American Kickboxing Academy’s Jon Fitch recently let the world know he was healthy again and would step in to replace one of his injured peers if needed. However, it turns out he won’t have to worry about taking any bouts on late notice as the UFC has revealed a match-up featuring Fitch against highly-decorated grappler Johny Hendricks.
According to the UFC, the welterweights’ December dance will take place at UFC 141 in Las Vegas as part of an event headlined by Brock Lesnar vs. Alistair Overeem.
Hendricks is 11-1 so far since transitioning to MMA after being named an All-American multiple times and taking home a few NCAA championships during his run as a wrestler at Oklahoma State. When Hendricks locks horns with Fitch on December 30 he’ll be looking for a third straight win in the Octagon after beating T.J. Waldburger and Mike Pierce in his last two outings. The 28-year old also holds past victories over Charlie Brenneman and Amir Sadollah.
The New Year’s Eve weekend bout will be the first for Fitch since injuring his shoulder after a February Draw against B.J. Penn. At 23-3-1, as well as a winner in 21 of 22 previous pairings, Fitch has been considered a top 170-pound contender for years but only received a single title-shot based on the way he grinds opponents down rather than throws caution to the wind in hopes of a stoppage. While not necessarily the most fan-friendly style, Fitch’s approach has certainly delivered its fair share of success including wins over Diego Sanchez, Ben Saunders, Paulo Thiago, and Thiago Alves.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC
MMATraining Take: I’m glad Fitch is booked for a fight and I’m equally happy Hendricks is getting an opportunity to shine against a legitimate “Top 3” adversary. However, the cynic in me is concerned it could be a relatively boring bout in terms of mediocre striking coupled with lots of stale-mating on the ground.