FIGHT BLOG RECAP: Hendricks beats Lawler in instant classic
For the first time in nearly seven years, a new welterweight champion will be crowned as Johny Hendricks takes on Robbie Lawler in the main event of UFC 171 from Dallas
Johny Hendricks is the new UFC welterweight champion after a five round classic versus Robbie Lawler
Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC / Zuffa LLC
By Damon Martin
Johny Hendricks can now stand proud as the new UFC welterweight champion of the world after a five-round classic against Robbie Lawler in what will go down as one of the best title fights in the history of MMA.
For 25 minutes, Hendricks and Lawler battled back and forth and a mix of blood, sweat and tears resulted in a fight that will be remembered for years to come. After four very close rounds, Hendricks found a way to pull away in the final five minutes to get the decision.
Hendricks now stands tall as the new welterweight champion -- a lifelong dream come true for the former two-time NCAA champion in wrestling.
Robbie Lawler out to "Beautiful" by Eminem. Johny Hendricks to "$50 and a Flask of Crown" by Bleu Edmondson
Round 1: Lawler tags Hendricks early with a flurry of punches, but he's OK and it's back to the center. Hendricks looking for the takedown, but Lawler blocks and separates back to the middle. Hendricks hops in with a nice combination to back Lawler off. Hendricks getting aggressive with his standup before he shoots in again looking for the takedown, but Lawler defends well.
R1 10-9 Johny Hendricks
Round 2: Lawler comes over the top with a crisp left hand tagging Hendricks behind the ear. Hendricks fires back with a kick and some in close punches and Lawler is starting to feel these shots. Hendricks mixing up his attacks and he's hurting Lawler with everything he's throwing. Hendricks is just picking Lawler apart right now and he's standing flat footed getting hit. Lawler does manage to close with a nice hook that lands on Hendricks' jaw as he smiles and walks back to his corner
R2 10-9 Johny Hendricks
Round 3: Hendricks tags Lawler with a couple of good knees to start the round and he's on the attack. Lawler nails Hendricks with a big shot and he's hurt. Lawler follows up and Hendricks looked really dazed as the attack continues. Hendricks seems OK now, but Lawler is still controlling these exchanges. Hendricks is coming back now, clearly recovered from the earlier danger. Definitely Lawler's best round but he couldn't get the finish
R3 10-9 Robbie Lawler
Round 4: Lawler is hitting Hendricks with some nasty punches again this round. Hendricks isn't going away and he comes firing back with a barrage of his own. Hendricks has a big cut under his right eye and it's bleeding badly. Hendricks is still coming after Lawler but he's not landing as accurately as before. Lawler hammers Hendricks with a big uppercut. These two are really going after it. Lawler pops a stiff jab and the round ends with Hendricks getting a takedown.
R4 10-9 Robbie Lawler
Round 5: Hendricks looking for the takedown while hitting knees to Lawler's thigh against the cage. Lawler is staying very active with his punches right in Hendricks' face. Lawler nails a pair of right hooks. Hendricks comes back with strikes of his own and he has Lawler hurt. Lawler is dazed and Hendricks is looking for the knockout. Hendricks gets the takedown with less than a minute to go. The fight comes to an end with Hendricks on top punching away
R5 10-9 Johny Hendricks -- FOX Sports scores the fight 48-47 Johny Hendricks
Official decision: Johny Hendricks def. Robbie Lawler by unanimous decision (48-47 on all cards)
Analysis: One of the greatest UFC title fights of all time. Hendricks and Lawler were deadlocked going into the fifth round and it was just a matter of a few punches that made the difference. Hendricks wore Lawler out in the final round, got the last takedown and he's now the new UFC welterweight champion. He has the title, but there's no way Lawler doesn't earn a rematch with more than a single win in his next fight. Hendricks is now the champion and the top welterweight in the sport in what is now a wide-open division. There's no clear-cut top contender for his next challenge, but Hendricks said he wanted to face all comers so the UFC will surely find him a top contender soon enough.
Carlos Condit vs. Tyron Woodley
Round 1: Woodley comes over the top with two big right hands that slam into Condit's jaw. The fighters gets stuck in the clinch for a big chunk of the first round, neither gains the clear upper hand. Condit starts to open up with his punches and kicks, but Woodley slips under and gets the takedown. Condit goes for a triangle choke, but Woodley gets out and then grabs another takedown to put him on the mat.
