Battling for the vacant welterweight title, Johny Hendricks met Robbie Lawler in the UFC 171 main event. The two top 170 lbers went back and forth over five rounds. But, in the end, all three judges scored the fight for Hendricks as the new welterweight champion.
Lawler landed first and had Hendricks against the fence, but the former contender recovered quickly. Hendricks pressured forward and closed distance to clinch up. Throughout the first round Hendricks kept up the pressure and responded to the promise of Lawler's promise of power with volume. His threat of the takedown and clinch kept Robbie from letting loose and clearly snagged him the first round.
Early in the second round the crowd picked up a chant of "Rob-bie," but he was obviously overwhelmed by Hendricks' game. Hendricks kept Lawler at the end of his jab.As "Ruthless" was unable to get inside, Hendricks outlanded him through the second. Even throwing low power, Hendricks frustrated Lawler enough that his offense became minimal.
Early in the third round Hendricks started to open up. Lawler was more than overwhelmed by his offense and became hesitant on the feet. Lawler found a counter inside Hendrick's volume and hurt the former contender. Hendrick's recovered and went right back to volume punching.It was slow action through the end of the round, but Hendricks took it back based on volume.
Heading into the championship rounds. Lawler turned it up. Relying heavily on his 1-2, Lawler started landing consistently on Hendricks. Hendricks had a cut opened under his right eye. Lawler continued his volume attack. Hard left uppercut landed from Lawler. Neither fighter looking for the takedown as both work to use their jab to set up a fight changing blow.In the closing seconds Hendricks hit a takedown.
Lawler looked to stay on the outside in the final round. He landed a series of good strikes before the former contender closed the distances and began controlling the clinch. They continued to exchange on the feet as Lawler started to land consistently from the outside. Hendricks respondded with a couple big blows that put Lawler on the defensive and followed up with a takedown.
Johny Hendricks took the unanimous decision (48-47 x 3) over Robbie Lawler