Johny Hendricks will get his second crack at the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s welterweight title when he squares up against Robbie Lawler at UFC 171.
The two will headline the March 15 fight card at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.
Here are my picks and predictions for the entire UFC 171 fight card:
Johny Hendricks vs. Robbie Lawler
Hendricks (15-2-0, 8 KOs) was on the wrong end of a controversial decision during his last outing against Georges St. Pierre, putting on a valiant effort against the former welterweight champion.
Some would even say the beating “Bigg Rigg” put on GSP was a contributing factor to the Canadian’s decision to take a break from MMA.
Lawler (22-9-0, 18 KOs) was also impressive during his last outing, edging out a split decision against Rory MacDonald. That improved Robbie’s record in the UFC since his return to 3-0.
Both men have decent boxing skills and well-documented finishing power, but Hendricks should have the edge in the wrestling department. That coupled with the fact the Texas native will also enjoy home-Octagon advantage should be the difference maker at UFC 171.
Prediction: Hendricks wins via decision.
Carlos Condit vs. Tyron Woodley
Woodley (12-2-0, 5 submissions) couldn’t have looked any better during his last outing, knocking out Josh Koscheck during the first round of their UFC 167 encounter.
Condit (29-7-0, 14 KOs) won “Fight of the Night” honors with his effort during his last outing, winning via TKO during the fourth round of his bout against Martin Kampmann.
Woodley should have the advantage in the wrestling department when these two meet at UFC 171, but that likely won’t help him much. Condit is extremely good at fighting his way back up to his feet when taken down. And that reality will likely lead to a majority of the fight being contested standing up where Condit should have a distinct advantage thanks to his diverse striking arsenal, footwork, and power.
Prediction: Condit wins via decision.
Diego Sanchez vs. Myles Jury
Sanchez (24-6-0, 9 submissions) is coming off a “Fight of the Year” winning performance against Gilbert Melendez, a bout he ended up losing via unanimous decision.
Jury (13-0-0, 6 submissions) is now 4-0 in the UFC, with wins against respectable names like Michael Johnson, Ramsey Nijem, and Mike Ricci.
Jury — who is a well-rounded MMA fighter — is one of the most promising lightweights in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, and he’s good enough to beat Sanchez on a good day.
However, Sanchez has a lot of experience and victories against high caliber opponents, and he’s one of the most tenacious competitors in mixed martial arts. That should be more than enough to propel him to victory at UFC 171.
Prediction: Sanchez wins via TKO.
Jake Shields vs. Hector Lombard
Lombard (33-4-1, 19 KOs) looked awesome during his welterweight debut, knocking out Nate Marquardt early in their UFC 166 encounter.
Shields (29-6-1, 10 submissions) is coming off upset victories against Demian Maia and Tyron Woodley.
Lombard has more than enough power to end this UFC 171 contest early if he brings his A-game, but I’m leaning towards Shields based on his ability to grind opponents down.
Prediction: Shields wins via decision.
Ovince St. Preux defeats Nikita Krylov
Kelvin Gastelum defeats Rick Story
Jessica Andrade defeats Raquel Pennington
Dennis Bermudez defeats Jimy Hettes
Alex Garcia defeats Sean Spencer
Robert McDaniel defeats Tor Troeng
Frank Trevino defeats Renee Forte
Daniel Pineda defeats Robert Whiteford
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