Hendricks took the split decision victory in a very close fight.
Tightly Contested Bout Decided by Slimmest of Margins
In what was a fight made to better clarify the current status of the welterweight division, scrappy veteran Josh Koscheck (19-6) and the skillful Johny Hendricks (13-1) put on a show in the co-main event of UFC on FOX 3 on Saturday. The outcome of the bout could have swung in either direction, but Hendricks was the man who emerged victorious in the end, claiming a tight split decision over Koscheck.
“I knew he was a tough fighter,” Hendricks said of Koscheck. “You’re not a top contender for as long as he’s been if you’re not good. I’ve actually been a little under the weather for the last few weeks, so I’m thrilled to have gotten through all that and still picked up the win. God helped me with this, and I couldn’t be happier to get this win. I feel so blessed and privileged to be in this situation, and if the title shot comes, it comes. If not, I’ll stand in here with anyone they put in front of me.”
By the end of the fight, much mutual respect was shown between these two fighters, but it was all business when the action was going down. After not touching each other’s gloves to get things underway, Hendricks appeared to be the victim of an accidental eye poke, but referee Kevin Mulhall was blocked from seeing anything happen, forcing him to continue with the impaired vision. Hendricks began to paw at the eye and then decided to work Koscheck to the cage to give himself a little recovery time. Once he got the fight to the fence, he delivered a series of knees before they broke and exchanged strikes to close out an entertaining first frame.
In the second round, Koscheck gained back control in the crouch, but he was unable to create much, which forced Mulhall to separate the two welterweights. Hendricks then figured out what his go-to strike would be midway through the frame, repeatedly sweeping forward with an overhand. The Texas native was having success with his strikes, and the damage truly started to show when Koscheck began developing significant swelling around his right eye. Hendricks really made it a focal point to target that eye, which was beginning to close by the time the second horn sounded.
Koscheck came out with a more furious tempo at the start of the third and final round, and the exchanges between this pair of fighters became much more violent. Both were getting backed up with strikes, but they showed true grit by immediately coming forward as soon as they replanted their feet. With about two minutes remaining, Koscheck scooped a takedown and worked his way into side control, throwing off some good ground and pound the rest of the way.
At the conclusion of the highly contested 15 minutes, the judges would be needed for their input, and their scores further confirmed just how tight this bout was. After each fighter received a 29-28 nod, a third card revealed a second 29-28 tally for Hendricks, giving him the split decision win.