UFC 181: Lawler wins & Hendricks only has himself to blame

Robbie Lawler front kick Johny Hendricks UFC 181

UFC 181: Hendricks vs. Lawler 2 – Lawler wins by split decision to take Welterweight belt from Hendricks, Pettis submits Melendez to retain Lightweight title

Robbie Lawler (25-10) is now the new UFC Welterweight Champion of the World and Johny Hendricks (16-3) only has himself to blame for this loss as he didn’t try to finish the fight even when he could on standup and decided to just pin Lawler down until the clock ran out. The judges’ scores were 48-47, 47-48 and 49-46, with the obvious split being the fourth round but one of the judges somehow rewarded Lawler 4 rounds out of 5. That’s funny but either way, I did think Lawler deserved to win even though his performance wasn’t that convincing as well.

Lawler was a “Ruthless” brawler in round 1. As soon as the opening bell rang, he began throwing punches so aggressively that Hendricks had to clinch him to the fence to disable him but Lawler managed to connect a few knees to Hendricks’ face. Hendricks attempted a takedown from the clinch but Lawler’s defended well. In the second round, Hendricks began executing some very effective combos, mostly attacking Lawler’s front leg with kicks. Lawler, too, connected with a head kick and a clean front kick to Hendricks’ face. I would score Hendricks for this one since he seemed to have connected with more strikes. In round 3, Hendricks totally dominated on standup, all his strike combos seem to be connecting strong but strangely, he went for a takedown when there was potential to knock his opponent out, who seemed to have gassed out a little. This was when the fight became boring thanks to Hendricks’ rather shocking decision.

In the championship rounds, Hendricks simply kept trying to wrestle Lawler down and not do anything else. Had Hendricks not learn to not leave it in the hands of the judges? Guess he forgot about his decision loss to GSP. Lawler kept himself really busy even when he’s pinned down, pounding Hendricks with damaging-looking elbows and hammerfists. In the final seconds of the fifth and final round, Lawler pulled his leg out from Hendricks’ desperate hold and began storming the then-champ with heavy punches and kicks, and all Hendricks did was dodge, strafe and back away. Lawler’s split decision may come as a surprise but it was a pleasant one as Hendricks did practically nothing in the fourth and fifth round besides preventing himself from impressing the judges.

Anthony Pettis guillotine choke Gilbert Melendez UFC 181

In the co-main event, it was Gilbert Melendez (22-4) challenging the reigning champ Anthony Pettis  (18-2) for the Lightweight title. As soon as the opening bell rang, Melendez immediately shot for a double leg, pinned Pettis to the fences and tried to make the fight boring as he’s obvious afraid of Pettis’ striking abilities. It’s obvious that Pettis wanted strike, he threw a quick head kicks and knees every time he got out but Melendez continued to push forward, landed some decent one-twos and pinned him to the fences again and again. Melendez managed to take Pettis to the ground a couple of time but failed to keep him there. And that’s pretty much the first round.

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Melendez went gungho with his heavy hook punches in the second round but Pettis was quite effective with his counter punches backed to the fences, landed a front kick to Melendez’s face as well when they were in the centre of the octagon. Melendez was being too predictable as he tried to stick with the same game plan as the first round, and that allowed Pettis to execute a beautiful quick and deep guillotine choke while pulling guard. Melendez turned on the ground as he was tapping out. Even if he escaped, Pettis would be on full mount position.

Urijah Faber (32-7) was in the preliminary card winning against Francisco Rivera (10-4) with a bulldog choke, apparently. It was announced that WWE star CM Punk (0-0) has signed with the UFC and will debut next year. It’s funny how they could sign a fake wrestler and not Ben Askren. In Fight Night 57 that took place 2 weeks ago, Frankie Edgar defeated Cub Swanson in the main event via neck crank while Edson Barboza defeated Bobby Green via unanimous decision.

Full Results

(Source: Wikipedia)

Fight of the Night: Sergio Pettis vs. Matt Hobar
Performance of the Night: Anthony Pettis and Josh Samman

Main Card

Welterweight: Robbie Lawler def. Johny Hendricks (c) | Decision (split) | 5 rounds
Lightweight: Anthony Pettis (c) def. Gilbert Melendez | Submission (guillotine choke) | R2 1:53
Heavyweight: Travis Browne def. Brendan Schaub | TKO (punches) | R1 4:50
Heavyweight: Todd Duffee def. Anthony Hamilton | KO (punch) | R1 0:33
Lightweight: Tony Ferguson def. Abel Trujillo | Submission (rear-naked choke) | R2 4:19

Preliminary Card

Bantamweight: Urijah Faber def. Francisco Rivera | Submission (bulldog choke) | R2 1:34
Middleweight: Josh Samman def. Eddie Gordon | KO (head kick) | R2 3:08
Light Heavyweight: Corey Anderson def. Justin Jones | Decision (unanimous) | 3 rounds
Women’s Bantamweight: Raquel Pennington def. Ashlee Evans-Smith | Technical Submission (bulldog choke) | R1 4:59
Bantamweight: Sergio Pettis def. Matt Hobar | Decision (unanimous) | 3 rounds
Featherweight: Clay Collard def. Alex White | Decision (unanimous) | 3 rounds

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