If Johny Hendricks were going to face himself, the guy across would look similar to Mike Pierce. In a very even fight, Hendricks and Pierce nailed each other on the feet and engaged in some nasty striking from the clinch. Hendricks landed a few more solid strikes in the opening two rounds to eek out a split decision victory, 29-28, 28-29 and 29-28, on the undercard of UFC 133 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pa.
Hendricks moved to 11-1, but it wasn't easy. A legendary NCAA Div. 1 wrestler at Oklahoma State, Hendricks never really got Pierce to the ground in seven attempts.
Working with Team Takedown in Texas, Hendricks' constant work on his striking really paid off tonight. Hendricks used his jab more effectively setting up a nice left uppercut, and he was more precise when the fight got into close quarters. According to Fight Metric, Hendricks had the significant strike advantage 54-37 landed.
Pierce (12-4, 4-1 UFC) had a three-fight win streak snapped, but he has nothing to be embarrassed about. He grappled on even terms with a guy who won two NCAA national titles at 165 pounds.
Menjivar escapes against youngster Pace
Ivan Menjivar has fought all over the world and against some big dudes, but Nick Pace was up to the task. The 24-year-old landed a few takedowns, and a brutal knee with 90 seconds left in the fight, but Menjivar's slick striking game helped him gain a unanimous decision victory, 29-28 on all three cards.
Behind an excellent kicking game, Menjivar (23-8, 2-2 UFC) grabbed the second and third rounds. With 1:30 left in the fight, the final round got a little scary when Pace (6-2, 1-1 UFC) landed a huge knee on Menjivar's left eye. The El Salvadoran grabbed for the eye. It almost looked like he was suggesting that he got poked. That wasn't the case. He was simply in a lot of pain.
Menjivar literally began running for the next few seconds and then wisely circled to his right for the rest of the fight. Menjivar was set up for a big right, but the youngster never cut off the ring.
Menjivar's experience paid off and when he settled into a rhythm, his striking was flashy. Keep in mind this is a guy, who fought Matt Serra at UFC 48. Serra now fights at 170 pounds. This fight was supposed to be waged at 135 and turned out to be a catchweight fight at 138.