For the first time since 2008 the UFC will have a Welterweight champion not named Georges St. Pierre by the end of tonight. The man whom most (myself included) feel defeated Georges St. Pierre, Johny Hendricks will look to defeat the reinvigorated Robbie Lawler. After losing a decision to the champion GSP Hendricks vowed to never let the judges take something from him that he felt he earned. Lawler on the other side has been reinvented since returning to the UFC and dropping back down to the 170 pound division. Both men are known for having heavy hands. Hendricks has secured 8 of his 15 wins via knockout with 5 of those coming in the first round. Lawler has knockouts in 18 of 22 of his wins with 11 in the first round. Hendricks also has quite the collegiate wrestling pedigree and was a 4-time NCAA Division 1 All-American, and a 2-Time NCAA Division 1 champion. While Lawler may lack the wrestling accomplishments of his opponent he has shown to have a great knack for getting off his back when he’s put there.
The fight certainly has the potential to be something special though with both fighters looking to stand and trade in the early stages and may just come down to who has the strongest chin. Both fighters certainly feel that have something to prove. Johny wants to show that he deserves to be the champ and won’t make the mistake of letting up like he feels he did in his controversial loss to GSP. Lawler as a veteran despite his young age doesn’t know how many more shots he can get and wants to make the most of it. While some have questioned his cardio in the past, Hendricks looked phenomenal in his five round fight with St. Pierre. Lawler on the other hand has never gone five rounds despite being a champion in multiple organizations. At the end though I think Hendricks has to have a slight edge due to sheer toughness and his wrestling. While Lawler may be able to get off his back you have to believe that Johny will be able to put him there.
The co-main event features two men looking to fight for the potential of being the next in line for a title shot. “The Natural Born Killer” Carlos Condit will collide with Tyron Woodley. Condit is a tough fight for anybody and his diverse striking attack is a hard thing to train for. Woodley is a wrestler whom has recently started developing his striking with two huge knockouts since moving over from Strikeforce. The two factors that will play into this fight is Condit’s takedown defense and Woodley’s conditioning. Condit has certainly shown great improvements in defending takedowns he still has shown himself to be susceptible to being taken down by high level wrestlers, which plays into one of Woodley’s strengths. Tyron though is a very large Welterweight and because of this he’s shown the tendency to lose steam after the first round. Against an opponent like Condit that could very well spell trouble. Condit never slows down and if Woodley shows any sense of slowing down then Condit is going to be all over him. For that very reason I have to give the edge to Carlos.
In another important bout in the Welterweight division grappler Jake Shields takes on heavy handed Hector Lombard. Jake certainly can make the division interesting with a win seeing as he holds wins over Condit, Woodley, and Lawler in his career. While Jake’s striking is vastly underdeveloped his grappling is among the best in the UFC. Unfortunately for Jake his style makes him be deemed as not entertaining. Lombard was on the verge of looking like a bust in the UFC after a ton of hype in the Middleweight division but looked great in his Welterweight debut. The fight is going to be the classic grappler versus striker and will probably be dictated by whether or not Shields can get the fight to the ground in the first two rounds. If he’s unable to then Lombard very well could make it a short night for Jake. I certainly would never count out Shields but at 170 pounds I got to think that Lombard is going to be hard to get to the ground based on his size and Judo background. I give the slight edge to Hector with that in mind.
Rounding out the main card are the always exciting Diego Sanchez taking on unbeaten prospect Miles Jury in a potential fight of the night contender and two Light Heavyweight prospects Ovince St. Preux taking on Nikita Krylov. Should be a fun night that could completely realign the Welterweight division. Note that the Prelims will take place on Fox Sports 2 rather than Fox Sports 1 for this card due to scheduling conflicts.
Main Card (Live on Pay-Per-View 10PM EST)
- #1 Johny Hendricks (15-2-0) vs #3 Robbie Lawler (22-9-0) Welterweight Championship
- #2 Carlos Condit (29-7-0) vs #11 Tyron Woodley (12-2-0) Welterweight Bout
- #15 Diego Sanchez (26-6-0) vs Miles Jury (13-0-0) Lightweight Bout
- #6 Jake Shields (29-6-1) vs #12 Hector Lombard (33-4-1) Welterweight Bout
- Ovince Saint Preux (14-5-0) vs Nikita Krylov (16-3-0) Light Heavyweight Bout
Preliminary Card (Live on Fox Sports 2 8PM EST)
- Kelvin Gastelum (8-0-0) vs #14 Rick Story (16-7-0) Welterweight Bout
- #13 Raquel Pennington (4-4-0) vs #9 Jessica Andrade (10-3-0) Women’s Bantamweight Bout
- #12 Dennis Bermudez (13-3-0) vs Jimy Hettes (11-1-0) Featherweight Bout
- Sean Spencer (11-2-0) vs Alex Garcia (11-1-0) Welterweight Bout
UFC Fight Pass Prelims (Live on UFC Fight Pass 6PM EST)
- Renee Forte (8-3-0) vs Francisco Trevino (11-0-0) Lightweight Bout
- Will Campuzano (13-5-0) vs Justin Scoggins (8-0-0) Flyweight Bout
- Bubba McDaniel (21-7-0) vs Sean Strickland (13-0-0) Middleweight Bout
- Daniel Pineda (18-10-0) vs Rob Whiteford (10-2-0) Featherweight Bout
Sleeper of the Night: The Fox Sports Prelims look great this time but I got to go with Dennis Bermudez vs Jimy Hettes. Hettes has looked like a really good prospect with only one setback in his UFC career. If he can use his grappling to score a win over Bermudez his stock could rise up rather quickly. I happen to be a huge fan of Bermudez and think he has looked incredible since being the runner up on the Ultimate Fighter and has been in some really great fights, got to think this one could be the same.
- Rob Whiteford defeats Daniel Pineda by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
- Sean Strickland defeats Bubba McDaniel via Submission at 4:33 of Round One
- Justin Scoggins defeats Will Campuzano via Unanimous Decision (30-27,30-27,30-27)
- Francisco Trevino defeats Renee Forte via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Alex Garcia defeats Sean Spencer via Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)
- Dennis Bermudez defeats Jimy Hettes via TKO at 2:57 of Round Three
- Jessica Andrade defeats Raquel Pennington via Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
- Kelvin Gastelum defeats Rick Story via Split Decision(29-28, 28-29, 30-27)
- Ovince Saint Preux defeats Nikita Krylov via Submission at 1:29 of Round One
- Hector Lombard defeats Jake Shields via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
- Miles Jury defeats Diego Sanchez via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
- Tyron Woodley defeats Carlos Condit via TKO (injury) 2:00 of Round Two
- Johny Hendricks defeats Robbie Lawler via Unanimous Decision (48-47, 48-47, 48-47)
UFC Post Fight Bonuses
Fight of the Night: Johny Hendricks vs Robbie Lawler
Performance of the Night 1: Ovince Saint Preux
Performance of the Night 2: Dennis Bermudez