Robbie Lawler came on like the fighter down on the scorecards Saturday night after the second round of his UFC 171 main event bout with Johny Hendricks.
With the UFC welterweight title on the line, Lawler won the third and fourth rounds, but Hendricks took the fifth to become the new champion.
“I needed to do a little bit more,” Lawler said. “He did enough to win. Plain and simple.”
Lawler (22-10) had his three-fight win streak snapped. This was his first loss inside the Octagon since a 2004 submission defeat at the hands of Evan Tanner.
“Ruthless” left the UFC after that loss, competing for EliteXC, Strikeforce and a few other promotions before returning to the UFC in 2013.
Lawler stopped Josh Koscheck and Bobby Voelker before scoring a decision over Rory MacDonald to earn his shot at the belt.
“(Hendricks) is one hell of a fighter,” he said. “He was taking it to me. He got a couple takedowns and fought one hell of a fight.”
I just can’t get behind Hector Lombard as a contender in the UFC’s welterweight division.
While he’s too small for middleweight, the former Bellator champion is just lacking the gas tank to get it done in one of the deepest divisions the UFC has to offer.
Yes, Lombard won his second straight with a decision over Jake Shields Saturday night at UFC 171, but after a strong first round, he coasted for the final 10 minutes.
Lombard (34-4-1) has excellent hands, power and judo that rivals UFC female bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey.
He just lacks a killer instinct.
Shields is no joke, having held the Strikeforce title and competing against Georges St-Pierre for the UFC belt. But “Lightning” talked a lot about finishing Shields and how boring he was in the build, but he played right into that.
Give Lombard a young fighter that can really make him work, and we might see what he can bring – or what he can’t.
Johny Hendricks thought he was the UFC welterweight champion last year after going the distance with Georges St-Pierre.
Saturday night, when the scorecards were announced, Hendricks was on top of the division, earning a decision over Robbie Lawler at UFC 171.
“Gosh dang it,” said an exuberant Hendricks. “This means everything to me. Thank you to you guys. Thank you (to the UFC). Thank you to my wife.”
Hendricks broke down after receiving the title from UFC president Dana White. Last year, “Bigg Rigg” dropped a split decision to GSP.
After taking the first two rounds with his effective striking, Hendricks was nearly finished by Lawler in the third and fourths.
Hendricks scored a late takedown in the final round, securing himself the win and the title.
“In the fifth round, I knew I had to win it,” he said, “and I did.
“Robbie is a tough dude, a stud. I promise I will be facing him again.”
UFC 171’s finish wasn’t as controversial as some cards have been lately, but it still created a good buzz around Twitter.
In the main event, Johny Hendricks became the new UFC welterweight champion by besting Robbie Lawler via decision. Hendricks earned the win with a late takedown in the fifth.
Fellow UFC fighters and personalities, including Nate Diaz, sounded off.
One hell of a main event! @ufc
— Ian McCall (@Unclecreepymma) March 16, 2014
Awesome fight now time for some killer instinct one some @Xbox one
— Demetrious Johnson (@MightyMouseUFC) March 16, 2014
— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) March 16, 2014
Hendricks, Lawler scorecard pic.twitter.com/D7FIaXYO0d
— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) March 16, 2014
Hendrix got justice for gsp fight. The winner looks like he got his butt kicked and the loser don’t have a mark on him
— Chris Clements (@menaceclements) March 16, 2014
— Josh Barnett (@JoshLBarnett) March 16, 2014
Hendricks’ likability factor is damn high and his improvement is obvious. Hard division in which to reign for a long time. Who’s next?
— Jon Anik (@Jon_Anik) March 16, 2014
Hendricks pulled it out in the 5th rd, in my opinion. Landed a nice left that changed the tide and the leg kicks paid its dues! #UFC171
— Aljamain Sterling (@FunkMasterAljO) March 16, 2014
— Nathan Diaz (@NateDiaz209) March 16, 2014
Thats a wrap! UFC171 Hendricks with the winning takedown @JohnyHendricks
— Kenny Monday (@KennyMonday) March 16, 2014
— Urijah Faber (@UrijahFaber) March 16, 2014
— Antonio sabato jr (@antoniosabatojr) March 16, 2014
UFC 171 went down Saturday night from Dallas and saw the crowning of a new welterweight champion, as Johny Hendricks bested Robbie Lawler.
Hendricks and Lawler engaged in a five-round battle, and the two were named the “Fight of the Night.”
“Performance of the Night” bonuses went to both Dennis Bermudez and Ovince St. Preux. All four picked up an additional $50,000.
The live gate for the card was $2.6 million with an attendance of 19,224 inside the American Airlines Center.