Main Card Predictions for UFC 167

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Predictions for UFC 167

Photo via UFC Facebook

Saturday will mark an important day for the welterweight division. Georges St. Pierre will be taking on Johny Hendricks for the UFC welterweight title. GSP has ruled the division since regaining the title from Matt Serra over six years ago. Hendricks has been dubbed the man who has the power to change that.

It's no secret that Hendricks has an ungodly amount of power in his hands. He has been able to make short work of many of his opponents (Jon Fitch and Martin Kampmann to name a couple). His power will definitely give him a puncher's chance against GSP. It will be interesting to see how his wrestling will match up with GSP's, who has made a living out of out-wrestling wrestlers.

In the co-main event, Chael Sonnen will battle Rashad Evans in what has the potential to be an interesting fight. Both men are known wrestlers, but Evans had been content with trying to out-strike opponents over the past couple of years. It's no secret that Sonnen will press the action and try to wear Evans down.

Another fight that will have ramifications in the welterweight division is Robbie Lawler vs. Rory Macdonald. This will be the second time in a row that MacDonald has fought a striker. He outpointed Jake Ellenberger in his last outing. Lawler will be more willing to force MacDonald into a slugfest than Ellenberger was. It will be interesting to see how the fight turns out.

With all of that being said, here are my predictions for UFC 167:

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5. Ali Bagautinov knocks out Tim Elliott

Jason Silva-USA Today Sports

Ali Bagautinov will knock Tim Elliott out. That's a wrap and end of story. Tim Elliott is a good fighter and has looked impressive against tough opponents, but Bagautinov is strong fighter with heavy punches. If he connects with Elliott's chin, Elliott is going out.

Bagautinov is an explosive fighter. Out of his 11 victories, he has only been to a decision four times, which he has split 2-2. He has knocked or TKO'd five of his opponents and submitted four. That is impressive no matter what weight class you represent.

I don't think Elliott will be embarrassed in any way, but he will get caught at least a couple times on the chin by Bagautinov. That will be enough for "Puncher King" to win the fight.

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4. Tyron Woodley beats Josh Koscheck by decision

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Tyron Woodley has yet to drop back-to-back fights in his career. I don't foresee that happening against Josh Koscheck. Woodley has looked promising several times in his career with the exception of his fight with Nate Marquardt. The Jake Shields fight could have gone either way.

Even though Woodley has been to the scorecards several times, he possess enough power to knock Koscheck out. It's just hard to see Koscheck allowing himself to get caught again. That means Woodley will win by decision.

More than likely, Koscheck will try to outpoint Woodley or take Woodley down to smother him. Given Woodley's ability to grapple, it's doubtful that he will allow Koscheck to take him down. Woodley will control the fight on the feet and use his explosiveness to catch Koscheck with several hard shots. He won't knock Koscheck out, but it will be enough to win him the fight.

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3. Rory Macdonald knocks out Robbie Lawler

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA Today Sports

It would be nice to say that Robbie Lawler will knock Rory MacDonald's smug self out cold in the opening round of the fight, but that is unlikely. It is much more likely that MacDonald will establish his range by the second round and catch Lawler coming in and knock him out.

Love him or hate him, MacDonald is a complete fighter. It is hard to find a true weakness in his game and no one, except Carlos Condit, has cracked the code. Lawler will try to turn the fight into a slugfest and may be able to do so, but MacDonald can counter strike his way to a decision or a knock out.

Lawler will have better luck than Jake Ellenberger, who refused to pressure MacDonald or cut off the cage to force him to strike. In the end, MacDonald is too smart to get caught by a punch from Lawler.

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2. Chael Sonnen beats Rashad Evans by decision

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If you look at the skill here, especially in Rashad Evans' past few fights, it easy to say that Chael Sonnen will TKO or submit Evans before the final bell rings. Evans has looked horrible in his past few fights. He won an even affair against Dan Henderson, but dropped fights to Lil' Nog and Jon Jones. Each of the fights went the distance.

The fact that Evans is hard to knock out and Sonnen's style is built to wear an opponent down for three to five rounds is the reason why I believe Sonnen will beat Evans by decision. Sonnen is a great fighter, and he is always prepared for a fight. Evans has not been focused in his previous outings.

Sonnen will beat Evans, but his future is a little murky after that. His standing will remain the same in the light heavyweight division, and a victory should not help his middleweight ranking. Only time will tell for Sonnen.

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1. Georges St. Pierre beats Johny Hendricks by decision

Tom Szczerbowski-USA Today Sports

Johny Hendricks has everything going for him in this fight. He has the power to knock Georges St. Pierre out, he has a great wrestling background and he has determination. The only thing he has going against him is the fact that he is fighting GSP.

This isn't St. Pierre's first rodeo. There isn't much Hendricks can throw at GSP that St. Pierre hasn't seen. GSP fought a strong fighter when he beat Thiago Alves with ease. Alves may not be as skilled and technical as Hendricks, but he does have just as much power.

GSP has fought wrestlers as well in Jon Fitch, Josh Koscheck and Matt Hughes in his younger days. Each one of those fighters were suppose to possess the skills to put GSP on his back, and each time the roles were reversed. Hendricks will suffer the same fate.

GSP will drag Hendricks into a point battle for all five rounds and come out on top. The only way GSP will lose is if he comes into the fight flat and undetermined. Hendricks might catch him then, but I don't see that happening. St. Pierre will come ready to fight and he will pick up the victory.