who hangs with Mike Ricci hunting for red pants in Montreal thrift shops should be the UFC champion.
Robbie Lawler is in the midst of a serious career resurgence, and yes if I hear that term one more time I’m also going to vomit. Welterweight is always where Robbie belonged, and aside from that awful tramp stamp he’s been looking damn good. The UFC really ought to offer to pay to have that monstrosity removed, for the sake of the company’s image.
Round 1: Lawler starts off with a hard leg kick. And another. Lawler goes high, misses. Front kick by Lawler misses, leg kick lands. Rory lands a counter right when Lawler charges in. Lawler with another low kick. High kick by Rory, blocked. They trade front kicks. Rory skims a high kick. Another leg kick by Lawler. Now Lawler goes high, blocked by Rory. Whoa, Lawler goes in with a huge left, misses. Front kick to the body landed by Rory. Front kick by Lawler blocked, and again. Lawler lands a body kick, then a couple head shots. 10-9 Lawler
Round 2: Lawler opens with another leg kick.. Rory goes for a single, eats a couple shots, let’s go. Rory misses a jab, sticks a front kick to the body. Lawler lands to the body in the clinch, they separate. Rory kicks to the body again, then lands a straight right. Lawler with a right hook, Rory answers with an elbow. Rory lands a straight right to the body. And another. Leg kick by Lawler lands. Rory misses a straight right, then lands a kick to the body. Rory shoots, gets the takedown. Lawler with butterfly guard up against the cage. Lawler trying to get up, Rory cradles him back down, gets back into butterfly guard. Rory not really doing much, but is controlling Lawler. Now Rory explodes with a few good elbows. The round ends with Rory on top, 10-9
Round 3: Lawler lands a big shot, then an uppercut, Rory catches a knee and takes Lawler down. Rory lands an elbow. The ref stands them up when Rory decides to use Lawler’s chest as a pillow. Lawler lands another, and another. He’s on top of Rory, in full guard. This is Lawler’s change to steal the fight. He has to get active. He calls Rory up. Rory with a straight right, Lawler lands a big left. Rory takes a finger to the eye, the ref stops the action. Rory is ok and we start up again. Rory going for a takedown, Lawler defends life his life depends on it. Lawler lands a couple beautiful shots, knocks Rory on his ass. Lawler now in side control landing some good punches. Rory gets half guard, Lawler moves back to side control. Dropping some nice ground and pound. Rory manages to get to guard, and threatens with an armbar. Lawler wants none of it, gets up. Rory lands an easy takedown , dropping elbows to end the round. Great round. 10-9 Lawler
The official decision is in, and it’s a split decision for Robbie Lawler (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
Next up in the co-main event between Chael Sonnen and Rashad Evans
Rashad needs a good showing here. He’s turned into GSP on Quaaludes. Matter of fact, with the exception of 2008 – where he set in motion the ruination of Chuck Liddell’s career and exposed the “excellent” guard of Forrest Griffin – Shad aint never really set the world on fire. He was just a winner, but exciting performances were the exception rather than the rule. Do not even dare invoke the Sean Salmon headkick. It’s a stain on the history of our sport that Salmon was ever allowed in the UFC. Some quick figures to support that: Salmon has lost his last 11 – all in the first round; 16 of his last 20 – 9 by KO and 7 by submission…on the local circuit. The good news though is that with one more loss Sean has said he’s probably going to hang up the gloves, because hey ya never know, he could go on a run.
Still though, Rashad’s been top of the food chain at light-heavyweight since 2006 and that’s no easy task. Curious to see what sort of strategy he’ll employ here. Will it be the 50 takedowns of certain triumph, or the one where he just dances around and paws at his opponent for 15 minutes? After sitting on the edge of our seats for the past couple months, we finally get to find out.
Chael Sonnen continues to astonish. After talking his way into a title shot, out of his division, Sonnen went and proved the skeptics wrong that he’s all mouth and a few takedowns by submitting Shogun’s tight shorts wearing ass in the first round. With a guillotine, no less. You aint supposed to get Shogun with a guillotine, or any really good jiu jitsu guy for that matter, especially if you’re Chael P. Sonnen and for the first 2/3 of your career you were known for getting submitted. So I say again, Chael continues to astonish. Will he do it again? It really doesn’t matter, because if Sonnen has proven anything it’s that wins and losses don’t really matter much, he’s gonna get his.
Here’s 2014/2015 for Sonnen: granted next heavyweight title shot, gets ass handed to him, somehow comes out smelling like roses, gets elected to House of Representatives on a platform of abolishing money laundering laws on the grounds they’re actually a communist plot to destroy America, gets back into the real estate game.
Round 1: Sonnen comes out looking to be the aggressor. He shoots, Rashad defends, Chael pushing him into the cage. They reverse each other, Chael knees to the body. Rashad drops levels goes for the takedown, Chael defends it. Rashad lands a couple shots to the body. Chael with a knee. Rashad lands a good right, looking for a trip, doesn’t get it. Rashad drops again, gets the takedown. Chael with half guard, Rashad dropping some ground and pound. Chael trying to wall alk, Rashad drags him back down. Rashad with a nice elbow, Chael is in trouble, he’s taking a beating. Rashad gets full mount, Rashad smashing him as Chael goes belly down. That’s it, the ref steps in and ends it.
