Johny “Bigg Rigg” Hendricks struck gold at UFC 171. | Photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
For the first time in five years, 10 months and 24 days, someone other than Georges St. Pierre occupies the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s 170-pound throne.
Behind a diverse standup attack and an unbreakable resolve, Johny Hendricks captured the vacant welterweight crown with a unanimous decision over Robbie Lawler in the UFC 171 headliner on March 15 at the American Airlines Center. All three cageside judges scored it the same: 48-47 for Hendricks.
Hendricks complimented accurate punching combinations with stinging leg kicks and occasional knees over the first 10 minutes. Lawler turned the corner in the third round, where he had “Bigg Rigg” badly staggered with a crisp left hook to the beard. Hendricks survived, only to endure further punishment -- Lawler carved out a nasty gash near the Oklahoman’s right eye -- from his opponent’s educated hands in round four.
The decision appeared to boil down to the fifth round, where Hendricks found another gear. He wore down a fatiguing Lawler in the clinch and battered the “Ruthless” one with left hands and leg kicks. A late takedown sealed it, as Hendricks kept the Pat Miletich disciple corralled on the canvas in the closing moments.
Hendricks has won seven of his last eight fights.
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