There are two coveted championship belts to fight over at UFC® 181 on Dec. 6.
Hendricks vs. Lawler
Prior to the UFC® 171 fight, Hendricks had been diagnosed with a torn bicep but he decided to go through with the fight anyways.
“Bigg Rigg” came out on top, after a five-round battle, winning by a close decision, after one of the year’s best fights between the two welterweight beasts.
The rematch for the welterweight belt will most likely be one of the closest fights in UFC® history. Getting deja vu? Their last fight had a similar ring to it.
Let's take a look at each fighter's strengths and weaknesses to see where they may have an upper hand:
If this was a movie, Lawler would be the star. The veteran fighter has had a long-winded career, having made his debut all the way back in 2001. He already retired and returned once in his short lifetime of 32 years. He boasts a 24-10 record in the UFC® and has a story fans can get behind.
It is no secret that Hendricks is a good wrestler. He won the NCAA Division 1 Wrestling Championship while at Oklahoma State University. If it comes down to the mat, Hendricks will most likely win.
Although Lawler has certainly made strides in his technique, if Hendricks gets him down early, it will be BiggRigg's fight. It was wrestling that ultimately allowed Hendricks to beat out “Ruthless” at their last meeting at UFC® 171.
Since his by decision loss to Hendricks, Lawler has been keeping in tip top shape. Since his loss to Hendricks, he has fought against Matt Brown and Jake Ellenberger, winning against both. Hendricks, on the contrary, has laid low, nursing himself back to health after surgery on his torn bicep.
Hendricks is not just a knockout fighter; he is a knockout master. There is a theme to a few of his more famous knockouts, including that of Martin Kampmann and Jon Fitch. In both cases, the two fell as if trees falling to the ground, as the big-bearded “Bigg Rigg” celebrated his victories.
Lawler: Leg kicks
Leg kicks have been kryptonite for the hard-striker and proved to be a fatal flaw for him in his first fight against Hendricks, beginning in that second round.
Hendricks is a more basic, predictable fighter. He has fought the same from the beginning of his career, and the style of his fighting has evolved little since. Although his punches may be incredibly powerful, they are consistently one-sided, with his right hook being his weak spot.
The “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler will win but by the skin of his teeth, via decision. Lawler is ready for this fight. Let’s all wait and see how ruthless he can be.
Pettis vs. Melendez
Both lightweight fighters coached opposing teams on this fall’s season of The Ultimate Fighter 20. They will face-off for the lightweight title after having spent months pinning their teams against one another on the show.
Melendez is a fight to the finish type of fighter, with a wrestling background. If he could bring Pettis down early, he might have a chance to exhaust him through a ground fight.
Pettis is a gifted striker, with an acrobatic style to match. Once he begins his dance on his feet, he is hard to stop. His strikes are exact and often pivotal in his fights.
The pairing of Pettis and Melendez is a particularly interesting one, due to the fact they both appear to be very emotional fighters, hungry and easily frustrated. The fight could be a matter of which one of them gets irritated first and, as a result, is thrown off their game.
Anthony “Showtime” Pettis will win by knockout with a kick and a series of punches after a few intense rounds.
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