R1 10-9 Tyron Woodley
Round 2: Condit coming out aggressive looking to put the pressure on Woodley, but he gives up the takedown again. Condit hurt his knee in the midst of the takedown, and once back on the feet Woodley hits a leg kick and as he turns his knee buckles and he falls to the ground in obvious pain. The fight is over, it appears Condit has seriously hurt his knee. Unfortunate ending to the fight
Official result: Tyron Woodley def. Carlos Condit by TKO (injury) at 2:00, R2
Analysis: It's unfortunate that Condit's knee finished the fight, but Woodley was ahead at the time of the stoppage. To that point, Woodley looked really strong with his punching power and wrestling to negate Condit's striking. Following the win, Woodley asked for a title shot, but it might be a bit too soon for that even with a win over Condit on Saturday night. Maybe Woodley gets Rory MacDonald or Matt Brown, if he's victorious in his next fight against Erick Silva in May. It's not quite title shot time for Woodley yet.
Diego Sanchez vs. Myles Jury
Round 1: Jury nails Sanchez with a big shot early. Sanchez tries to draw Jury into an exchange, but he's not having it. Sanchez rushes in and hits Jury with a good right hand as they end up in the clinch. Sanchez tries to rush forward, but Jury is countering well and not getting caught up in his wild attacks. Jury hits a takedown as Sanchez pushes forward as the round comes to a close.
R1 10-9 Myles Jury
Round 2: Sanchez trying to flurry on Jury, but he sidesteps the attack and fires back with a big right hand that opens a cut on the cheek of the former Ultimate Fighter winner. Jury showing great patience and popping Sanchez when he steps forward. Jury tags Sanchez with a quick punch and then swoops under for a takedown. Sanchez going for a guillotine but Jury is out of trouble. Jury works up and nails Sanchez with a big punch against the cage
R2 10-9 Myles Jury
Round 3: Sanchez going for broke here, aggressive at all times but his best weapon has been a good body kick, but that's not going to finish the fight, which is what he needs. Jury gets another takedown with just over a minute to go in the fight. Jury working from the top until the fight comes to a close.
R3 10-9 Myles Jury -- FOX Sports scores the fight 30-27 Myles Jury
Official result: Myles Jury def. Diego Sanchez by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28).
Analysis: A flawless performance for the most part from Myles Jury, who promised before the fight that he would not be drawn into a typical Diego Sanchez scrap. Jury countered perfectly and just punished Sanchez with powerful striking. Jury is an undefeated fighter, who should be ranked in the top 10 or 12 fighters in the world at this point. He deserves a top 10 opponent, maybe the winner of Donald Cerrone and Edson Barboza when they fight in April. As for Sanchez, that's two losses in a row and definitely one of his most lopsided defeats. Sanchez is always exciting, but his style isn't doing his health any favors long term.
Jake Shields vs. Hector Lombard
Hector Lombard out to "Born Again" by Newsboys. Jake Shields to "Seven Nation Army" by The White Stripes
Round 1: Lombard powering through Shields early with a throw and then punches. Lombard connects with another huge hook that bloodies Shields over his left eye. Lombard hurts Shields again and he has him on the ground. Shields pulls guard but he's in trouble. Lombard closes the round on top without much action
R1 10-9 Hector Lombard
Round 2: Lombard hits some inside punches and then connects with a gorgeous inside trip takedown that slams Shields on his back. Shields regains full guard and Lombard isn't doing much from the top as his corner screams for him to stand back up again. They stand back up and Shields shoots in but he's stuffed by Lombard. They get in the clinch and Lombard just tosses Shields to the mat again.
R2 10-9 Hector Lombard
Round 3: Lombard is definitely slowing down this round, but Shields cannot get him to the ground. He gets put down again and Lombard is on top. Lombard is a perfect five for five with his takedowns thus far. The blood is definitely affecting Shields' vision as they stand back up again. Back to the ground we go and Shields is on his back and not really going for any offense at all from the guard. Shields goes for a last second guillotine choke and it's tight, but time runs out before he can finish it.
R3 10-9 Hector Lombard -- FOX Sports scores the fight 30-27 Hector Lombard
Official result: Hector Lombard def. Jake Shields by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Analysis: Hector Lombard just beat a legit top six ranked welterweight and did so in dominant fashion, but following a first round where he had Shields hurt and nearly finished, the former Olympian slowed considerably for the last 10 minutes of the fight. Lombard could be a real contender in the welterweight division, but the question remains how he will do in a five round fight against a fighter who can deal with his early flurry and survive past the first five minutes. Lombard facing a fighter like Rory MacDonald next would be a very interesting matchup.
