#1 Robbie Lawler vs (C) Johny Hendricks
Lawler comes out ultra-aggressive. Punches, knees, grappling, he starts throwing everything at Hendricks. Eventually he gets in some Muay Thai knees and settles down. Hendricks pushes him up against the cage for control. Hendricks’ corner yelling at him to take Lawler down via single or double leg takedown. Lawler holds out and doesn’t get taken down. Hendricks separates and gets in some straight lefts. Goes for a takedown again, this time gets it. Hendricks finishes the round on top. Lawler seems gassed from the early flurry of strikes. My score: 10-9 Hendricks
Both fighters stay striking, keeping separation. Lawler lands a huge head-kick. Hendricks answers with some leg kicks. Hendricks corner yells “He’s coasting this round Johny!” seeing that Lawler is breathing heavily. Hendricks lands a takedown against the cage. Lawler gets to his feet and lands a vicious front kick. Lawler tries for another kick and slips. Hendricks falls on him and goes for a guillotine but the horn sounds. My score: 10-9 Lawler
Hendricks throwing some great combinations early. Joe Rogan states that Lawler cannot takedown Hendricks, taking out that element of the fight for him. Hendricks continues to land leg-kicks at will. Lawler hardly answering any strikes. Hendricks gets an easy takedown. Lawler looks absolutely exhausted. Round ends with Hendricks on top. My score: 10-9 Hendricks.
Starts just like round 3. Hendricks landing at will. Lawler gets pressed against the cage and Herb Dean brings them back to center. Lawler lands a nice head-kick. Hendricks gets another takedown and they bounce back up. Lawler actually hands some heavy elbows on the ground as the horn sounds. Hendricks goes back to his corner smiling, almost laughing. My score: 10-9 Hendricks
Huge initial exchange with Lawler landing some decent punches. Hendricks goes for takedown but is stuffed. Back and forth grappling for a while and Herb separates again. Rogan claims that this round could go either way. Lawler lands some strike from on top but none are landing solidly. Lawler continues to reign on the strikes. Crowd is screaming for Robbie. Robbie lands a HUGE flurry of strikes and steals the round. Johny’s face is blooded up. Might be too little too late. My score: 10-9 Lawler. We await the final decision.
Robbie Lawler Wins WW Title by Split Decision
Wow! In a shocking decision, the judges see Lawler’s strikes as more damaging than Hendrick’s takedowns. He fights back from being outworked to dominate the 5th round and not only steal the round, but in this case, steals the entire fight. Will we see Hendricks vs Lawler III? Hendricks will have to fight his way back to another shot at the belt.
#1 Gilbert Melendez vs (C) Anthony Pettis
Prefight: Melendez steps in first. Goldberg points out that he has never lost in a championship fight. Pettis comes out second with both Mexican and American flags bumping his “Showtime” theme song. Fans are on their feet. Joe Rogan says Pettis may be the best kicker in all of MMA.
Intense staredown pre-fight. Neither fighter reaches out to touch gloves. Gilbert immediately goes for a takedown and gets it but Pettis pops back up quickly. Melendez then ties up Pettis in a grapple and gets in some dirty boxing. Pettis gets out but Melendez takes him right down again, this time with more ease. Pettis gets up and lands a nasty spinning back-kick. Gilbert goes for another takedown and is stuffed. Round ends with a pretty even exchange. My score: 10-9 Melendez
Melendez comes out not looking for takedown right away. Pettis lands some pretty good punches. Melendez ties up Pettis against the cage. Melendez gets tagged and goes for a takedown. Pettis turns the takedown attempt into a guillotine. Pettis locks it up and turns Melendez completely around onto his back. Melendez taps. Pettis retains his Lightweight belt.
Anthony Pettis by Submission (guillotine choke) Round 2 1:53
Travis Browne vs Brendan Schaub
Round 1: Travis steps in the octagon and looks like a monster next to Schaub. Schaub hangs with Travis early and finds his openings. Browne eventually catches Schaub with a hook and gets full mount quickly. The rest of the round Browne grinds out Schaub with monkey punches and ground£. He can’t seem to get Schaub KO’d for a about a minute. Finally, Mario Yamasaki calls a TKO with ten seconds left in Round 1.
Travis Browne by TKO Round 1 4:50
Todd Duffee vs Anthony Hamilton
Round 1: Duffee comes in looking huge. You can tell he is ready to make a UFC comeback. Duffee comes out aggressive and KO’s Hamilton in 33 seconds. The heavyweight division just got a little more interesting.
Todd Duffee by KO Round 1 0:33
UFC 181 features two championship fights in arguably the two most competitive weight classes in all of MMA; Lightweight and Welterweight.
Usually, you would see either of these fights headline a PPV by themselves, which is why it is rare (and awesome) to see them both on the same card. 2014 has seen many UFC PPV’s be rescheduled due to injuries, making this event the biggest of the year.
When Robbie Lawler and Johny Hendricks fought for the Interim Welterweight title, (Georges St.Pierre vacated it) it had everything you’d want in a 5-round championship fight. Lawler won two rounds. Hendricks won two rounds.
It came down to the 5th and final round to determine who the next WW champ would be, and the fans were on the edge of their seats. This time around, it will be interesting to see what the strategy for each fighter will be.
Johny is coming off bicep surgery and hasn’t fought since the last fight, while Lawler has fought and won twice since their last matchup. The “Countdown to UFC 181” show airs tonight (12/5) on Fox Sports 1 and it will go into the lives and preparations of both fighters.
Keep it here for live updates of the main event.
How to Watch UFC 181
Order it on Pay-Per-View through your cable company or buy it and stream on UFC.TV