UFC 141 Preview – Jon Fitch vs Johny Hendricks

Photo Credit - UFC.com

I wonder how people will remember Jon Fitch twenty year from now? Far from an exciting fighter, he’s still the clear number two welterweight of his generation and still has thirteen wins inside one of UFC’s best divisions. But even though he’s fought fifteenth times inside the UFC, he has yet to fight many of the current top fighters of the division, one of which is Johny Hendricks.

Hendricks, a self professed lover of Wendy’s Baconator, is an exceptional welterweight with an 11-1 record, his only loss coming to Rick Story. He’s a great wrestler, a 2005 and 2006 NCAA division 1 wrestling champion at 165 lbs. Also, he’s been improving on his striking as we all saw in his neat fight with fellow welterweight bruiser Mike Pierce. Does he have the skill set to give Fitch problems?

One thing that’s a theme in many of Fitch’s fights is that if a guy isn’t in Fitch’s league, then it’s usually a dry clear 30-27 decision. But if the guy has something that is a threat to Fitch, it usually turns out to be a really interesting fight. Diego Sanchez at UFC 76 also was able to do a pretty good job with Fitch at a time when they were both on the same boat in terms of skills. Sanchez was able to threatened with submissions, but Fitch still controlled the fight and won what might be the most entertaining fight of his career. Fitch struggled with Chris Wilson at UFC 82 as Wilson was doing a great job at stopping Fitch from getting the takedown in round 1. Eventually Fitch got the takedown, but Wilson made it a fight and landed some nice strikes on Fitch before that happened. Then at UFC 107, Mike Pierce almost became the second person inside the UFC to defeat Jon Fitch. Pierce proved to be a tough stylistic fight for Fitch, as he was able to avoid a good percentage of the takedowns during the course of the fight.  Even though Fitch won the first two rounds (just barely), everyone remembers the final minute of the fight, the portion that featured Mike Pierce rocking Fitch badly and coming very close to finishing him. Fitch walked away with a fair 29-28 decision.

Considering Fitch struggled to take Pierce down, he’s also going to struggle to take Hendricks down. Not saying he won’t get Hendricks down at some point, but Hendricks is going to make Fitch work for it and he’s going to be working some good strikes in on Fitch. It’ll be interesting if we see it turn into a striking contest for a brief portion of time. But whether Hendricks walks away with the win or not, he’ll probably make it one of the more competitive and intriguing fights that Fitch has had in his UFC tenure. If Hendricks does pull off the victory, I just hope he gets a sponsorship with Wendy’s and a crack at another top ten welterweight in 2012.

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