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UFC 171 breakdown, betting odds and picks

Johny Hendricks expected to claim championship many think he already deserves

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Johny Hendricks hits Georges St. Pierre with a right during their title fight at UFC 167 on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. St. Pierre won with a controversial split decision.

Johny Hendricks must feel like the most popular fighter in the UFC — or at least among the most supported.

An abnormal number of fans picked Hendricks going into his welterweight championship bout against Georges St. Pierre, who hadn’t lost in six years and 11 fights, last November. Even after the judges rendered a split-decision verdict in favor of St. Pierre, almost everyone argued Hendricks deserved the victory.

That put “Big Rigg” into another title fight, one in which practically no one is picking against him. Hendricks is a minus-400 (risking $4 to win $1) favorite, the biggest of his UFC career, against Robbie Lawler in the main event of UFC 171 on Saturday in Dallas.

Lawler comes back at plus-325 (risking $1 to win $3.25). The Strikeforce veteran has looked renewed since returning to the UFC, but not enough to sway anyone on the Las Vegas Sun’s picks panel to call for the upset.

All five prognosticators, like seemingly everyone else, sided with Hendricks.

Check below for a breakdown of all 13 fights on the pay-per-view card along with odds and picks from ESPN Radio’s Steve Cofield (25-9), the Sun’s Case Keefer (24-10), ESPN.com’s Brett Okamoto (20-14), Las Vegas Sun’s Ray Brewer (20-14) and KSNV’s Randy Howe (18-16).

Robbie Lawler

  • Age: 31
  • Height: 5’11”
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 7-3
  • MMA record 22-9
  • Out of: Coconut Creek, Fla.
  • Betting line: +325

Johny Hendricks

  • Age: 30
  • Height: 5’9”
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 10-2
  • MMA record 15-2
  • Out of: Dallas
  • Betting line: -400

Welterweight Championship Bout

Main Event

Last fight: Split-decision win over Rory MacDonald at UFC 167.

Punch list: After he lost three of his last four fights in Strikeforce, Lawler’s prospects weren’t looking bright when he merged back into the UFC. Naysayers could dismiss his flash-knockout of aging Josh Koscheck or beatdown of overmatched Bobby Voelker, but supplementing those with a win over MacDonald for a three-fight win streak validated his comeback.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

Howe: Hendricks

Cofield: Hendricks

Last fight: Split-decision loss to Georges St. Pierre at UFC 167.

Punch list: Uncrowned champion is an overused phrase in mixed martial arts, but it would be hard to call Hendricks anything else. The vast majority of the fight world believes he beat St. Pierre back in November and deserves to be defending his belt for the first time here. Hendricks has sworn he won’t make the mistake twice and let up thinking he has the fight clinched.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Hendricks

Brewer: Hendricks

Okamoto: Hendricks

Tyron Woodley

  • Age: 31
  • Height: 5’9”
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 2-1
  • MMA record 12-2
  • Out of: St. Louis
  • Betting line: +170

Carlos Condit

  • Age: 34
  • Height: 6’2”
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 6-3
  • MMA record 29-7
  • Out of: Albuquerque, N.M.
  • Betting line: -200

Welterweight Bout

Co-Main Event

Last fight: Knocked out Josh Koscheck in the first round at UFC 167.

Punch list: “T-Wood” is relentless. Not only when he fights, but when he talks. The latter is what got him into this bout, which has the makings of a title eliminator. Woodley was adamant he deserved the shot at Condit and blew up UFC President Dana White’s phone until he got it.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

Howe: Condit

Cofield: Condit

Last fight: Knocked out Martin Kampmann in the fourth round at UFC Fight Night 27.

Punch list: Hendricks likes to say no one had ever made St. Pierre look as beat up as he did at UFC 167. He must have missed Condit’s title shot at UFC 154. Condit brings danger to every opponent, even when he loses. He tore up St. Pierre’s and Hendricks’ faces in his only two losses of the last four years.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Woodley

Brewer: Woodley

Okamoto: Condit

Myles Jury

  • Age: 31
  • Height: 5’10”
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 4-0
  • MMA record 13-0
  • Out of: San Diego
  • Betting line: -170

Diego Sanchez

  • Age: 31
  • Height: 5’10”
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 12-6
  • MMA record 24-6
  • Out of: Albuquerque, N.M.
  • Betting line: +150

Lightweight Bout

Featured Contest

Last fight: Split-decision win over Mike Ricci at UFC 165.

