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UFC 171: Lawler vs. Hendricks re-watching, re-scoring, detailed round by round look

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Eriksson Lau re-watches and re-scores the glorious Lawler vs. Hendricks main event from UFC 171 with a detailed round by round account of why he scored it as such.

Esther Lin

Chances are if you're reading this, you've already seen this great fight (one of the best boxing clinics in MMA history by Robbie Lawler, and in my opinion, the greatest UFC Welterweight title fight), but if you haven't... please for the love of Sweet Baby Vitor, go find it.As Robbie lightly put it a couple times in the post-fight press conference "it was a helluva fight."

Come with me as I re-watch with the sound ON, but without the "I'm too pumped up to score this" talk. I am not discrediting judges at all, unless your name is Douglas Crosby. This is just a look at a very close fight. No fight is ever scored based on the 2nd viewing, but it's still fun and interesting to look back like this. So, here we go...

Note that I scored it 10-10, 10-10, 10-9 Lawler, 10-9 Lawler and 10-9 Hendricks on my first watch.  
Round 1:

Three minutes in and not much has happened yet. Hendricks with two leg kicks, and Lawler with a flurry of lefts to start. Hendricks clinches for a while with a few knees to the leg of Lawler, and at this point I have it 10-10.

Around 2:36 left, and Hendricks lands what Rogan calls "a good left", but what I saw was Robbie doing his style of blocking, where he kind of sways and blocks at the same time, causing a deflection.

About 1:30 left and Robbie lands a jab that pops Hendricks head back. Most significant shot so far.

"Total strikes landed" shows up 18 seconds left. Hendricks 25 - Lawler 14. Irrelevant. Not only did Lawler roll with the punches, he also deflected them. Hendricks didn't land cleanly a single time other than the leg kicks.

Essentially this round comes down to Hendricks' leg kicks and activity vs. Lawler's less activity, but better landed shots to the face. I have to give this round 10-10 with no clear winner

Round 2:

One minute in Lawler lands multiple shots including a lead left-straight. Hendricks on defence.

About 3:50 left Hendricks lands a combination, most "loudly" was a left leg kick. Rogan and Goldberg really like it.

This round has a lot of Hendricks throwing combinations, but Lawler deflecting and rolling. Yet, the hometown, pro-Hendricks crowd is cheering like those are landing cleanly.

2:45 left in the round, and Hendricks just landed another combination ending with the leg kick, the only clean strike. At this point I'd give it to Hendricks for the leg kicks and putting Lawler on the defensive

0:40 left... Lawler is still landing the only clean shots to the face with jabs and straights. Hendricks is throwing combinations that Lawler is blocking, deflecting and moving his head away to lessen the impact.

Both guys turning it on to try and close out the round strong. Lawler once again landing the cleaner (meaning, Hendricks takes most of the impact) shots, but Hendricks with very effective strikes to close the round. Lawler lands a big left at the bell.

I'm happy with another 10-10 round. Lawler's landing less, but cleaner shots. Hendrick's leg kicks are doing very well, but his punches are all getting blocked, deflected and parried for the most part. Both fighters are more active in this round than the first round.

Round 3:

30 seconds in and both land good leg kicks. Hendricks is throwing his hands, but not landing cleanly at all.

Around 3:50 left Hendricks with a good combination, putting Robbie on the defensive

It's about a 10-10, close to a Hendricks round... up until Robbie lands the left hook that rocks Hendricks with about 2:53 left and immediately turns this into a Robbie Lawler round

Hendricks is defending enough and lands a few shots of his own, to not turn this into a 10-8 for me

Hendricks is generating offense, but not enough to make this anything other than 10-9 Lawler, and by far the most decisive round of the fight. If this was a 3 round fight, and it was scored as a whole, I'd give it to Lawler. Easy.

So, right now I have Lawler up by 1 round...However, on the 2nd viewing, Hendricks does recover very nicely, and isn't rocked for as long as it felt he was when watching it live.

Round 4:

40 seconds in and Lawler is already boxing Hendricks up and takes an early lead on my card 10-9.

30 more seconds and Lawler continues busting Hendricks up with punches

Hendricks is battling back, but not equating Lawler's effective offense, whatsoever

3:38 left and "Head strikes landed" pops up... Hendricks 95 - Lawler 110. A little misleading. Once again, Lawler is deflecting, blocking and rolling with most of Hendricks' head strikes, while Lawler is landing cleanly.

2 minutes in and this is clearly Robbie's round. Hendricks is shelled up defending. Robbie is able to unload a few left hooks to the body, while Hendricks is covered up.

Hendricks and Lawler are trading combinations. Hendricks is fighting back enough, and generating his own offense to keep this a 10-9 Lawler.

Takedown for Hendricks, but he doesn't do anything with it. 10-9 Lawler for landing a much higher volume of clean strikes... Lawler up 2 rounds

Round 5:

3 minutes left nobody has done enough to win the round. It's 10-10 as far as I'm concerned

Around 2:03 left and Lawler just finished landing a few combinations, and is winning this round

The next minute is all Johny Hendricks. This one minute onslaught, was the most damage done all fight. The damage Hendricks was inflicting was greater than Lawler's third round, in my opinion.

The takedown didn't do anything, but it prevented Robbie from mounting any offense back, and gave Hendricks a clear cut 10-9, that was borderline 10-8.

In the end I gave this round 10-9 to Johny Hendricks, due to Lawler creating offense before getting rocked.

My final round-by-round score: 49-48 Lawler

As a whole, I felt like Hendricks deserved the decision with that big 5th round, and combination striking sprinkled throughout the fight.

The reason I did not give Lawler or Hendricks a 10-8 round is because neither of those rounds were completely dominating. I asked myself "if this was a striking only sport like Muay Thai or boxing, would the ref had called for a count?". And my answer was definitely not. In addition, rounds 3 and 5 saw Hendricks and Lawler get hurt, but get off their own shots at one point or another.

All in all, I really do believe an immediate rematch is in order. Maybe in late summer to early fall . Gives some time to all these welterweights (Woodley, Rory, Lombard, winner of Tarec/Ellenberger, and even guys like Stun Gun, Gastelum, Pyle and the Matt Brown/Erick Silva winner) to sort themselves out and get a win, then fight on the Hendricks/Lawler 2 card... somewhere in California, maybe. Right now nobody deserves to fight Hendricks more than Lawler...

So, how did you score the fight?