Free UFC Picks: Bigg Rigg Power Packs KO Punch Over Thompson

Swinging Johnson

Monday, February 1, 2016 6:26 PM UTC

Monday, Feb. 1, 2016 6:26 PM UTC

Former UFC welterweight champion Johny “Bigg Rigg” Hendricks will take on Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson this Saturday night in Sin City. Let’s check who gives us the best UFC picks.

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Free UFC Pick: Hendricks -220
Best Line Offered: at Heritage


Johny Hendricks (17-3, 8 KO’s, 1 Sub)
Johny Hendricks has been fighting the cream of the UFC welterweight crop over his last five fights beginning with a unanimous decision victory over Carlos Condit at UFC 158. He then suffered a split decision loss to the legendary George St. Pierre, a unanimous decision victory over Robbie Lawler for the vacated welterweight crown, a split decision loss to Lawler in the rematch for the title and finally another UD win over the tough as nails Matt Brown. All those wars occurred within a span of only two years and now Hendricks is back inside the Octagon duking it out with another top contender in Stephen Thompson.

Hendricks is a traditional southpaw with punishing power. He is also a four-time All-American Division 1 wrestler with enormous strength who can rag-doll opponents like few in the division. Perhaps the only thing he lacks is a submission game as evidenced by owning only one lone tapout via D’arce choke over Richard Gamble almost eight years ago. Hendricks relies on a murderous left hook and has the capacity to slam an opponent when the opportunity presents itself.


Stephen Thompson (11-1, 6 KO’s, 1 Sub)
Stephen Thompson has impeccable martial arts credentials owning more belts than Men’s Warehouse. He has blended all those skills into an impressive 11-1 MMA record recording six knockouts amongst those victories as well as one submission. Thompson last stepped foot inside the Octagon to meet Jake Ellenberger and ended the affair courtesy of a spinning hook kick with just 31seconds remaining in the opening round. The spectacular knockout resulted in a Performance of the Night bonus at TUF: American Top Team versus Blackzilians on July 15th of last year.

The Wonderboy has notched KO’s in three of his last four matches with the only blemish on his otherwise pristine record coming to UFC veteran Matt Brown in April of 2012 via unanimous decision. Thompson has flawless fundamentals and comes at his opponent from a variety of angles often using counterpunches to connect after his attacker has overcommitted. He is also expert at evasive tactics and often switches from a southpaw to an orthodox stance in order to combat and confuse the opposition. Hook kicks, spinning heel kicks and crescent kicks are part and parcel of Thompson’s vast arsenal and he executes all of them with the skill of a world class karateka.


Betting Analysis
If Stephen Thompson is an F-22 Raptor then Johny Hendricks is a B-2 bomber. Thompson has a world of weaponry at his disposal able to annihilate virtually anything in its path. However, Hendricks is the shock-and-awe bunker-busting bomb dropper that obliterates targets unfortunate enough to be on the receiving end of its jaw-dropping power.

Thompson owns a substantial height and reach advantage over Hendricks but that is nothing new to the former champ. Hendricks is built like a steamroller and his low center of gravity is actually one of his biggest allies in the wrestling game. But the question is will Hendricks be able to shoot and get inside of Thompson without getting caught with one of Wonderboy’s long range missiles? Hendricks owns a power advantage over Thompson and his status as a truly elite wrestler will overcome any disadvantages he has against a striker of Thompson’s ilk.

If Thompson can somehow avoid or stuff Hendrick’s takedown attempts, he owns this fight, unless of course he gets caught with one of Bigg Rigg’s thunderous left crosses. Thompson has never been knocked out, but then again, he has never experienced an opponent at 170 that possesses the power of Johny Hendricks. Matt Brown is the only common opponent between these two and while Thompson suffered a loss via unanimous decision, Hendricks earned the win by the same method.

This will be a five-round fight due to its newly minted main event status, but I don’t see it going that long. One of these fighters will take a very public nap, and I don’t see Hendricks as the one to do it. The UFC odds reflect Hendricks as a fairly sizeable favorite but that won’t deter us from including Bigg Rigg in our UFC picks on February 6th.

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