Punch list: One of the UFC’s top lightweight prospects finds his chance to cross over into the top division here. Jury has been bandied about since before he could legally drink a beer and twice appeared on “The Ultimate Fighter” leading into his perfect UFC star.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

Howe: Jury

Cofield: Jury

Last fight: Unanimous-decision loss to Gilbert Melendez at UFC 166.

Punch list: Coming off two losses in his last three fights, “The Dream” wants to change precisely nothing. The bout with Melendez specifically was one of the best in UFC history, and at this point, those types of fights are what motivate Sanchez.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Jury

Brewer: Sanchez

Okamoto: Jury

Hector Lombard

  • Age: 36
  • Height: 5’9”
  • Weight: 166
  • UFC record 2-2
  • MMA record 33-4
  • Out of: Coconut Creek, Fla.
  • Betting line: -200

Jake Shields

  • Age: 35
  • Height: 6’0”
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 4-2
  • MMA record 29-6-1
  • Out of: San Francisco
  • Betting line: +170

Welterweight Bout

Main Card Fight

Last fight: First-round knockout victory over Nate Marquardt at UFC 166.

Punch list: The former Bellator middleweight champion used to scoff at the idea of going to welterweight. Now that he’s there, he can’t imagine anything else. Not at least after savagely knocking out a veteran like Marquardt in his debut.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

Howe: Shields

Cofield: Shields

Last fight: Split-decision win over Demian Maia at UFC Fight Night 29.

Punch list: The co-main event is expected to produce the next welterweight top contender, but the winner of this bout can’t be far behind. Shields has talked about working his way back to a championship bout ever since losing to Georges St. Pierre three years ago, and with a two-fight winning streak, he’s right there.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Shields

Brewer: Lombard

Okamoto: Lombard

Nikita Krylov

  • Age: 22
  • Height: 6’3”
  • Weight: 205
  • UFC record 1-1
  • MMA record 16-3
  • Out of: Donetsk, Ukraine
  • Betting line: +300

Ovince St. Preux

  • Age: 29
  • Height: 6’3”
  • Weight: 205
  • UFC record 2-0
  • MMA record 14-5
  • Out of: Knoxville, Tenn.
  • Betting line: -400

Light Heavyweight Bout

Pay-Per-View Opener

Last fight: First-round TKO victory over Walt Harris at UFC on Fox 10.

Punch list: Like his namesake, “The Al Capone” has stayed busy if nothing else. He’ll fight for the third time in less than seven months since joining the UFC but will have to cut down to 205 pounds. His first two fights were at heavyweight.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

Howe: Krylov

Cofield: St. Preux

Last fight: First-round knockout victory over Cody Donovan at UFC Fight Night 26.

Punch list: The UFC has worked St. Preux up the ranks methodically since he’s come over from Strikeforce, a trend that continues in Dallas. St. Preux has a lot of promise with his power and strength, but needs to work on his technique and fluidity.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: St. Preux

Brewer: St. Preux

Okamoto: St. Preux

Rick Story

  • Age: 29
  • Height: 5’10”
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 9-5
  • MMA record 16-7
  • Out of: Vancouver, Wash.
  • Betting line: +155

Kelvin Gastelum

  • Age: 22
  • Height: 5’9”
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 2-0
  • MMA record 7-0
  • Out of: Yuma, Ariz.
  • Betting line: -180

Welterweight Bout

Fox Sports 1 Prelim

Last fight: Beat Brian Ebersole by unanimous decision at UFC 167.

Punch list: With Georges St. Pierre retiring, Story becomes the only active fighter to hold a win over Hendricks. That was four years ago in the middle of a stretch that had fans talking about Story as a potential future champion. “The Horror” is only 4-4 since then.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

Howe: Gastelum

Cofield: Gastelum

Last fight: Submitted Brian Melancon in the first round at UFC Fight Night 27.

