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UFC 171: Hendricks vs Lawler


Who wins and how?  

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Johny Hendricks vs Robbie Lawler - Vacant UFC Welterweight Title

Carlos Condit vs Tyron Woodley

Diego Sanchez vs Myles Jury

Hector Lombard vs Jake Shields

Ovince St Preux vs Nikita Krylov



Kelvin Gastelum vs Rick Story

Jessica Andrade vs Raquel Pennington

Dennis Bermudez vs Jimy Hettes

Alex Garcia vs Sean Spencer



Renee Forte vs Frank Trevino

Justin Scoggins vs Will Campuzano

Tor Troeng vs Robert McDaniel

Daniel Pineda vs Robert Whiteford


Don't take this bout order as gospel, it hasn't been confirmed yet, I'm just going on the order that's floating around currently. It looks about right actually but I could see a few fights getting switched around.


OK, Hendricks vs Lawler! For the first time in seven years we'll have a new UFC welterweight champion after this. Many already see Hendricks as the uncrowned champion after his performance against GSP in November.




It's looking likely that, in a post-GSP 170 division, Hendricks will be the man to beat. You've got a man with serious high level wrestling credentials, massive self confidence and of course huge power in his left hand. Regardless of whatever you thought of the decision against GSP, it's undeniable that he gave GSP his hardest title defence.


He's fighting this man though;



'Ruthless' Robbie Lawler. He's having an unexpected run of success in the UFC. 3-0 since returning and looking awesome since dropping to welterweight. It really seems to have lit a fire under him. Two of his three UFC wins he was the underdog going in. Very few expected him to get by either Josh Koscheck or Rory MacDonald, yet he won both fights pretty decisively. It's a great story seeing someone like Lawler who's had an up and down career, get himself in this position. Kind of reminds me of Mark Hunt's resurgence at heavyweight over the last couple of years.


That's not all he has in common with Hunt either. He's a man of few words, just like the 'Super Samoan'.


Joe Rogan talks Lawler's reaction to getting the title shot;

"He doesn't give a fuck. He legitimately doesn't give a fuck. Dana told me they called Robbie Lawler, told him 'You got a title shot against Johny Hendricks for the welterweight title', he goes 'Cool'. That's it."


There's also been talk lately that Lawler hasn't really sparred much throughout his career. Which, if true, is pretty crazy. This is a guy who knocked out Melvin Manhoef and beat Chris Lytle and guys like that, without sparring or very little sparring.


His attitude on sparring was - "I don't spar. I know how to fight." That's according to War Machine though so fuck knows. Apparently Phil Baroni confirmed Lawler didn't bother with sparring either. And Mike Ciesnolevicz (former UFC fighter) and Rogan discussed it on twitter recently as well...


Mike Ciesnolevicz @MikeCies

@joerogan Hey its true, Lawler doesn't spar. I sparred with him like 2x in 7 yrs and saw him everyday lol


Joe Rogan @joerogan

@MikeCies That's incredible. Thanks, Mike. You think he does this even for serious fights like this one for the title?


Mike Ciesnolevicz @MikeCies

@joerogan I was at MFS 2003-2009 and can count on one hand # of times he sparred. He evolved alot at ATT, maybe he added sparring, no clue


Madness. Maybe that is the secret of a) his longevity in the sport due to not taking all the gym beatings others have, and b) the secret to his recent success could be that he's started sparring more now. Who knows?


I think logically you almost have to pick Hendricks here though. Striking wise anything can happen. They're both southpaws with brutal KO power in their left hands. Maybe the two hardest hitting welterweights in all of MMA. Only Hector Lombard and Paul Daley could even dispute that. I'd say Lawler is the better all around striker though. His boxing is better and he's got more variety with his kicks and knees. But the difference maker is Hendricks' wrestling. Wrestling so good he was able to beat GSP in a lot of their grappling/clinch exchanges. Lawler is underrated as a defensive wrestler himself. He did a great job against Koscheck for example. But if Hendricks wants to put Lawler on his back, I suspect he'll be able to most of the time.


That could make all the difference assuming everything else is equal. Hendricks is supposed to have a really good submission game as well, which could be the ace up his sleeve. He's trained under Marc Laimon most of his career so you'd expect him to know what he's doing on the ground. Especially when you combine that BJJ knowledge with his NCAA Div I wrestling base. Basically, on paper Hendricks just has a couple more options. I'd love to see Lawler score the big KO and take the gold though. What an incredible story that would be.


NickTheFace delivers the goods once again with a cracking trailer for Hendricks vs Lawler;





Co-main event could wind up being a #1 contenders fight with the winner of Condit vs Woodley next in line for the winner of Hendricks vs Lawler. So a bit of a tournament feel to this card.


I love this fight as well. Condit is fucking brilliant. You can go right through his career, the man is one of the most exciting fighters in the sport and has been for years.




He's a guy I could seriously see winning the title now GSP is off the scene. And a rematch between him and Hendricks, over 5 rounds, would be amazing if their tremendous 3 rounder last year was anything to go on. Condit vs Lawler would be insane as well.


