If you do not want to know the results turn back now…
There is an unwritten rule in MMA that every fighter knows… “Don’t leave it in the hands of the judges”. For what can seen as, and will for some people, Johny Hendricks was cheated out of a win by the judges. When Hendricks fought George St-Pierre back at UFC 167 many fans thought he did enough to win that fight to become the new Welterweight Champion. The simple excuse for GSP retaining was that a challenger has to clearly beat the Champion. So it’s fair that fans will now be asking, “What has changed in the last year?” Similar to that fight Hendricks controlled most of tonight’s fight, and if he did not do enough to beat GSP while clearly dominating how did he not do enough to retain when clearly dominating? Unfortunately, it is a question we will never get a clear answer too. It is a shame for the UFC and for the fans of the sport that an amazing PPV event ended in such a fashion, but what we can take away from tonight is Hendricks vs Lawler 3 is going to happen, and it will happen sooner than later. As for the rest of the fights they proved to be as exciting as they appeared they would be.
(W) Tony Ferguson vs Abel Trujillo was an action packed 6 minutes with both fighters looking like victory was close in the first round. Trujillo came out of the gate throwing bombs and rocked Ferguson early in the first and maintained the pressure until Ferguson was able to regain his composure. At that point Trujillo was already on fumes and Ferguson started to make him pay. Clean shots and an excellent ground game ended the round with Ferguson clearly in control. The second round started with Trujillo absolutely beat. Ferguson was able to man handle him to the ground, get his back and eventually get the submission by rear naked choke. It was the type of fight that should send Ferguson into the top 10 of an already crowded Lightweight division.
(W) Todd Duffee vs Anthony Hamilton was exactly what a Todd Duffee fight normally is… Short and violent! 33 seconds into the first round Duffee put Hamilton to sleep with a strong right. If you blinked you missed it! There were 10 total strikes landed, and 8 of them were by Duffee. He sent a quick and emphatic message to the rest of the Heavyweight division that he is back and that he has not lost one bit of his power.
(W) Travis Browne vs Brendan Schaub was a heavyweight fight with two heavy-handed fighters and Travis Browne showed why he is considered one of the best Heavyweight fighters in the world, with a first round knockout. Browne, for lack of a better word, dominated this fight from start to finish. After being picked apart in the first half of the first round Schaub started going to take-downs and Browne easily stuffed all but 1 managing to get to his feet quickly. Browne then took Schaub down got his back, flattened him out and rained punches until the ref stopped the fight. Expect to see Browne fighting for the belt again soon, maybe even as Browne vs Werdum 2 if Cain Velasquez isn’t able to return from injury soon.
(W) Anthony Pettis vs Gilbert Melendez was in my opinion the fight of the night with Pettis showing why he is pound for pound one of the greatest fighters in the world. Melendez came out of the gates executing his game plan perfectly and was able to hold Pettis against the cage, landing strong elbows and knees for most of the first round, which took away dangerous powerful kicks of Pettis. Pettis true to form landed strong accurate jabs out of the breaks and used his superior quickness to avoid any damaging strikes from Melendez. The second round started the same as the first went with Melendez turning the fight into a grappling match by pinning Pettis against the cage, but as he found out Pettis only needs one small opening to finish a fight. Pettis landed one strong jab to the chin of Melendez on a break and using his lightning speed sunk in a guillotine choke on a dazed Melendez to secure a second round finish, his fourth straight in the UFC. Even with many worthy challengers in line it would be shocking if we don’t see a rematch of this fight in the future. Both are still world-class fighters and Melendez in a loss has to feel confident in how his game plan seemed to neutralize Pettis for much of the fight.
(W) Robbie Lawler vs Johny Hendricks crowned a new champion Welterweight Champ in a split decision. As you already read you know how I feel about this fight, but let’s take a closer look. This was a very close fight and I take nothing away from Lawler. He showed the heart of a Champion and never gave up even when the odds of him winning looked slim. The first round started fast with Lawler delivering huge knee after knee that clearly hurt Hendricks early, but after weathering the storm Hendricks seemed to settle down and turned to his superior wrestling to neutralize Lawler’s power. Hendricks turned to that wrestling more than most people would have thought in the fight, which showed just how much he respects the power that Lawler has, and spent most of the fight fighting to take Lawler down completing 5 out of 17 takedowns. Round 1 was a tossup for who won but the edge goes to Lawler for the damage he inflicted with those knees. Rounds 2 and 3 were dominated and clearly won by Hendricks. After sucking the energy out of the with the grappling in the first Hendricks got the better of the boxing in these rounds and mixed in takedown attempts in between picking Lawler apart with his hands. Round 4 is what can only be assumed to be the deciding round in the fight. Once again Hendricks was getting the best of the stand-up landing some hard shots on Lawler, but most of the round was spent against the cage with Hendricks looking for takedowns that didn’t come. Hendricks was able to complete one and when he did Lawler was able to land some strong shots to the body and head of Hendricks. This round looked like it was won by Hendricks, but apparently the scorers saw the takedown stops and late strong shots as the deciding factor giving the round to Lawler. Round 5 was much of the same as the 4th with Hendricks pressing Lawler against the cage looking for takedowns that would not happen. The boxing was even in this round, but the turning point was Lawler connecting with damaging punches after a Hendricks takedown in the last-minute of the fight. Hendricks scrambled to his feet with 30 seconds left with Lawler chasing him hitting him with everything he had trying to finish the fight. It was this final flurry that definitely gave Lawler the 5th and final round and according to the judges, t
The biggest winner of the PPV was the fans though. This was an event that finally lived up to what the UFC brand is, the best fighters in the world with the most exciting fights and Dana White looks to continue strong PPV matches at UFC 182 with Jon Jones vs Daniel Cormier.