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UFC 181: Hendricks vs. Lawler results and post-fight analysis

Tim B takes a look at an exciting UFC 181 card, that was unfortunately marred by a very questionable decision in the main event.

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Robbie Lawler is the new UFC welterweight champion. He had his hand raised. He has the belt. But in my eyes, Robbie Lawler did not beat Johny Hendricks in the main event of UFC 181. I'm struggling to understand how Lawler could have been given three rounds on a scorecard.

Then there's the scorecard that gave him four. Four rounds. That is an absolute joke, and legitimately one of the worst scorecards in recent memory.

Lawler started and ended the bout on fire. He pretty clearly won rounds one and five, beating Hendricks up with hard strikes. But everything in between was all Hendricks in my eyes. He busted Lawler up with combinations and took him down multiple times. Lawler didn't land much of anything in rounds two and three. He did a little more in round four, but I don't think it was even close to enough to take the round. Johny Hendricks got the shaft from the judges against Georges St-Pierre, and he just did again in this fight. It's hard not to feel bad for him, even if a third fight is all but a certainty at this point.

  • Anthony Pettis is a bad, bad man. The fact that he has now submitted Ben Henderson AND Gilbert Melendez? That's amazing. Melendez employed the perfect gameplan to fight Pettis - pressure, pressure, pressure. He won the first round and was doing very well in the second as well. But Pettis just caught him with a hard shot inside and when he got the choke, it was over. His biggest hurdle has always been his durability though - hopefully it won't be 15 more months until he defends the title again. Because Khabib Nurmagomedov is coming.
  • I did like them dimming the lights during the intros for the title fights. It adds to the atmosphere.
  • Travis Browne was basically playing with Brendan Schaub after he dropped him with the huge uppercut, and admitted as much in his post-fight interview. I've never been a Schaub fan and thought it was great. "Big Brown" probably disagrees.
  • Todd Duffee murdered a man in a cage tonight. In 33 seconds.
  • CM PUNK! CM PUNK! I can understand why some people might be offended by this. Generally I would be as well, as I've never been a fan of the UFC doing freak show stuff (James Toney). But I am a massive Punk fan and I can't wait to see him fight. He instantly became the UFC's best draw. Seriously.
  • Tony Ferguson outlasted Abel Trujillo in their lightweight PPV opener. Trujillo might have the heaviest hands in the lightweight division, but his frame and pace make him a one-round fighter. El Cucuy got dropped early, but held on and got the submission in the second round. His 7-1 UFC record should have him in the conversation for being ranked, but for whatever reason, it hasn't been yet.
  • It's too bad that Urijah Faber's bout with Francisco Rivera had to end with a bit of controversy. Rivera looked excellent right up until Faber poked him in the eye, and was definitely winning the fight in my eyes. Unfortunately, the eye poke was a game changer and quickly led to a Faber submission win. The commission may be looking into that, but I'm not sure that it would lead to a rematch or anything.
  • What a knockout by Josh Samman. That was amazing. His shin connected so hard that Gordon was out the instant it made contact, and Samman was celebrating before Gordon even hit the ground. That has to be in the conversation for knockout of the year, and it's really cool that Samman was able to get it done despite his recent issues. On behalf of everyone at BE, we couldn't be happier for you buddy.
  • Corey Anderson certainly didn't look amazing in his decision win over Justin Jones. I figured a TUF champion fighting a guy from a lower weight class would be pretty one-sided, but Anderson wasn't exactly overwhelming.
  • In the days leading up to the card, I was thoroughly confused as to why Ashlee Evans-Smith was the favorite over Raquel Pennington. If you take a look past their records and take into account Evans-Smith's uneven amateur run, it seemed like Pennington definitely had a good chance in the bout. Evans-Smith did get off to a good start with her wrestling, but Pennington got a hold of her with a bulldog choke and finished it right as the first round ended. Watching Pennington unwrap her around from around Evans-Smith's head and just watching it bounce off the canvas was a visual I won't soon forget.
  • Both of the Fight Pass bouts were entertaining, and both went to a decision. Clay Collard took it to Alex White early and almost choked him out with a triangle in the second. He may have lost round three, but he still did enough to get the win. In addition, Sergio Pettis overcame a rough start to pick up a win over Matt Hobar with his precision striking.