And Woodley is an animal. About as jacked as a guy can be at 170, with great wrestling and big fuck off power in his hands. Aside from the snoozer against Shields, Woodley has looked great so far in the UFC. KOing Jay Hieron and Josh Koscheck.


What I love most about this fight is how Condit usually matches up against power punching wrestlers. If you look back at his fights with Hendricks and Jake Ellenberger, those were some absolutely terrific fights. Condit's takedown defence isn't the best but he never makes it easy for wrestlers. He never stops attacking on the bottom. And Woodley has a bit of a rep for fading down the stretch. This has a very good chance of getting FOTN.


This mad bastard's on the card



Diego Sanchez, like Condit, is always good value. He's coming off that FOTY candidate (when isn't he?) with Gilbert Melendez. Bit disappointed he's drawn Myles Jury to be honest. Nothing against Jury, he's a good fighter, just feels like a bit of a waste to me. Considering how stacked with talent the 155 division is, surely there was a better fight for Diego out there. How mental would Diego Sanchez vs Joe Lauzon be, for example?


Still, I'm glad he's on the card. It probably makes sense actually to scale back his opposition a bit. Jury is no scrub either, it shouldn't be a cakewalk or anything. But I guess it makes sense to give Diego a lower ranked guy this time. He really could do without getting into another war here so hopefully he wins this comfortably and we can see about getting that Conor McGregor fight on? ;)


Lombard vs Shields...yeah hoping Lombard clobbers him quick before Shields saps the life out of the main card. In fairness, I didn't think Shields vs Maia was that bad. It was a slow moving chess match but it was alright for what it was. But Shields is the pound-for-pound king of MMA boredom usually. Really hope Lombard can catch him early.


Of the prelims Gastelum vs Story could be the darkhorse to steal the show, actually. Really excited for that one. I like what I've seen of Gastelum so far but this is undoubtedly his toughest test yet. Bermudez vs Hettes is another potential show stealer. Bermudez is always in entertaining fights. Never a dull moment. His fights last year with Steven Siler and especially Matt Grice were excellent. Hettes was considered a top prospect not too long ago so hopefully he's got his A game back. If he has, this could be something a bit special, I reckon.


What else? Alex Garcia caught my eye last time. Looks like a mini Hector Lombard and was impressive in his debut. Justin Scoggins was the goofy looking guy who dominated Richie Vas in Australia. Could be one to watch at flyweight. Andrade vs Pennington should be good as well.


I'm pretty fucking excited for this one.

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I tell you what, I honestly can't pick the main event. Such an incredible fight. I can't even decide who has the advantage in the stand up? I think perhaps Hendricks may have more one punch KO power, but Lawler is simply a striking/wrecking machine. I think Lawler is more accurate than Hendricks.


The one worry is Hendricks' high class wrestling, could this be the major deciding factor in the fight? With the way Lawler's fights have gone recently, I don't get the impression he gives a shit about his opponents wrestling. Just look at Koscheck and Macdonald as proof.

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I want Lawler to win, as I cannot stand Hendricks with his lack of charisma and his sense of entitlement. But Hendricks I think will win. As theorized above the wrestling game will be the factor.


Striking wise, Lawler has a lot to work with. If he stays on the outside and works the jab like GSP did in rounds 2 and 3 against Hendricks, then he could do very well. Lawler has just as much KO power as Hendricks, and both have decent chins.


Hendricks is just too much of a grinder, I think we will see a lot of clinches and a lot of smothering that will win Hendricks rounds on control. No doubt Hendricks will get a few takedowns, but I am not convinced that Hendricks can finish Lawler, just control him. I think the Main Event will be fairly dull in stages, and Hendricks will take home a clear cut win on the cards.


Carbomb - I dislike Shields just as much as the next MMA fan, but overrated?, if anything as a fighter he is underrated. Yes his striking his shall we say questionable, but in terms of controlling opponents he is up there with the best of them. You do not beat a ground whizz like Maia over 5 rounds without being a world class technician.


That said, I like Lombard to cream Shields early. I do not think Shields have the explosive takedowns and strength to contain Lombard like Okami did. If Lombard commits to his work, he should stop Shields early.

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jim - yeah, sorry - should've clarified. What I mean is he's over-rated as to where his place is as a fighter in the world of MMA. Or maybe I was just falling victim to the hype machines of Strikeforce and UFC, which are very real possibilities, as I'm a very susceptible individual. But I find him boring and annoying. I didn't know he beat Maia, and not only am I incredulous of that, I find that makes me hate him even more, as I like Maia.

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jim - yeah, sorry - should've clarified. What I mean is he's over-rated as to where his place is as a fighter in the world of MMA. Or maybe I was just falling victim to the hype machines of Strikeforce and UFC, which are very real possibilities, as I'm a very susceptible individual. But I find him boring and annoying. I didn't know he beat Maia, and not only am I incredulous of that, I find that makes me hate him even more, as I like Maia.

No need to say sorry, I was just curious to know where you were coming from.


I think it is just what you have seen, because Shields is not even that hyped. Strikeforce gave up on him in 2010, and let him go to the UFC, as he was a ratings killer. UFC saw value in him, as he was a fresh opponent for GSP, but since then they rarely hype him.