Nikita Krylov out to 'Rebel Rouser' by Duane Eddy. Ovince St-Preux to "Hold Me Back" by Rick Ross
Round 1: Ovince St-Preux with a quick takedown to put Krylov on his back. It doesn't take long for St-Preux to dig his shoulder into Krylov's neck and he's got a Von Flue choke. Krylov is out cold! A rarely seen submission inside the Octagon
Official result: Ovince St-Preux def. Nikita Krylov by submission (Von Flue choke) at 1:29, R1
Analysis: Ovince St-Preux pulled off a rare Von Flue choke named after former Ultimate Fighter competitor Jason Von Flue. St-Preux wasted no time taking Krylov down, and then forcing the submission early in the first round. That makes four wins in a row for St-Preux after coming over from Strikeforce. St-Preux is a natural athlete and as he continues to develop he's going to be a dangerous addition to the UFC light heavyweight division.
Round 1: Gastelum cracks Story with a thunderous right jab that opens a cut on his cheek. Story is throwing everything he has into each punch, but he's not landing much early. Gastelum explodes with a head kick that cracks Story on the side of his head, and he's wobbled in a bad way. Story is able to grab hold and survive, but he's hurt as they get back to the feet. Gastelum just lights Story up through the first round
R1 10-9 Kelvin Gastelum
Round 2: Gastelum's straight punches are just eating Story up from the outside. Gastelum slows down a big midway through the round, but with just over a minute to go he start to unload some big combinations. With just seconds to go, however, Story lands a left hook that stuns Gastelum before dropping him to the mat. Story comes back huge to steal that one at the end
R2 10-9 Rick Story
Round 3: Gastelum seems to have recovered between rounds and he's popping the jab in Story's face again to start the third. Gastelum nails Story with a one-two combination that rattles the UFC veteran, and he shoots in for the takedown. Story reverses and ends up taking Gastelum's back. Story working for a rear naked choke but Gastelum still defending. Gastelum turns and gets out of the position and they are back swinging on the feet. What an incredible fight!
R3 10-9 Rick Story -- FOX Sports scores the fight 29-28 Rick Story
Official result: Kelvin Gastelum def. Rick Story by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Analysis: Incredible back and forth fight and yet another show stealer from the preliminary card. Gastelum's standup was on point throughout much of the fight, but Story's power punching kept him in it. The 30-27 scorecard seems a bit puzzling considering Story dropped Gastelum in round two, but the fight was so close the final decision could have gone either way. Gastelum might be on his way to becoming one of the most talented competitors off of The Ultimate Fighter in a few years because Story was a huge test and he passed with flying colors.
Round 1: Pennington blasts Andrade with a couple of knees inside the clinch to open the fight. Andrade gets in the clinch and manages to get a beautiful takedown. Pennington gets up and Andrade explodes with another judo throw to take her down again. Pennington looks for an armbar from the bottom, but Andrade gets out and then goes for a guillotine choke of her own but can't hit it.
R1 10-9 Jessica Andrade
Round 2: Andrade is lightning fast on her feet looking for strikes, she hits, moves and out of there again. Pennington has a clear reach advantage, but Andrade is getting inside without a problem. Andrade is just stepping forward and throwing heavy shots. Pennington grabs onto a standing guillotine choke just before the end of the round, it's tight, but Andrade gets out before the horn sounds.
R2 10-9 Jessica Andrade
Round 3: Andrade is just winging punches at Pennington. She looks like a throw back to the old Chute Boxe fighters like Wanderlei Silva and Mauricio 'Shogun' Rua. Pennington still counters with good, straight punches. Pennington working well in the Muay Thai clinch, but then Andrade fires back with a quick flurry of punches. Pennington grabs hold of Andrade and tosses her to the ground in what has been her best round by far.
R3 10-9 Raquel Pennington -- FOX Sports scores the fight 29-28 Jessica Andrade
Official result: Jessica Andrade def. Raquel Pennington by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
Analysis: Another amazing fight in the women's division. Andrade is a star on the rise, but given her size (5'2 and barely 135 pounds) she's going to find it hard to get ahead in a division full of legit bantamweights. Andrade will continue to be a fun fighter to watch as she moves up another peg in the rankings. Pennington should also be proud of her performance. She's one of the toughest women in the UFC, and she can go with anyone in the division.
Round 1: Bermudez like a bull charging Hettes and taking him down, but not for long. Hettes is scrambling to get back up again. Bermudez is just rag dolling Hettes around the cage, but he's not going away. Bermudez is just lunging for the takedowns and landing them at will on Hettes. He's four for eight on takedowns but it seems like he's landed everything he's thrown.