Punch list: “The Ultimate Fighter” 17 champion has shown tremendous potential, but he’s never faced someone on Story’s level. The former North Idaho College wrestler has mostly fought fellow youngsters to this point, but his path of destruction pressed the UFC into boosting him.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Story

Brewer: Gastelum

Okamoto: Story

Jessica Andrade

  • Age: 22
  • Height: 5’2”
  • Weight: 135
  • UFC record 1-1
  • MMA record 10-3
  • Out of: Umuarama, Brazil
  • Betting line: -300

Raquel Pennington

  • Age: 25
  • Height: 5’7”
  • Weight: 135
  • UFC record 0-1
  • MMA record 4-3
  • Out of: Colorado Springs, Colo.
  • Betting line: +230

Women’s Bantamweight Bout

Fox Sports 1 Prelim

Last fight: Unanimous-decision win over Rosi Sexton at UFC Fight Night 30.

Punch list: Like many of the Brazilian men at her weight, Andrade’s background rests in jiujitsu and Muay Thai. Before coming to the UFC, she had finished all of her fights with a total of five submissions and four knockouts.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

Howe: Andrade

Cofield: Andrade

Last fight: Unanimous-decision win over Roxanne Modafferi at “The Ultimate Fighter” 18 finale.

Punch list: “Rocky” finds herself in the UFC despite an 0-2 record from her time in Invicta. She salvaged an unsatisfying showing in “The Ultimate Fighter” 18 — a semifinal loss to Jessica Rakoczy — with a win at the finale.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Andrade

Brewer: Andrade

Okamoto: Andrade

Jimy Hettes

  • Age: 26
  • Height: 5’9”
  • Weight: 145
  • UFC record 3-1
  • MMA record 11-1
  • Out of: Swoyersville, Penn.
  • Betting line: +175

Dennis Bermudez

  • Age: 27
  • Height: 5’6”
  • Weight: 145
  • UFC record 5-1
  • MMA record 12-3
  • Out of: Farmingdale, N.Y.
  • Betting line: -200

Featherweight Bout

Fox Sports 1 Prelim

Last fight: Second-round submission victory over Rob Whiteford at UFC Fight Night 30.

Punch list: “The Kid” will have to show improved wrestling chops against Bermudez, as his only loss in the UFC came when Marcus Brimage controlled him at UFC 152. Hettes had built a profile as one of the best up-and-comers in the 145-pound division, but injuries have kept him from staying very active.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

Howe: Bermudez

Cofield: Bermudez

Last fight: Unanimous-decision win over Steven Siler UFC: Fight For The Troops 3.

Punch list: Funny to think that a few years ago Bermudez was known just as another wrestler. He’s broken out of that shadow with some wild fights that were a part of his current five-bout winning streak, a stretch that’s also transformed him from a middling fighter to a possible contender.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Hettes

Brewer: Bermudez

Okamoto: Bermudez

Alex Garcia

  • Age: 26
  • Height: 5’9”
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 1-0
  • MMA record 11-1
  • Out of: Montreal
  • Betting line: -400

Sean Spencer

  • Age: 26
  • Height: 5’10”
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 2-1
  • MMA record 11-2
  • Out of: Dallas
  • Betting line: +300

Welterweight Bout

Fox Sports 1 Prelim

Last fight: First-round knockout over Ben Wall at UFC Fight Night 33.

Punch list: A member of Georges St. Pierre’s Tristar Gym, Garcia started to make a name for himself with a flash-knockdown in his UFC debut. He didn’t even have to show any of his grappling, which is considered the strength of his game

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

Howe: Spencer

Cofield: Garcia

Last fight: Unanimous-decision win over Drew Dober at “The Ultimate Fighter” 18 finale.

Punch list: A two-fight win streak merited quite the award for Spencer. Not only does the Bellator veteran get a hometown fight in his fourth UFC bout, but he’s also appearing on a pay-per-view card for the first time.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Garcia

Brewer: Garcia

Okamoto: Garcia

Frank Trevino

  • Age: 32
  • Height: 5’10”
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 0-0
  • MMA record 11-0
  • Out of: Edinburg, Texas
  • Betting line: +105

Renee Forte

  • Age: 26
  • Height: 5’7”
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 1-2
  • MMA record 8-3
  • Out of: Fortaleza, Brazil
  • Betting line: -135

Lightweight Bout

Fox Sports 1 Prelim

Last fight: Unanimous-decision win over Chris Spang at UFC on Fuel TV 9.

