Johny Hendricks was tonight crowned the new welterweight champion in the main event of UFC 171 after a terrific back-and-forth five round battle with Robbie Lawler that was certainly worthy of the occasion.
The fight to crown a new UFC welterweight champion is underway. Nice leg kick from Hendricks to start this one off. Another kick and then Lawler swarms Hendricks with a flurry of punches.
Hendricks surprised for a moment, but resets quickly and Lawler backs off.
Hendricks with a few punches. Lawler moves away smiling. Hendricks closes the distance and gets the clinch against the cage. A few choppy knees for Hendricks and then they separate.
Hendricks comes in with a big punch, but he goes off-balance when it misses. Hendricks keeps pushing forward though and is possibly thinking about a takedown.
Again they separate. Hendricks tries a leg kick and Lawler checks it. Lawler showing nice head movement as Hendricks feels out with the jab.
Lawler fires off a punch that misses and shows good movement afterwards to avoid any counter. Hendricks working kicks well. He presses forward with a nice combination of punches and kicks that backs Lawler up. Hendricks continues the forward momentum and is back into the clinch against the cage as the round comes to a close.
Lawler working in and out of range with punches. He lands a hard left. Another lands, but not as hard as the previous one.
Lawler picking his shots nicely and Hendricks then chooses to flurry briefly and then a good kick lands for him too.
Hendricks with a left and a right, plus a good knee to the body. A big overhand from Hendricks just misses and Lawler smiles.
Hendricks starting to put on some real heavy leather on Lawler now. Lawler does land a good left in return though.
Flurry of punches misses from Hendricks, but he does score with a leg kick.
Now there’s a nice combination from Lawler. Hendricks punch just wings past Lawler’s head. Hendricks tries for a takedown, but Lawler stuffs it and thinks about a guillotine, but leaves it.
Lawler staying in close and using head movement – perhaps a little risky. Hendricks looking for accuracy rather than power punches here as he starts to tag Lawler.
Closing stages of the round and Hendricks starting to throw some real volume of punches and the occasional good knee up the middle.
Hendricks closing up strongly here, but then Lawler lands a huge punch just as the bell sounds.
With the range they are fighting at, a fight-ending blow could happen at any time. Lawler utilizing leg kicks at the start of the round.
Hendricks trying to get punches off instead. Nice jab from Lawler. Little combo of punches from Hendricks and then a kick. Nice stuff.
Hendricks feeling with the jab then doubles up with a nice left hand. Good uppercut connects for Lawler. In close and Lawler’s caught Hendricks with another left uppercut and Hendricks looks a bit dazed, but is hiding it well.
Lawler continues to wade in with strikes and he’s hurt Hendricks again. Hendricks clearly struggling here as he’s not offering anything much in return as Lawler continues to tag him and it’s the uppercut that’s the real money shot for him here.
Finally Hendricks wakes up a little and clinches up. Not for long though and Lawler is right back at him. Needs to be careful not to punch himself out though and doesn’t appear to be going full-power.
Hendricks looking a bit better now and a little combo from him brings a smile of acknowledgement from Lawler who’s looked like he’s been relishing this whole experience.
Hendricks has definitely weathered the storm and looks back in this fight again as the round comes to a close.
lawler back to pressuring Hendricks again. Hendricks is engaging though. A good knee to the head from Lawler and that backs Hendricks up a bit and he eats some more punches. Hendricks pressing forward with punches himself now though.
Not for long as Lawler becomes the aggressor again, and he lands some solid punches.
Hendricks still looks dangerous when he wades foward with guns blazing as he’s just done right here. Lawler unphased though and is measuring his strikes, not landing everything at full power.
Hendricks bleeding from a cut to his right eye. Hendricks lands nicely and then Lawler snaps his head back a few times with crisp shots.
Lawler gets the thai clinch and lands a knee. He lets go and Hendricks rattles of some punches that raises yet another smile from the ‘Ruthless’ one. Good uppercut lands clean for Lawler.
The fight side of Hendricks face is covered with blood now. Lawler looking pretty fresh here despite throwing a lot of punches over the past couple of rounds.
Hendricks lands with a leg kick. Lawler pacing himself and Hendricks secures a takedown in the final 20 seconds of the round.
Onto the final round of an entertaining fight for the 170lb strap. Lawler connects with the jab. Hendricks rifling off his own jab in return.
Hendricks tries to come forward with big shots, but gets caught by a nice left counter from Lawler. Hendricks doing the stalking now though and then he bundles in with a takedown attempt. He almost gets it, but Lawler shows good balance to stay up against the cage.
Good knee strikes from Hendricks to the legs of his opponent and Lawler doesn’t quite connect on one of is own to the head of his opponent.
Hendricks still trying hard for the takedown, but then gives up on it and the ref breaks them apart soon after.
Hendricks misses with a big punch, but lands a good leg kick. Lawler stuffs a takedown attempt and starts to land some hands again.
Just over two minuts to go and Lawler lands soome big shots, but Hendricks takes them. Now it’s Hendricks turn to land big strikes and suddenly Lawler looks tired and potentially is hurt here.
Hendricks continues to put fists in Lawler’s face and there’s no head movement from Lawler any more, he’s just relying on his chin now to get him through.
He’s getting backed up by more punishing blows and looks to be on shaky legs, then Hendricks gets a crucial takedown.
Lawler shakes his head, frustrated that he can’t get back up from under Hendricks, and that’s how the fight ends with Hendricks on top.
It looks like that late rally from Hendricks could be the difference here, and indeed it is, Johny Hendricks is your new welterweight champion with a unanimous decision victory sealing the deal (48-47 x3).