What was already billed as one of the most anticipated fights of the year just got doused with a can of gasoline.
Top UFC welterweight contender Johny Hendricks all but accused champion Georges St-Pierre of using performance enhancing drugs over the last six years of his career. The two will battle on Saturday night in Las Vegas for St-Pierre’s welterweight title.
"Have you seen him in the last two months? He shrank a little bit, hasn't he?" Hendricks said to USA Today. "Realistically, I don't know. I saw him on the press tour. The only thing I know is whenever I step into the octagon, do I still have a six-pack? Check out my pictures. I'm fat. But I love it. I'm a fat dude
"You don't gain 15, 20 pounds and still keep that form. Everybody bloats a little bit. You don't put a little water in your system without bloating. You don't put 20 pounds of water in your system without bloating."
Those powerful and thinly veiled accusatory words took on another wrinkle when St-Pierre called out Hendricks for not participating in drug-testing regiment by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency. St-Pierre said he passed his tests, and has no problem taking any others.
This will be Hendricks first title shot since he moved up from World Extreme Cagefighting to UFC in 2009. Five of the 30-year-olds victories in the octagon have come via knockout, and he’s also shown excellent endurance, winning an equal number of fights by decision. However, he’s never gone five rounds with a champion before.
The Canadian-born St-Pierre has won his last six bouts via decision. That’s 30 rounds inside the octagon over the last four years, compared to 35 career rounds for Hendricks in six years.
Experience and big fights is clearly St-Pierre’s biggest advantage but he does hold a few others. He lands 3.75 significant strikes per minute compared to 3.04 for Hendricks, and St-Pierre has displayed far more defensive prowess, thwarting opponents almost 75 percent of the time. St-Pierre can also keep Hendricks strikes at bay with a seven-inch reach advantage.
Hendricks maintains a dominate KO rate (47 percent) and take down average (5.52), and his venerable history as one of the America’s top college wrestlers could give him a huge leg up should the fight wind up on the mat.
The main card begins at 10 p.m. Eastern time, and you can order the pay-per-view event on UFC’s official site here. Their feed can be watched online or on television.
Betting Odds: St-Pierre is a -270 favorite, and Vegas has the champ likely winning on points.
Tale Of The Tape
Weight: 170 lbs
Reach: 76 in
Record: 24-2-0, 8 KOs, 5 submissions
Weight: 170 lbs
Reach: 69 in
Record: 15-1-0, 8 KOs, 1 submission