UFC 181: Hendricks vs. Lawler II Date: December 6, 2014 Location: Las Vegas, Nevada Venue: Mandalay Bay Events Center Broadcast: PPV UFC Welterweight Champion Johny Hendricks (-270) Johny Hendricks (16-2) was riding a six-fight winning streak into his title shot against Georges St-Pierre at UFC 167, with wins over the likes over Carlos Condit and Martin Kampmann. The 30-year-old Hendricks was a two-time NCAA wrestling champion at Oklahoma State and also previously knocked out Koscheck’s teammate Jon Fitch in just 12 seconds at UFC 141 on December 30, 2011, proving to the world he is more than just a grappler. The only loss for Hendricks in his MMA career, other than the GSP defeat, came by UD against Rick Story at The Ultimate Fighter 12 Finale on December 4, 2010, but Hendricks has improved greatly since then. He is 11-2 in the UFC overall, with five of the wins coming by TKO/KO and four of them ending in the first round, and he has won either Knockout of the Night or Fight of the Night in his last four outings. He fell short in his bid to capture the welterweight title at UFC 167, even though many believed he won the split-decision against GSP, beating up the champ like no one else ever had before, but after GSP retired he took out Robbie Lawler by decision at UFC 171 to capture the vacant title. After undergoing surgery on his bicep, Hendricks will return later this year at UC 181 and the first defence of his belt will come against Lawler in a rematch. UFC Welterweight Contender Robbie Lawler (+210) Robbie Lawler (24-10, 1 NC) is one of the last of the old guard as a Miletich Fighting System pupil, born out of the Matt Hughes, Jens Pulver and Tim Sylvia fighting school of the world. Lawler began fighting when he was 19-years-old, and made his UFC debut way back in the day at UFC 37, but was soon bounced out of the promotion after losing fights to Nick Diaz and Evan Tanner. Post UFC, he traveled and fought all over the world, including in Strikeforce, where he was up and down in Strikeforce’s middleweight division, still showing his awesome knockout power occasionally but mostly being outgrappled by larger men. But since returning to the UFC in 2013 and dropping down to the welterweight division, Lawler has been nothing but a stud, going 5-1 overall with wins over Matt Brown, Jake Ellenberger, Rory MacDonald, Bobby Voelker and Josh Koscheck and the lone loss coming to Johny Hendricks in a close fight for the UFC welterweight title at UFC 171. After defeating Brown at UFC on FOX 12, the UFC promised Lawler another crack at Hendricks, and he’ll face the champ for the title once again in the main event of UFC 181 this winter. Opening UFC 181 Main Event Analysis: MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas made Hendricks a -270 favorite (bet $270 to win $100) while Lawler opened as a +210 underdog (bet $100 to win $210) at 5Dimes Sportsbook. This is a rematch of the pair’s title fight at UFC 171 which Hendricks won via unanimous decision in a back-and-forth war. Since that fight, Hendricks has taken time off to heal his injured arm, while Lawler earned another crack at the belt with dominant wins over Jake Ellenberger and Matt Brown. The first fight was essentially decided by a Hendricks takedown in the fifth round, so who knows how the rematch will go as Lawler has shown superb takedown defence overall. It’s possible the fight could stay on the feet where either man has a chance for a knockout, but it’s also possible Hendricks uses his wrestling more in this one, which on paper should give him the edge. Since he won the first fight and is the champ, Hendricks deserves to be the favorite, but this is a competitive rematch and should be a lot of fun when it goes down.