UFC 171: Johny Hendricks defeats Robbie Lawler
UFC 171 in Dallas was Johny ‘Bigg Rigg’ Hendricks’ opportunity to get the UFC welterweight belt he sorely wanted. He did so fair and square but looking a lot worse for wear than his opponent, ‘Ruthless’ Robbie Lawler. And I’m not talking about his god-awful Hatfield and McCoy beard.
Hendricks’ fans had pointed to GSP’s bloody face after The Canadian won a close decision over Hendricks late last year as proof Hendricks had won. But damage doesn’t necessarily equal victory on a judge’s scorecard. This fight was more proof.
Hendricks had a lot more tricks in the bag tonight, throwing leg kicks, moving laterally more than he has in past fights, and not relying so much on his right hand or a ten second KO.
For his part, Lawler mainly boxed, but at times tore Hendricks apart. Hendricks had a hard time seeing out of his right eye for the better part of a round, and although Lawler had Bigg Rigg stunned and nearly out, Hendricks regained his legs and even came on.
Rounds one and two went to Hendricks, rounds three and four to Lawler.
The fifth and final round was literally the championship round, and if momentum held, Lawler would take home the gold. But Hendricks’ corner screamed at him to dig deep, which is what you want your corner doing. That’s just what Bigg Rigg did. Not only did he out-strike Lawler in the round, but he scored a late takedown.
Lawler’s gas tank was on fumes.
In his last two fights Hendricks has not shown the kind of domination he showed in his run to contender status, nor has he shown the kind of systematic control GSP enjoyed as champion since 2008. But he did show a champion’s heart in a championship round.
Most fans expected this fight between two heavy hitters to end in a KO, but the thing about some fighters at this level is that they can take a Louisville to the skullcap and still solve the Jumble. Ruthless and Bigg Rigg demonstrated that tonight in Dallas.
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