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UFC 181 fight card primer: Johny Hendricks vs. Robbie Lawler

Bloody Elbow presents a preview of UFC 181: Hendricks vs. Lawler II in our fight card primer series. Here we look at the main event: Johny Hendricks vs. Robbie Lawler for the UFC Welterweight title.

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

In the main event at UFC 181: Hendricks vs. Lawler 2, UFC Welterweight champion Johny Hendricks (16-2 MMA, 11-2 UFC) puts his title on the line against Robbie Lawler (24-10(1) MMA; 9-4 UFC). This five round Welterweight title fight is the main event on the five fight UFC 181 main card. The UFC Rankings have Lawler as the #1 contender at 170 pounds, with champion Hendricks at #9 on the Pound for Pound list. UFC 181: Hendricks vs. Lawler 2 airs live from Las Vegas this Saturday, December 6. The main card airs on PPV with a fight time of 10:00 p.m. ET / 7:00 p.m. PT, with the prelims starting at  8:00 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1 and 7:00 p.m. ET on Fight Pass.

This is our second Welterweight main event in the post-GSP landscape, and, interestingly, it's a rematch of the one other non-GSP WW fight. Hendricks and Lawler first met in March at UFC 171. There, Hendricks took home the unanimous decision win in a great fight. That one came down to the final round, as both men had success in the early rounds. In the 5th, Hendricks dug deep and earned his world title. Now, he'll try to do it again.

How do these two stack up?

Hendricks: 31 years old | 5'9" | 69" reach
Lawler: 32 years old | 5'11" | 74" reach

What have these two done recently?

Hendricks: W - Robbie Lawler (UD) | L - Georges St. Pierre (SD) | W - Carlos Condit (UD)
Lawler: W - Matt Brown (UD) | W - Jake Ellenberger (TKO) | L - Johny Hendricks (UD)

How did these two get here?

For UFC Welterweight champion Johny Hendricks, this fight is an immediate rematch. The power puncher and decorated collegiate wrestler went into the first Lawler fight with a torn bicep, and has since been recovering from surgery to deal with that injury. It will be interesting to see how that impacts him here. Will we see ring rust and negative impact from the injury? Or will we see an even better Hendricks now that he has taken the time to get healthy?

Where Hendricks has been sidelined, Lawler has been busy. Since that March clash, Lawler has fought twice, scoring two huge wins over Jake Ellenberger and Matt Brown. And he's looked incredible in both of them. Lawler has clearly refined his striking over the years, and today, 13 years into his pro career, seems to be in his prime. It's an amazing comeback story and a true testament to the heart and skill of Ruthless Robbie Lawler. But is it enough to earn him the win against the man who already beat him once before?

Why should you care?

The first fight was great. That should be reason enough. But just in case it's not - Robbie Lawler has another shot at becoming a UFC champion. You want to see that.