He is always put on either PPV cards tucked away in the middle of the Main Card, or Main Events of Fight Nights that barely anyone watches.

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Fair dos - I'm starting to think my dislike of him is a bit irrational anyway. But knowing is only half the battle - I still dislike him. Still can't get that performance against Miller in Strikeforce out of my head. I know Miller was supposed to be tough to submit, but Shields really did make a meal of it.

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Jake Shield's is definitely not overrated, he just had one of the most oddly effective styles in the history of the sport. On the surface he doesn't appear to do anything that effectively, but it just works. I've had a love/hate relationship with Shields for the past 8 years haha.


Look at a list of his victims: Maia, Condit, Daley, Henderson, Woodley, Mayhem, Kampmann, Okami, Akiyama, Pyle it goes on... it's fucking insane.

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Jake Shields is one of the very best welterweights in the sport. And he's been in that mix for the best part of a decade. Unfortunately that doesn't always translate into entertaining fights. He just has this nack for draining the energy and enjoyment out of fights.


He's undeniably talented though. When you look at his list of victims in Ebb's post there, it's quite amazing. The Hendo fight especially may have been his finest hour. Not only did he show dominance that night, he did it after taking an ungodly beating in round 1. And against a true MMA legend. His grappling ability is on a level higher than about 95% of anyone else in the sport. The Maia fight proved that. When you see how Maia ragdolled Jon Fitch, buzzsawed through Rick Story, how he schooled Rory MacDonald for the entire first round Saturday night - then you see the trouble he had with Shields, that tells you everything you need to know. And he's actually a deceptively effective striker at times. He's very limited on the feet but he doesn't really take all that much damage and he lands a pretty high volume of strikes himself, although not very powerful.


He's a really, really good fighter. Unfortunately he's also a boring as fuck one. You can appreciate the skill but it's still not enjoyable to watch. I mean, I can appreciate the skill involved in how a watch is designed and made, but I wouldn't enjoy watching it being done.


The one worry is Hendricks' high class wrestling, could this be the major deciding factor in the fight? With the way Lawler's fights have gone recently, I don't get the impression he gives a shit about his opponents wrestling. Just look at Koscheck and Macdonald as proof.


Yeah, like I said in the OP, I think Hendricks' wrestling will be the decider in this fight. But the bit I've bolded there is what I love about Lawler and it's what makes this very interesting to me. Lawler is fearless. He's not the type of fighter who will not let his shit go for fear of the takedown.


I think Lawler has the edge standing. That's not to say Hendricks couldn't KO him. Hendricks has the kind of freaky power that can stop anybody if he connects clean. But yeah, I think Lawler is more accurate, more varied and a bit better defensively. If you watch Lawler's fights he doesn't take too many clean shots. Only highly skilled strikers like Diaz and Manhoef have really outstruck him for any real length of time. Hendricks got tagged a fair few times against Condit, if Lawler can get through with some big bombs it could be a bad night for the bearded one.


Another intriguing aspect is that they're both southpaws. Sometimes guys really can't get used to that. Everything comes from different angles. Lawler got stopped by Diaz who's a lefty, granted that was years ago. Has Hendricks faced a southpaw yet, I can't remember?


Rich Franklin was a victim of the southpaw curse. He got wrecked by Anderson twice, Belfort, Machida and Cung Le. Yeah three of them are elite but still, some fighters just never figure out how to fight leftys. Could be something to consider either way in this fight.

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I was a left-hander in fencing, and it's a similar thing. If I'm honest, it's not just because I'm naturally left-handed, it's also because it's a cynical, but very effective tactical choice - the vast majority of fencers are right-handed, so whether you yourself are left-handed or not, you're naturally used to fighting right-handers. If you're a lefty, then you have a massive advantage, because you're almost always up against opponents who aren't used to fighting you, and any left-handers you do meet will be just as baffled as you are unless they've particularly focused on training against lefties.

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So, as it is established in most areas that Hendricks is the favorite (and rightfully so in my opinion) Who do you lot want to win on Saturday. I am firmly wanting Lawler to win.


Not only would it make a great story, but Hendricks is a whiny sort. There is a video floating around of him and Laimon after the GSP fight where they overstate the extent to which Hendricks got ripped off (I thought he won 48-47, but they made it out to be a lot worse). I know some of my favorite fighters are whiners (hello Nick Diaz), but there is no charm to Hendricks. At least other fighters can be entertaining when they whine, Hendricks is just annoying.


Lawler is an odd character, I am not sure what my opinion of him is as a person. But, I like him as a fighter. When he is allowed to he always produces good fights, and has turned his career around from being a journeyman with a big name, to becoming a legit contender who is finally reaching his full potential.


So yeah, come on Robbie Lawler.

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Absolutely 100% pulling for Robbie Lawler. I enjoy Hendricks' fights but I do find him annoying. And I've always been a fan of Lawler pretty much since I started watching MMA. I've always thought Lawler just seemed like a cool as fuck, laid back type, and in the cage he's always exciting.


So yeah, who I want to win - Lawler

Who I think will win - Hendricks


Whatever happens though I think we're in for a wild fight.

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