UFC 171: Hendricks finally got the title but was the decision questionable?

Lawler left hook Hendricks in UFC 171 meme

Johny Hendricks is the new UFC Welterweight Champion after defeating Robbie Lawler via unanimous decision


In need of a rest, the actual UFC Welterweight champ George St. Pierre (GSP) vacated the belt after his controversial decision win over Johny Hendricks in UFC 167 last year, giving Hendricks and Robbie Lawler a chance to fight for it instead. Hendricks was victorious in the end with the a unanimous decision win but again, it wasn't without any controversy. The score was 48-47, 48-47, 48-47, meaning that all three judges felt that Hendricks won three out of the five rounds while Lawler won the other two. Some felt that Lawler should've been announced as the winner instead but after watching the fight twice, I think the decision was actually fair.

Without a doubt, the first two rounds were Hendricks'. Lawler landed quite a few significant punches but Hendricks mixed it up a bit more, controlled the clinches better and was more successful with his strike combos, connecting punches, leg kicks and knees as well. Hendricks tried to shoot for takedowns in numerous occasions but to no avail at all as Lawler's defense was tremendous in these two rounds.




In the third round, Lawler began throwing kicks and elbows but within the first two minute, it was Hendricks that got the better of the strike exchanges. Inside 3 minutes, Lawler hurt his opponent with close range power left hook to the face which got Hendricks backed up to the fence eating punches. Although Hendricks managed to survive by circling out from the fences, he was still in all sort of trouble but fortunately, Lawler played it safe and paced himself as there were 2 championship rounds to go. Lawler's rhythm continued in the fourth round as he seemed to have really found his range, catching Hendricks with almost anything he threw. He landed a one-two punch combo that got Hendrick's right eye pouring out blood. Lawler smiled while brushing off the weak strikes Hendricks threw. Hendricks managed to forced a takedown in the final seconds but it's obvious that these two rounds went to Lawler.

So the final round was the one that was going to decide who would win the title. Neither one wanted to commit with a real attack until Hendricks went for a takedown that failed but got Lawler pinned to the fence. No action on the clinch so the referee broke them off and only then they started to let their fists fly. Although Lawler landed some good punches, he looked exhausted and allowed Hendricks to get the final stretch. Hendricks kept landing punches and leg kicks, got Lawler on the fence again and secured a takedown. He controlled the ground until the final bell ended the fight. Hendrick's face was more damaged than Lawler's, which was probably what sparked the debate on whether or not the decision was correct, but I think the judges were spot on. Nonetheless, a great fight.

Hendricks will most likely be defending his new belt for the first time against the winner of the co-main event: Tyron Woodley. It was an intense battle between Woodley and Carlos Condit until Condit seemed to have injured his right knee on a Woodley takedown. The fight ended soon after Woodley attacked with a low kick to Condit's left leg which pressured his back leg, which was the right one with the injured knee, to keep his balance but the weight struck pain to the knee and got him going down in agony.

On the rest of the main card, we saw the highly composed and technical Myles Jury taming the wild Diego Sanchez, winning in an easy decision. Jake Shields was looked very lost in his bout against Hector Lombard but still that needed to go to decision as well. Ovince St. Preux choked out Nikita Krylox with an impressive Von Flue choke, which was never seen before in the UFC. Nobody saw that coming, not even Krylox, but fortunately the referee was alert enough to notice that Krylox went unconscious.

UFC 171: Hendricks vs. Lawler - Full Results

(Source: Wikipedia)

Fight of the Night: Johny Hendricks vs. Robbie Lawler
Performance of the Night: Ovince St. Preux and Dennis Bermudez

MAIN CARD

Welterweight Title: Johny Hendricks def. Robbie Lawler | Decision (unanimous) | 5 rounds
Welterweight: Tyron Woodley def. Carlos Condit | TKO (knee injury) | R2 2:00
Lightweight: Myles Jury def. Diego Sanchez | Decision (unanimous) | 3 rounds
Welterweight: Hector Lombard def. Jake Shields | Decision (unanimous) | 3 rounds
Light Heavyweight: Ovince St. Preux def. Nikita Krylov | Technical Submission (Von Flue choke) | R1 1:29

PRELIMINARY CARD

Welterweight: Kelvin Gastelum def. Rick Story | Decision (split) | 3 rounds
Women's Bantamweight: Jessica Andrade def. Raquel Pennington | Decision (split) | 3 rounds
Featherweight: Dennis Bermudez def. Jimy Hettes | TKO (strikes) | R3 2:57
Welterweight: Alex Garcia def. Sean Spencer | Decision (split) | 3 rounds
Lightweight: Francisco Trevino def. Renee Forte | Decision (unanimous) | 3 rounds
Flyweight: Justin Scoggins def. Will Campuzano | Decision (unanimous) | 3 rounds
Middleweight: Sean Strickland def. Bubba McDaniel | Submission (rear-naked choke) | R1 4:33
Featherweight: Rob Whiteford def. Daniel Pineda | Decision (unanimous) | 3 rounds

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