Johny Hendricks won a close decision to beat Robbie Lawler in the main event of UFC 171.
Hendricks, lost a razor-thin decision for the welterweight title in his previous outing, won 48-47 on all three judges' cards, defeating Lawler in a stirring battle for the belt that had been vacated in December by Georges St-Pierre.
Hendricks was cut by the right eye and Lawler closed his eye with a powerful jab midway through the fight, but he pulled it out by rallying to win the fifth.
"Hats off to him because he fought a hell of a fight," Lawler said.
Lawler, too, fought an outstanding battle and the fight was there for anyone to win. Hendricks, though, clearly won the final round when the title hung in the balance and that is the mark of a champion.
The sellout crowd at American Airlines Center roared its approval as Hendricks landed a series of hard strikes as the fight came down the stretch, fighting off both fatigue and a very game opponent.
Most felt Hendricks had done enough to win the title from St-Pierre in November in Las Vegas, but the judges gave St-Pierre a hotly disputed split decision.
But when St-Pierre surrendered the belt, Hendricks got another chance.
He had a huge hometown crowd cheering his every move, and in a close fight that was tough to score, the impact that had on the judges can't be overlooked.
Neither man was ever in jeopardy of being finished, though each took his share of abuse.
When ring announcer Bruce Buffer read the scores, Hendricks fell to his knees in jubilation. He raised his arms skyward shortly after UFC president Dana White wrapped the belt around his waist.
Tyron Woodley stopped Carlos Condit in the second round of their title eliminator's fight in the second round of their UFC 171 co-main event. The stoppage occurred after Woodley managed to injure the former WEC champion's right knee with a take down and kick.
A double leg take down from Woodley in the second twisted Condit's right knee in an awkward way and the fighter out of Albuquerque yelled out and grimmaced in pain. Condit fought on, however, until a leg kick from Woodley to "The Natural Born Killer's" left leg, spun him around and made his right knee buckle once more.
Condit fell to the floor, his back to Woodley, and held onto his right leg while yelling out in pain once more. The referee stepped in to stop the fight at that point.
Well before the fight ended with the unfortunate injury, Woodley was landing huge power punches on Condit time and again. For his part, Condit, weathered the storm and appeared to be fresh heading into the second round.
"He's a really tough guy. I landed some really hard right hands earlier in the fight," Woodley said in his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan.
"I heard him say ow when I took him down so I said I'm going to start chopping him down."
Woodley, who lobbied UFC president Dana White hard for the fight with Condit, said that the only fight that makes sense for him next is for the welterweight world title. Asked what is next for him, he replied, "You know what's next."
Jake Shields felt he was being overlooked as a welterweight contender heading into the UFC 171 event by being booked against former Bellator champion Hector Lombard. Instead, Lombard proved that he himself can hang with the division's elite by battering Shields for three rounds en route to a unanimous decision win.
Lombard landed big punches on the feet, tossed Shields to the ground at will throughout the bout and defended all of Shields' take down attempts. Yet, whenever Lombard appeared on the cusp of putting Shields away on the ground, the Cuban Judoka took his foot off the gas and chose to settle into Shields' guard instead of unloading with punches.
As a result, Lombard managed to both prove that his skills place him in the welterweight division's upper crest and show that, unlike many others near the top, he is either unwilling or unable to fight for every minute of every fight. Be that as it may, Lombard now owns a win over a top welterweight contender and will likely be content with that accomplishment.
- Sports & Recreation
- Martial Arts
- Johny Hendricks
- Robbie Lawler
- Carlos Condit