Punch list: “Frank” went on a regional-circuit run that the UFC simply couldn’t ignore. He converted a streak of knockouts into a South Texas Fighting Championships title before winning a bout in the larger Legacy Fighting Championships to get the UFC’s attention.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

Howe: Trevino

Cofield: Forte

Last fight: First-round knockout loss to John Makdessi at UFC 165.

Punch list: Forte lost in the opening round of “The Ultimate Fighter” Brazil’s inaugural season before also getting submitted in the finale. He bounced back to pull off a big upset over Terry Etim, but finds himself back on the chopping block after Makdessi blew him out.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Forte

Brewer: Trevino

Okamoto: Forte

Justin Scoggins

  • Age: 21
  • Height: 5’7”
  • Weight: 125
  • UFC record 1-0
  • MMA record 8-0
  • Out of: Greenville, S.C.
  • Betting line: -500

Will Campuzano

  • Age: 27
  • Height: 5’9”
  • Weight: 135
  • UFC record 0-3
  • MMA record 13-5
  • Out of: Sacramento, Calif.
  • Betting line: +350

Flyweight Bout

UFC Fight Pass Prelim

Last fight: First-round TKO victory over Richie Vaculik at UFC Fight Night 33.

Punch list: The first of several American Top Team fighters on the Dallas card, some think Scoggins has the chance to turn out the best of all of them. The third-youngest fighter in the UFC is very accomplished for his age, finishing seven of eight fights in his career.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

Howe: Scoggins

Cofield: Scoggins

Last fight: Unanimous-decision loss to Sergio Pettis at UFC 167.

Punch list: The Pettis defeat snapped a streak of five straight wins outside of the octagon. Campuzano now risks getting cut from the UFC for a second time and Zuffa a third time after a stint in the WEC also ended unceremoniously.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Scoggins

Brewer: Campuzano

Okamoto: Scoggins

Sean Strickland

  • Age: 23
  • Height: 6’1”
  • Weight: 185
  • UFC record 0-0
  • MMA record 13-0
  • Out of: Riverside, Calif.
  • Betting line: -140

Bubba McDaniel

  • Age: 30
  • Height: 5’10”
  • Weight: 185
  • UFC record 1-1
  • MMA record 21-7
  • Out of: Albuquerque, N.M.
  • Betting line: +110

Middleweight Bout

UFC Fight Pass Prelim

Last fight: First-round TKO victory over Matt Lager at King of the Cage: Split Decision.

Punch list: All but one of Strickland’s previous fights have come in King of the Cage, a longtime proving ground for future UFC fighters. Can’t argue with the results as he had seven submissions and four knockouts in 12 fights in the promotion.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

Howe: Strickland

Cofield: Strickland

Last fight: Unanimous-decision loss to Brad Tavares at UFC Fight Night 27.

Punch list: McDaniel thought “The Ultimate Fighter” portrayed him unflatteringly and has worked to change his perception now that he’s off the show. A submission win over Gilbert Smith was a good start, but a dull performance against Tavares sent him back to square one.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Strickland

Brewer: Strickland

Okamoto: McDaniel

Robert Whiteford

  • Age: 23
  • Height: 5’5”
  • Weight: 131
  • UFC record 0-1
  • MMA record 10-2
  • Out of: Glasgow, Scotland
  • Betting line: +175

Daniel Pineda

  • Age: 28
  • Height: 5’7”
  • Weight: 145
  • UFC record 3-3
  • MMA record 18-10
  • Out of: Houston
  • Betting line: -225

Featherweight Bout

UFC Fight Pass Prelim

Last fight: Second-round submission loss to Jimy Hettes at UFC Fight Night 30.

Punch list: Whiteford worked as a plumber and heating engineer before getting into the UFC. He has a judo background but quickly took to the striking aspects of mixed martial arts to rack up six knockout wins.

Picks: KSNV and ESPN Radio

Howe: Whiteford

Cofield: Pineda

Last fight: Unanimous-decision loss to Diego Brandao at UFC Fight Night 26.

Punch list: “The Pit” can grapple with just about anyone in the division, but that hasn’t been enough lately. He’s lost three of four with his only win since March 2012 coming against now-cut Justin Lawrence.

Picks: Las Vegas Sun and ESPN.com

Keefer: Pineda

Brewer: Whiteford

Okamoto: Whiteford

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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