Awesome fight for Rashad, he really needed that.
It’s a TKO at 4:05 of round 1
And here we go, the main event, Georges St. Pierre vs. Johny Hendricks
There’s a good bit of talk about how this could be the last time we see GSP in the cage, that he’s grown tired of this fighting shit, and how he was piping mad that the UFC didn’t back him in his peculiar quest for VADA testing. Probably a bunch of shit, but who knows. The UFC would be a weird place without GSP. He’s been laying on top of dudes for so long there would be a noticeable void if that magic were to disappear.
Even more amazing than his superior fighting skills is that GSP has managed to be the UFC’s top draw, despite being a somewhat reserved fighter. If you’ve ever been to a GSP-headlined event you know what I’m talking about. Flocks of adoring fans think nothing of making themselves look like humungous dickheads by strapping on those stupid Daniel-san headbands to show their support for the champion. Bitches love him too. You know what they say about guys with tiny Canadian heads, right?
Johny Hendricks finally gets his due. It’s not a stretch to say that no fighter ever, in the welterweight division, has had a rougher road to the title. Hendricks is 10-1 in the Octagon with wins over TJ Grant, Charlie Brenneman, TJ Waldburger, Mike Pierce, Jon Fitch, Josh Koscheck, Martin Kampmann, and Carlos Condit. Basically, no one deserves this more than Johny Hendricks. That being said, aside from a perfectly placed set of knuckles to the mandible, Hendricks will not be the one to dethrone Nate’s man crush.
Round 1: GSP opems with a leg kick. Hendricks throws a bomb, GSP takes him down. Hendricks gets up, they clinch, GSP with a couple knees. Hendricks puts GSP into the cage, they trade knees to the thighs. The ref seperates them, GSP shoots again, Hendricks tagging him as he defends the takedown. GSP still going for the takedown, Hendricks delivers some elbows to the side of the head. GSP abandons the takedown. Now Hendricks going for a takedown, gets it. GSP gets to his feet, they separate. Hendricks goes in with a knee, misses. Leg kick by GSP, then a side kick to the body, then a jab. Head kick by GSP skims. Hendricks with a couple good knees to the thigh in the clinch. And another. They look like they suck. Hendricks with a shot to the head off the separation. GSP misses a straight right. GSP lands a low kick, Hendricks counters with a right hand. Good round, 10-9 Hendricks
Round 2: Sorry people, I just lost everything I wrote for this round. Don’t know what the fuck just happened. Close round, 10-9 GSP
Round 3: Hendricks with a right hook. GSP with a good low kick. Jab by GSP, then a left that lands. GSP front kick missed, but he lands a left over the top. Hendricks wades in hard, lands a glancing right. GSP with a low kick. GSP with a good right. They trade hooks, both land well. Another jab by GSP. Hendricks lands a right, but his punches have a lot less pop on them here in the third round. GSP with a straight right. Hendricks fakes a takedown, eats a left. GSO with a body head combo. Low kick by GP, then a straight right. Hendricks sticks a nice hard straight left. Superman punch lands by GSP. Low kick by GSP, blocks a Hendricks counter. Nice uppercut to the body by Hendricks. He shoots, GSO defends, but Hendricks sticks with it and lands it. Hammer fist for Hendricks, but GSP gets up. 10-9 GSP
Round 4: GSP with a jab. Low kick lands by GSP. Hendricks lands a left, GSP sticks a good jab. Hendricks jabs, GSP answers with a hook. Hendricks charged in, GSP slipped, and Hendricks ends up on top. Lands an elbow, a hammer fist, some body shots. GSP kicks off, and Hendricks lets him up. GSP is bleeding all over the place. No clue why Hendricks let him up. Hendricks lands a good left. Nice jab by Hendricks, followed by a uppercut. GSP lands a right, going for a takedown, Hendricks defends and reverses him against the cage. Hendricks working hard for the takedown, GSP escapes it, now has him against the cage. Hendricks reverses, they trade body shots. Knees from Hendricks find GSP’s thigh. 10-9 Hendricks
Round 5: GSP lands a left hook, shoots, he’s got a leg, but Hendricks is no joke, GSP can’t get him down. Hendricks has GSP against the cage, now looking for his own takedown. GSP with a wide base, they separate. Hendricks with a jab, GSO with a good kick to the body. GSP gets a takedown, he’s got to do some good work down there. But Hendricks is on his way up, GSO has his neck ,GSP knees to the body but Hendricks is up. They trade knees from the clinch. The ref seperates them. GSP with a high kick, blocked. GSP misses a huge overhand right, then shoots in, works hard but gets the takedown. Hendricks pops right back up. And it’s a clinch war again. GSP threatening with a Kimura, aint happening. I’m going with Hendricks man. 10-9
The decision is in, and it’s a split decision for GSP (48-47, 48-47, 47-48)
A little bit of bullshit there, in my opinion. But hey, Hendricks did awesome.
GSP just kind of retired, for a little bit, maybe. Weird retirement announcement. GSP says he has to go away for a little bit. Hopefully there will be some clarification on that soon.
Hendricks is pretty sure he won, says the belt is his, and with GSP kind of, maybe retiring for a little bit perhaps that’ll open up the title. Who knows. Weird. Anyway, that’s it for us. We’ll analyze this shit tomorrow.