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UFC 167 blog: Confusion reigns as St. Pierre controversially wins and retires

Rashad Evans will hold bragging rights over friend Chael Sonnen

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Johny Hendricks and Georges St. Pierre raise their arms after the end of their title fight at UFC 167 Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. St. Pierre retained his belt in a controversial split decision.

Updated Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013 | 10:15 p.m.

UFC 167: St. Pierre vs. Hendricks

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

Note: Full results from the preliminary card available at the bottom.

The scores brought Johny Hendricks to his knees -- and not in an overjoyed manner.

Hendricks collapsed to the canvas of the octagon at UFC 167 in disbelief, in shock. He was certain announcer Bruce Buffer would proclaim, “and new UFC welterweight champion,” but the second word was replaced with “still.”

Georges St. Pierre edged Johny Hendricks by split decision (48-47, 48-47, 47-48) in the main event of the UFC’s 20th anniversary card to successfully defend his belt for the 10th consecutive time.

“I’m pretty sure I won but Georges is a great competitor,” Hendricks said while still in the octagon. “It sucks but I’m coming back. I’ll get that belt. It’s mine.”

He might not have the opportunity to take it off of St. Pierre. Amid the confusion from fans and media of how Hendricks lost the fight, St. Pierre added to it by kind of, sort of announcing his retirement.

Citing personal reasons, the long-reigning champion announced he had to “hang up the gloves for a little bit.” When pressed on if he was done with mixed martial arts, the 32-year-old was less than resolute.

“I will make a point on that a little later,” St. Pierre said. “Right now, I’ve got to go away for a little bit.”

In the eyes of many, St. Pierre’s legacy will be tainted while he’s away from the sport. Most media members scored the fight in favor of Hendricks, though the Sun gave St. Pierre the nod at 48-47.

The decision came down to the first round, in which two of three judges sided with St. Pierre over Hendricks.

“I wasn’t surprised at all but I lost a little bit of memory of what happened,” St. Pierre said. “I want to put my hands up to Johny Hendricks, my toughest opponent so far.”

St. Pierre’s training partner and protégé Rory MacDonald also wound up on the wrong side of a split decision. He lost to Robbie Lawler, who secured the victory by knocking down MacDonald in the final round.

Rashad Evans and Tyron Woodley didn’t let it get to the judges on the main card. Evans won via first-round TKO at 4:05 over Chael Sonnen, using ground-and-pound to earn a stoppage.

Woodley took 35 seconds longer, but was more definitive in putting Josh Koscheck out cold with a right hand. In the first fight of the main card, Ali Bagautinov beat Tim Elliott by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) in flyweight action.

Check back later for more coverage of UFC 167 and look below for the live blog of the main card and preliminary-card results at the bottom of the page.

 

The pageantry ends; the fights begin.

The UFC rang in its 20th anniversary with a weeklong series of events recognizing and honoring its forefathers and legends. It all led up to tonight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena where a packed crowd will take in UFC 167, a particularly loaded offering of a pay-per-view card.

No ceremonies or formal recognitions are slated for the figures the week was built around aside from perhaps a quick flash on the arena’s screens. The UFC got all of that out of the way and now wants to focus on the fights.

They’re enough to give a proper celebration to a milestone in the history of the biggest mixed martial arts promotion. As is often the case when he fights, Georges St. Pierre has stolen most of the attention going into his second welterweight title defense of the year.

St. Pierre takes on Johny Hendricks, whom the champion calls the toughest test of his career, in what some believe might be the 32-year-old’s final fight. The champion has shot down, but not completely denied murmurs of his retirement.

The feeling is if St. Pierre walked away now, he could open up an opportunity for teammate Rory MacDonald to seize the title without having to fight him. MacDonald is another one of the featured fighters at UFC 167, as he takes on power-puncher Robbie Lawler in a welterweight bout two fights before the main event.

In between is a light heavyweight bout with two guys who have headlined several pay-per-views in their own right, Rashad Evans and Chael Sonnen. Evans and Sonnen still cling to the dream of winning a UFC title, which makes a victory tonight of the utmost importance.

Opening the 20th anniversary main card is a flyweight bout between Tim Elliott and Ali Bagautinov with welterweights Josh Koscheck and Tyron Woodley taking the stage from there.

Stay tuned to lasvegassun.com for a live blog of the action and look below for full results from the preliminary card.

Donald Cerrone and Evan Dunham enlivened the crowd after an otherwise dull undercard. Cerrone submitted Dunham at 3:49 of the second round with a triangle choke, after "Cowboy" nearly finished the Las Vegas native with strikes in the first round.

A striking flurry during the opening few seconds of a middleweight bout gave way to 14 minutes worth of grappling exchanges. Thales Leites dominated Ed Herman in all facets, winning a unanimous decision victory in which he won every round on every card.

If Georges St. Pierre performs as well as the fight he flew to Montreal to train with him, he's in business. Rick Story, the only fighter to ever defeat Johny Hendricks, dismantled Brian Ebersole with a unanimous-decision victory (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) in a welterweight bout.

"El Goyito" assaulted "El Feroz" in bantamweight action. Out-striking and dropping his opponent multiple times, Erik Perez crusied to a unanimous decision over Edwin Figueroa in which he won every round on every judges' scorecard.

In a welterweight fight that played out much like everyone expected as a grappling match, Jason High topped Anthony Lapsley by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28). Other than the second round, where High got trapped underneath Lapsley, the "Kansas City Bandit" consistently threatened the newcomer with submission attempts.

The debut everyone looked forward to went pretty much according to plan. Anthony Pettis' younger brother showed off both his striking and grappling chops en route to a win in his first UFC appearance. Pettis won a unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28) over Will Campuzano in a bantamweight bout.

Gian Villante defeated Cody Donovan by TKO at 1:22 of the second round in their light heavyweight bout. Villante put Donovan out with a straight right hand.

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

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