UFC 171: Johny Hendricks vs. Robbie Lawler Predictions from top MMA fighters

Several pro fighters such as Dong Hyun Kim, Stefan Struve, Josh Samman, Mark Hunt, and others spoke to Bloody Elbow to give their expert opinions on the welterweight title fight between Johny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler at UFC 171.

UFC 171 is coming up, and it will be headlined by the much anticipated welterweight title fight between Robbie Lawler and Johny Hendricks. It's been almost 6 years since the title at 170 lbs switched hands, and as this monumental event approaches, several UFC fighters spoke to BloodyElbow.com and gave their thoughts on who they think will be the first welterweight champion in the post-GSP era:

Stefan Struve: Hendricks. He's just going to win because he's the overall better fighter. He's the better wrestler. On the feet, I don't see him getting knocked out by Lawler. I see him possibly knocking Lawler out. He's just the better fighter, so he'll probably just be waiting for the knockout or win a decision.

Kenny Florian: I think Hendricks will win. I think Hendricks is going to get it done by decision.

Chris Lytle: You know what, obviously I think everyone is going to go with Hendricks being the big favorite, but I think Lawler has a very good chance. I don't think Hendricks is going to be able to just take him down at will and keep him down. He's a better wrestler and he can take him down I think, but Lawler is very athletic, has very good hips, and can get back up. Both of those guys are very heavy hitters, but I think Lawler has a very good chance and has been looking very good on his feet. I think he can land some punches, and I really think his experience is going to help. He's definitely in a live fight. Straight prediction, I'm going with Lawler for the upset, by KO.

Mark Hunt: Hendricks. Knockout?

John Hathaway: I think it's going to be a great fight. It's almost too close to call, especially when it's in my division, it's very exciting. It's going to be tough one to call.

Mark Eddiva: I think I'm going with Johny Hendricks.

Josh Samman: I thought that Hendricks won the fight against GSP, and I like his chances against Lawler. They are similar in many respects, both short stout power punchers with one punch KO capability in both hands, both from a grass roots background, playing multiple sports in high school and wrestling from a young age. I think the difference in the fight will come down to who has the better ability to withstand punishment, or possibly who is the least hittable. We have never seen Hendricks knocked out or come even close to it from my recollection, while Robbie was KO'd early in his career by Diaz, and has probably accumulated much more damage over his considerably longer career than Hendricks has. I like Lawler, but think Hendricks will find the button and finish the fight sometime within the 25 minutes.

Dong Hyun Kim: Johny Hendricks. Both have a strong punch, but Hendricks also does wrestling.

Alberto Mina: I think Hendricks already showed his potential against GSP. I think he will fight pretty much the same way he did against GSP, that same pace. I think Hendricks will win. When it involves a title, fighters become a bit more conservative so that's why I believe it will be by decision.

Will Chope: Hendricks via beard power.

Fighters picking Hendricks: 8
Fighters picking Lawler: 1
Fighters who couldn't decide: 1

Follow me on twitter -- @antontabuena

Here's Bloody Elbow's own Kid Nate, Dallas Winston and Connor Ruebusch making their picks for the UFC 171 main event:

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