According to a Dec. 7 report from Yahoo! Sports, Robbie Lawler stunned Johny Hendricks in the UFC 181 main event, setting up the biggest trilogy fight in UFC history. While the UFC has not yet made it official, a trilogy bout between Lawler and Hendricks makes the most sense of any possible title fight scenario.
Sure Rory MacDonald is in the mix for a welterweight title shot, but Lawler has a score to settle with Hendricks. Here’s the thing: Lawler and Hendricks are tied at one-all, so the rubber match needs to happen in 2015. As most fight fans know, Hendricks defeated Lawler at UFC 171, to earn the UFC’s welterweight championship. It was a close decision, even though Hendricks won unanimously on the judges’ scorecards.
Just a few months later, Lawler edged Hendricks in the UFC 181 main event. Lawler, 32, won his first UFC welterweight championship with a gritty performance against Hendricks. How did it all go down? Both men tried to impose their will, but it was so evenly-matched that neither man could gain a significant advantage for most of the fight.
Hendricks tried to keep the fight against the cage and utilize his elite wrestling by shooting for takedowns, but Lawler would have none of it. Lawler felt he was the superior striker, so he made every attempt to keep the fight a standup war. The final 30 seconds of the UFC 181 headliner may have been the deciding factor, as Lawler opened up with a barrage of strikes in the waning moments of the fifth round.
Lawler knew he needed to get in Hendricks’ face to earn the belt, so he opened his hands as time wound down in the UFC 181 main event. It has been a long road to the championship for Lawler, who originally came up with the UFC 12 years ago. He has had a rollercoaster of an MMA career, jumping from talented youngster to world champion in just 12 years.
Lawler (25-10, 10-4 UFC) opened UFC 181 with vicious knees to Hendricks’ body, but the former champ proved his toughness by hanging in. Hendricks (16-3, 11-3 UFC) found his range in the second round, battering Lawler with crisp jabs and kicks. Momentum seemed to shift to Lawler’s favor in the fourth round, as Hendricks got rocked by some elbows as he held on to his opponent’s leg too long during a takedown attempt.
The most significant action came in the fifth round, when Lawler rocked Hendricks with gigantic combos as time wound down. Will the trilogy fight between Hendricks and Lawler ever happen? UFC President Dana White will likely make the announcement within a matter of days.