It a rare occurrence when a UFC title changes hands on a split decision; in fact, it never happened prior to UFC 181 last Saturday night in Las Vegas. Following a journey that took him over a decade to complete and two stints with MMA's top promotion, ‘Ruthless' Robbie Lawler reached the summit of the welterweight division with a decision win against Johny Hendricks.
The fight itself was a painfully close affair, and one that could certainly be seen as a controversial one given the final decision. Many believed the champ had done enough to retain the title, yet many were adamant that Lawler ultimately deserved the nod. Nonetheless, a potential rubber match seems like a given at some time in 2015.
Official Result: Robbie Lawler def. Johny Hendricks via Split Decision (48-47, 47-48, 49-46)
What was the high point of the fight?
Given how close and competitive the entire affair was, one should watch the entire encounter to determine who deserved the victory in the end. However, there is little doubt that the opening and closing rounds of the fight were the most entertaining. Lawler even ended the fight with a late onslaught turned out to be pivotal when deciding the outcome of the fight.
Where do these two go from here?
Having split their previous two encounters, it is hard to imagine 2015 without a rubber match to determine who will retain the title and bragging rights. However, Canada's Rory MacDonald's is currently looming in the background awaiting his title shot. Considering ‘Ruthless' already holds a victory over Rory, it would not be surprising to see the promotion opt for a trilogy fight immediately.
Watch now, later or never?
Watch now. The entire UFC 181 fight card was an enthralling affair and the main event was no different. Lawler's journey to the UFC title is one of the greatest underdog stories in recent memory - one that you should make an effort to watch unfold in the octagon.