R1 10-9 Dennis Bermudez
Round 2: Hettes is resisting the takedowns better this round, but he just can't match the strength from Dennis Bermudez. Bermudez connects with a body shot that drops Hettes, and he's on the ground. Bermudez is unrelenting but Hettes seems recovered now. Bermudez back in deep on a double leg takedown. Hettes scrambles and he's able to get on Bermudez's back, but the round comes to an end
R2 10-9 Dennis Bermudez
Round 3: Hettes has to know he's down two rounds and needs a finish to win here. Bermudez isn't having any of that because he's still throwing huge power punches. A right hand bangs off of Hettes' head and he drops to the mat again. Bermudez back in control on top, but lets him off the mat. Bermudez is firing off huge punches and he has Hettes hurt. Bermudez grabs Hettes' head and brings up a knee that bounces off his forehead, and he's down and the referee has seen enough
Official result: Dennis Bermudez def. Jimy Hettes by TKO (knee strike) at 2:57, R3
Analysis: What a performance by Dennis Bermudez. He was so much stronger than Hettes it almost looked as if these two were in different weight divisions. Bermudez has now won six fights in a row, all while performing on the preliminary card. It's time for him to get a top 10 matchup to see what he's capable of doing in featherweight division. There are a lot of big fights at 145 taking place in the next couple of months and Bermudez has earned a fight against a ranked opponent.
Round 1: The fighters are exchanging some heavy shots throughout the first half of the round. Garcia uncorks an awesome head kick that appears to land just behind Spencer's ear, but he's unphased and keeps moving forward. The fighters continue to trade until the round ends
R1 10-9 Alex Garcia
Round 2: Garcia is throwing fire with his punches, but he's not landing flush yet. Garcia slips in for a takedown putting Spencer on his back but he works up again in quick order. Spencer connects with a huge right hand and Garcia is in trouble. Garcia fires back and Spencer is hurt now! These two are throwing bombs at each other as the crowd roars in approval. The fighters finally slow down and Garcia gets a takedown. Spencer is up and he hurts Garcia again! The round comes to an end. What an action packed five minutes
R2 10-9 Sean Spencer
Round 3: Spencer is out moving a lot in the final round and it's clear Garcia is tired. Garcia sucks it up and gets a takedown after it appears Spencer may have injured his shin while attempting a kick. Spencer is still moving non-stop and his leg seems to be okay now, but he still can't stop the takedown from Garcia. He's eight for eight on takedowns in this fight so far. The fight comes to a close but what a great 15 minutes
R3 10-9 Alex Garcia -- FOX Sports scores the fight 29-28 for Alex Garcia
Official result: Alex Garcia def. Sean Spencer by split decision (30-27, 29-28, 28-29)
Analysis: The entire fight was fun, but that second round was one of the best of the year so far. Garcia and Spencer both exhausted themselves going for the finish and kudos to the welterweights for leaving it all in the cage. Ultimately, Garcia's takedowns did the difference, but (and this is a recurring theme tonight), he has to work on his conditioning. He looked tired a few times during the fight. These guys might be up for a bonus when the night is over.
Round 1: Forte wastes no time getting inside and dragging this one to the ground, immediately taking Trevino's back. Trevino gets out, but Forte is able to put him down again, this time landing in guard. They work back to the feet, but Trevino really isn't throwing much despite the fact that he keeps motioning Forte to throw something at him.
R1 10-9 Renee Forte
Round 2: Trevino a much better start to this round, quick on his feet and landing some good combinations. He's got a great body kick that Forte isn't even bothering to block. Forte is finally able to get the fight back to the ground, landing in Trevino's open guard. Trevino gets back up and then decides to go for a takedown of his own. Much stronger round for Trevino while Forte's gas tank seems to be emptying
R2 10-9 Francisco Trevino
Round 3: Forte looks drained and Trevino is still moving forward. Trevino taking over with some great knees to the legs when in the clinch and on the break he cracks Forte with a strong elbow. Forte is able to get the fight back to the ground, but he can't do much with it before Trevino gets up again. Trevino looks good as the fight comes to a close
R3 10-9 Francisco Trevino -- FOX Sports scores the fight 29-28 Francisco Trevino
Official result: Francisco Trevino def. Renee Forte by unanimous decision (29-28 on all cards)
Analysis: Following a slow start in the first round, Francisco Trevino got rid of the Octagon jitters and took over in the final 10 minutes. His standup looked solid and considering his Muay Thai background, it makes sense he was able to get the better of Forte. The Brazilian missed weight on Friday and his gas tank was zapped after the first round so that has to be addressed before his next fight or maybe a move up to welterweight is in order.
