Probably more than any other bout on this card, Rick Story vs. Johny Hendricks has been the most anticipated. A clash of welterweight prospects, the winner was sure to set himself on a title shot track. Hendricks walked into the cage with the more accomplished athletic career and more hype among hardcore audiences, but Story had been in the trenches with tough fights against hard-nosed fighters like Brian Foster, Jesse Lennox and Jake Ellenberger.
Who would take the next step?
Story came out aggressive, the first to land was Hendricks with a fast left lead to the face. Unphased, Story landed several shots to the body en route to a takedown attempt that ultimately went nowhere. The pattern mostly continued throughout the first round - Story stalking, Hendricks moving away, but "the Horror" getting most out of the exchanges. Late in the round, however, Hendricks caught a kick and turned it into a successful single leg takedown. Story was able to stand and the round ended.
Round two started with a fury. Hendricks landed a beautiful straight, but was caught against the fence with Story ripping huge body shots that turned into a takedown. Hendricks attempted a guilltone that failed and in an exchange Hendricks used a front head lock. Both fighters then stood. Still against the fence, Hendricks landed a single leg attempt but Story stood immediately. Story then landed a takedown of his own, but Hendricks was able to wall walk back to his feet. After more time spent in the clinch, Story seemed to be landing the more effective damage while executing more control.
The third round began with Hendricks trying to land a takedown, which only works temporarily. Story transitioned to a tight guillotine which forced Hendricks to his back. Hendricks escaped and eventually forced Story to the fence landing a single-leg with a ride to hold "the Horror" in place. Several wrestling exchanges take place, mostly with Hendricks aggressing and forcing position changes. The round ended with Hendricks pressing Story into the cage and looking for takedowns, most of which were only semi-successful.
The judges score this bout 29-28 for Rick Story.