UFC 141 Fight Card Primer: Jon Fitch vs. Johny Hendricks

At UFC 141: Lesnar vs. Overeem, two 170 pound wrestling standouts meet as Jon Fitch (23-3-1; 1 NC; 13-1-1 UFC) faces Johny Hendricks (11-1; 6-1 UFC). This Welterweight fight is the 3rd bout of the PPV card. Fitch is currently the #2 ranked Welterweight in the world according to the USA TODAY / MMA Nation Consensus MMA Rankings, and Hendricks is at #17. The PPV card begins Friday night at the later start time of 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT.

Like all fights in the Welterweight division at the moment, this one was given a little bit of extra relevance a few weeks ago when it was announced that Georges St. Pierre was undergoing surgery and an interim champion would be crowned. GSP has stood dominant over the division, and his absence gives everyone a new chance to move up. Fitch in particular could be a big beneficiary of this move - he lost to GSP back at UFC 87 and, despite being undefeated since, has always been out of the title picture. Could a win here, combined with St. Pierre being on the shelf, finally give Fitch his second shot at the belt?

How do these two stack up?

Fitch: 33 years old | 6'0" | 74" reach
Hendricks: 28 years old | 5'9" | 69" reach

What have these two done recently?

Fitch: D - B.J. Penn (Maj Draw) | W - Thiago Alves (UD) | W - Ben Saunders (UD)
Hendricks: W - Mike Pierce (SD) | W - T.J. Waldburger (TKO) | L - Rick Story (UD)

How did these two get here?

Jon Fitch got here with one thing: wrestling. When it comes to a Fitch fight, you know what you are going to get. That style has earned him a lot of fans thanks to his hard work ethic, but it's also turned off many who like to see more action-packed fights and fighters going for the finish. Regardless of your personal views on his style, there's no denying the results. Fitch has only 1 loss in his UFC career, at the hands of the champion. He is coming in to this fight off a close draw against B.J. Penn at UFC 127.

Hendricks turned some heads in his UFC debut when he swiftly knocked out Ultimate Fighter winner Amir Sadollah. Since then, the wrestler Hendricks has been making his way up the UFC ranks, but he's been doing so almost entirely on unaired prelims. As a result, despite his solid 6-1 UFC record, many UFC fans may not be very familiar with him. In many ways, it's a similar position to the one Jon Fitch was in before he had his main card breakout performance against Diego Sanchez. This is his chance to really establish himself, but it comes against the hardest opponent he has ever faced by far.

Why should you care?

If you're a Fitch hater (and there are plenty of you out there), then this may not be for you. But if you appreciate the wrestling game in MMA, this should be good. Add in the increased divisional relevance, and I am sold.

More UFC 141 preview coverage from Bloody Elbow after the jump.

SBN coverage of UFC 141: Lesnar vs. Overeem

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