Johny Hendricks and Josh Koscheck exchange punches during UFC on FOX 3 at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, N.J. on Saturday, May 5, 2012. Esther Lin, MMA Fighting.
The semi-main event at UFC on Fox 3 was a key battle in the highest ranks of the UFC Welterweigt division. In the end, Johny Hendricks took home a victory over Josh Koscheck via split decision. Judges scored the bout 29-28 Hendricks, 29-28 Koscheck, and 29-28 Hendricks. Hendricks now holds back to back wins over Jon Fitch and Josh Koscheck and is 13-1 in his career. Koscheck drops down to 17-6 overall.
Despite both men coming in with strong wrestling credentials, this fight was decided primarily in the stand-up. For the majority of the fight, Hendricks looked to land his heavy KO punch, while Koscheck pushed him against the cage and threw punches in combos. Both rounds 1 and 2 were very close and tough to call. In round 3, Koscheck used his wrestling to score a takedown, looking to take the round with his ground control. However, it wasn't enough for the win. Very, very tough fight to score here.
What was the high spot of this fight?
About midway through the 3rd round, the two engaged in a fast-paced shoot-out, with both looking to end the fight right there. That didn't happen, but it was still a great moment.
Where do these guys go from here?
Pre-fight, Dana White said a Johny Hendricks win would earn him a UFC Welterweight title shot. But I'm not so sure. This wasn't a big highlight reel win, plus there is a huge gap before anyone other than Georges St. Pierre or Carlos Condit will be in a title fight. I expect he'll need to fight once more, either against Rory MacDonald, or the winner of Jake Ellenberger vs. Martin Kampmann.
Koscheck was at a crossroads here, and this didn't actually answer much about his future. In a close fight like this, it's hard to walk away saying he is the clear loser. So I suspect he's still in the top ranks at least once more. The loser of that Ellenberger/Kampmann fight sounds about right.
Watch it now, later or never?
Later. It's a good fight, but on a night of serious action, it's definitely the most slow-paced and least thrilling.
More Bloody Elbow coverage of UFC on Fox 3 in the full entry.