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UFC 171: Johny Hendricks defeats Robbie Lawler by unanimous decision

March 15, 2014|By Todd Martin
  • Johny Hendricks, left, won the UFC welterweight title with his unanimous decision over Robbie Lawler on Saturday night.
Johny Hendricks, left, won the UFC welterweight title with his unanimous… (Matt Strasen / Associated…)

UFC 171 takes place Saturday night from Dallas, Texas with a series of high profile welterweight contests. In the main event, Johny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler will fight to crown a new UFC welterweight champion. Longtime champion Georges St. Pierre elected to take a sabbatical from the sport following a controversial decision win over Hendricks, leaving the division’s top prize up for grabs. Many felt Hendricks defeated St. Pierre and now the former NCAA wrestling champion with explosive knockout power will look to win the title he prizes so highly. Lawler has traveled a remarkable path to reach this point. He was considered one of the UFC's biggest future stars a decade ago, only to suffer a series of losses that dropped him out of the company. He was something of a journeyman middleweight when a trio of impressive wins in his return to the UFC earned him this spot. In the semi-main event, top contenders Carlos Condit and Tyron Woodley will fight looking to lock up the shot at the winner of the main event.

In preliminary action on UFC’s internet Fight Pass service, Robert Whiteford earned a unanimous decision win over Daniel Pineda. Sean Strickland impressed in his UFC debut, submitting Bubba McDaniel with a rear naked choke in the first round. Undefeated prospect Justin Scoggins scored a dominant unanimous decision victory over Will Campuzano. And Francisco Trevino overcame early trouble to best Renee Forte via unanimous decision.

UFC welterweight title: Johny Hendricks vs. Robbie Lawler

Hendricks was a dominant collegiate wrestler, twice winning the NCAA Division I title and finishing as an All American four times at Oklahoma State. He then added a quality striking game and explosive knockout power to his game. His latest fight against Georges St. Pierre was a heartbreaking and widely criticized decision loss and Hendricks now has a chance to get that title. Lawler was once thought to be a future dominant welterweight but he hit a lot of roadblocks on the way to this title shot. The prodigal son now returns to the position he was once firmly targeted for.

Round 1. Hendricks lands a leg kick to start. Lawler moves in with power punches and lands a series of big shots to the head. The crowd chants for Johny. Hendricks moves in and clinches. He presses Lawler against the cage and looks for a takedown. Hendricks can't get it so he throws a couple punches to the head and backs off. Hendricks then shoots for another takedown. Lawler defends nicely. Hendricks lands a knee to the body and backs off. He follows with a leg kick and a few punches. He hits Lawler with a good power punch and backs off. Lawler throws a few jabs and a straight punch that connects pretty well. Hendricks hits Lawler with a left punch and shoots in for another takedown attempt. Lawler defends well again. 10-9 Hendricks.

Round 2. Hendricks starts out a lot more active, throwing out lots of shots from different angles while Lawler sits back and looks to land a big power shot. Hendricks punishes Lawler with a nice combination of punches, kicks and a knee. Hendricks lands a few hard inside leg kicks. Lawler nails Hendricks with a power hook the briefly backs Hendricks up. Lawler stuffs a takedown defense easily but eats a punch on the break. Lawler moves in but eats a hook in the process. Lawler lands a hard punch but Hendricks smiles and answers back with a series of shots including a nice knee to the head. 10-9 Hendricks.

Round 3. Hendricks goes back to work with leg kicks. he grabs a clinch and lands some knees to the body. Hendricks keeps throwing volume punches. Lawler covers up and avoids damage but Hendricks is preventing him from getting off because of Hendricks' activity. Lawler stuns Hendricks with a left punch to the head and backs him against the cage with power punches. Hendricks is in big danger. He tries to answer back but keeps eating big punches. Hendricks is determined to fight out of danger. He's playing a very dangerous game. Hendricks finally shoots for a takedown but can't get it. Lawler is now the aggressor. Hendricks does land a nice knee. Lawler is more active with his jab, landing consistently on the chin of Hendricks. That was close to a 10-8 round. Hendricks didn't go down but Lawler came awfully close to finishing. He hurt Hendricks badly. 10-9 Lawler.

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