Justin Scoggins out to 'Happy' by Pharrell and he's certainly dancing like he's in a good mood tonight.
Round 1: Scoggins grabs a takedown to start the fight, looking to take Campuzano's back, but he holds on and gets back to his feet. Scoggins is moving non-stop in this one, moving back in for another takedown. Scoggins scrambles, pops and he's in and out again. Campuzano just can't catch up to him at all.
R1 10-9 Justin Scoggins
Round 2: Scoggins demonstrating a Stephen 'Wonderboy' Thompson stance this round, looking for the hook kick early on. Scoggins shoots in and Campuzano looks for a guillotine, but no dice. Scoggins doing a good job at passing guard, looking to take Campuzano's back, but he gets out of there. Scoggins' confidence grows for another round
R2 10-9 Justin Scoggins
Round 3: Campuzano comes out aggressive knowing he's down two rounds, but Scoggins takes him down yet again. Scoggins is just continuing to press the pace and work for heavy shots from the top while Campuzano can only play defense. Scoggins is up a ridiculous 61 to 11 in significant strikes so far. Stifling performance from the 21 year old flyweight
R3 10-9 Justin Scoggins -- FOX Sports scores the fight 30-27 for Justin Scoggins
Official result: Justin Scoggins def. Will Campuzano by unanimous decision (30-27 on all cards)
Analysis: Justin Scoggins is going to be a fun up and comer to watch in the coming months. He lands with great accuracy and he showed off a ground game as well this time around, dominating Campuzano from bell to bell. Scoggins has about as much movement as Clay Guida when he's bouncing around the cage. In other words, he has a lot of energy
Sean Strickland debuts with 'Ain't No Grave' by Johnny Cash while Bubba McDaniel uses an old classic 'Jump Around' by House of Pain for his walkout track.
Round 1: Strickland getting the better of the striking exchanges so it forces McDaniel to start looking for a takedown. Strickland ends up getting on top, however, and he lands in McDaniel's half guard. Strickland is absolutely unloading on McDaniel from the top, landing some really nasty ground and pound. McDaniel scrambles, but Strickland transitions beautifully to take his back and lock on a rear naked choke. McDaniel taps out!
Official result: Sean Strickland def. Bubba McDaniel by submission (rear naked choke) at 4:33, R1
Analysis: Strickland looked fantastic for his UFC debut, especially considering he took this fight on about 15 days notice. He absolutely overwhelmed McDaniel in the standup and on the ground. This kid is a prospect to watch in the future.
Rob Whiteford wearing a traditional Scottish kilt to the cage while walking into 'Promontory' from the Last of the Mohicans soundtrack while Daniel Pineda goes with 'It's a Fight' by Three 6 Mafia.
Round 1: Rob Whiteford lands a couple of takedowns midway through the first round to score some points with the judges but Pineda is quick to get back to his feet. While the stand up to close the round isn't that crisp, Whiteford seems to be getting the better of the exchanges to take the round
R1 10-9 Rob Whiteford
Round 2: Whiteford shoots in for another takedown to start the second round. Pineda counters with a takedown of his own, but Whiteford pops right up again. Whiteford cracks Pineda with a head kick that cuts him over his right eye as the blood starts streaming down his face. Pineda attempts a knee bar late in the round, but Whiteford slips out with ease and lands on top. Whiteford begins his attack again with a good knee to the body.
R2 10-9 Rob Whiteford
Round 3: Whiteford's corner tells him between rounds he's pitching a shutout and not to take any crazy chances in the final five minutes. Playing it safe can sometimes backfire, but Whiteford puts Pineda on his back as soon as the round starts. Whiteford up 66 to 44 in total strikes to this point in the fight. Pineda goes for another knee bar and this one nearly lands, but Whiteford wiggles free again and he's on top. The fighters get stood back up and Pineda lands a takedown this time, but with time running out he's not going to get the win
R3 10-9 Daniel Pineda -- FOX Sports scores the fight 29-28 for Rob Whiteford
Official result: Rob Whiteford def. Daniel Pineda by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Analysis: Whiteford looked much better in his second fight using good takedowns and control but he really needs to work on his cardio before his next bout. Whiteford is a massive featherweight but conditioning has to be addressed following this fight.
UFC 171: Hendricks vs. Lawler
MAIN CARD (PAY-PER-VIEW)
MAIN EVENT: Johny Hendricks vs. Robbie Lawler (welterweight title fight)