UFC 171 Preview

UFC_171The welterweight division went from one of the most in control divisions in the UFC to becoming one of the most exciting. The Welterweight division was one of the few divisions that was ruled by one living legend that could seemingly never be beat. Georges St. Pierre was among the greatest fighters in the history of the UFC and was constantly mentioned alongside Anderson Silva as the best pound for pound fighters in the UFC. Then the end of 2013 would happen and the pound for pound list was thrown into disarray. First Anderson Silva would lose two title fights ending his reign in the middleweight division. Then Georges St. Pierre would take on Johny Hendricks in a welterweight title fight that seemed to be the biggest test in GSP’s career. After a very controversial decision St. Pierre remained the champion but immediately following the fight he would begin talking about taking some time away from fighting. He would make it official a month later in a press conference where he would say that he was taking time away from the UFC and would vacate the title. It was a controversial decision as most fans wanted to see him face Johny Hendricks one more time to finally prove who the better fighter was as many believed that Hendricks should have the belt. That fight would not happen though and very well may never happen as many believe that St. Pierre’s time away from the UFC will turn out to be permanent and he will never return to fight Hendricks and have the rematch that most people wanted to see. Although Hendricks will not be able to get the rematch that he wants so bad he will get the chance to fight once again for the welterweight title. With Georges St. Pierre vacating the title in December the UFC would go about trying to find his next replacement and two names came to mind immediately to fight for the vacated title and become the first new welterweight champion since 2007. In one corner will be the man who most recently fought for the title against Georges St. Pierre, and by many accounts beat the champion, in Johny Hendricks. Hendricks gets his second title fight in large part because of his performance in the last title fight were he gave George St. Pierre the toughest fight of his life and almost became the first fighter to beat St. Pierre since 2007. He will represent the fighter that most people think is the true champion and in many minds this fight is more of a title defence than a chance to earn the title. In the other corner will be a fighter that could be the hungriest fighter in the UFC right now. Robbie Lawler was a young rising star in 2004 when he began fighting but he would leave the UFC spending time in other promotions for years. It wasn’t until last year that Lawler returned and began making his way up the rankings in a big way. He will get the title shot that many though that he was going to get in 2004 and is now a much more experienced and mature fighter who is looking to finally meet his potential. There is little question as to what both of these fighters will be looking to do when they enter the octagon. Johny Hendricks is a 4-time Division-I All-American Wrestler and a 2-time Division-I National Champion from Oklahoma State, one of the premier wrestling programs in the NCAA. As great as his wrestling is Hendricks has made his way through the rankings with the use of a devastating left hand. Hendricks has some of the best power in the UFC and he displayed it in his last fight almost ending the fight multiple times against Georges St. Pierre. With five KO wins in his UFC career Hendricks is scary on the feet but if s way there is no doubt that he has the ability to take it to the ground. Robbie Lawler is not a wrestler and likes to keep the fight standing and has great takedown defence to keep the fight standing. Since returning to the UFC Lawler has two KOs and has proven to have great power and hand speed. There is a chance that Hendricks looks to take the fight to the ground but the likely outcome will be a stand-up war between two very good strikers. Robbie Lawler is on a role and has great hands but Johny Hendricks has the power advantage in this fight. Expect a great fight that will end with a 3rd round KO with Johny Hendricks taking home the belt.

When a dominant champion leaves the division or the fight game in general immediately everything opens up. Every time that a dominant champion rules over a division there is a group of great fighters who have not been able to grab the title but are too good to fall into the regular pool of fighters. When that dominant champion is beaten or walks away that group of fighters immediately enters into the title conversation again. The only problem is that there are a lot of fighters in that group that deserve a title shot but only a few of them can get it. Two of the fighters in that group for the welterweights are Johny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler and both will fight for the title at UFC 171. Two more members of that group are Carlos Condit and Tyron Woodley. These two fighters did not get the call for the title fight but they would get the call for the co-main event of UFC 171 and a chance to become the #1 contender. Carlos Condit and Tyron Woodley will square off with the winner paying close attention to the main event of the night. Carlos Condit has already been in this spot plenty of times as he would beat Nick Diaz for the interim title but would lose against Georges St. Pierre when unifying the title. Condit would lose another fight against the man who enters the octagon for the title in Johny Hendricks. He remained a top contender though after a KO win against Martin Kampmann and now earns the shot to get back to the title fight. Tyron Woodley has been in title conversation as well in Strikeforce where he would lose against Nate Marquardt. He would enter the UFC and put together a 2-1 record with an impressive KO of Josh Koshcheck in his last fight. Now he gets the chance to fight for another title but will need to beat Carlos Condit to get that opportunity. It will be pressure versus patience as Woodley is known for pressing the pace but Condit has beaten some of the best pressure fighters by being patient and picking his spots. Both are great strikers with the ability to end fights on the mat making this fight a close one between two very well-rounded and skilled fighters. A lot will be figured out in the welterweight division in Dallas as a new champion will be crowned for the first time since 2007 and his next fight will be determined in the co-main event as a changed division finally sees some order restored.

 

Fight Card

Main Event:
Johny “Bigg Rigg” Hendricks vs. “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler [Welterweight Title] (Pay-per-View)

Main Card:
Carlos “The Natural Born Killer” Condit vs. Tyron “The Chosen One” Woodley (Pay-per-View)

Diego “The Dream” Sanchez vs. Myles “Fury” Jury (Pay-per-View)

Jake Shields vs. Hector “Lightning” Lombard (Pay-per-View)

Ovince Saint Preux vs. Nikita “Al Capone” Krylov (Pay-per-View)

Undercard:
Kelvin Gastelum vs. Rick “The Horror” Story (Sportsnet 360/Fox Sports 1)

Raquel “Rocky” Pennington vs. Jessica “Bate Estaca” Andrade (Sportsnet 360/Fox Sports 1)

Dennis “The Menace” Bermudez vs. Jimy “The Kid” Hettes (Sportsnet 360/Fox Sports 1)

Sean Spencer vs. Alex “The Dominican” Garcia (Sportsnet 360/Fox Sports 1)

Renee Forte vs. Francisco “Sitkayan” Trevino (UFC Fight Pass)

Will Campuzano vs. Justin “Tank” Scoggins (UFC Fight Pass)

Bubba “The Menace” McDaniel vs. Sean “Tarzan” Strickland (UFC Fight Pass)

Daniel “The Pit” Pineda vs. Rob “The Hammer” Whiteford (UFC Fight Pass)

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