UFC 181 Results: Lawler Shocks Hendricks with Split Decision, Pettis Submits Melendez to Retain Title
By Jaime C. Feal
Anthony Pettis defended his Lightweight title with a slick submission over Gilbert Melendez, and it looked like Johny Hendricks was going to defend his Welterweight title, until a late flurry from Robbie Lawler. The judges awarded a controversial split decision victory to Lawler, making him the new UFC Welterweight Champion. Starting off the main card, Abel “Killa” Trujillo knocked down Tony Ferguson in the opening round, but Ferguson recovered and started to take over in the 2nd round, ultimately finishing Trujillo by rear naked choke to pick up the big win. Next up, Todd Duffee made a triumphant return with a sizzling one-punch KO over Anthony Hamilton. The end came at just 33 seconds of the very first round.
Heavyweight Division (265 lbs.):
Brendan “Big Brown” Schaub vs. Travis “Hapa” Browne
The heavyweights feel each other out and measure the distance. Schaub lands a light inside leg kick. Browne catches a kick and throws Schaub down, who pops back up. Browne lands a nice knee to the body. Schaub with an uppercut that lands on the break from a clinch. Schaub goes for a takedown, and after a brief struggle, gets Browne to the mat. Browne gets up but then thrown back down. Once again Browne stands to his feet. Schaub is grappling him against the cage. Browne lands a huge uppercut that rocks Schauib. Browne pinches and is in side control, then full mount. Big hammerfists from “Hapa.” Schaub escapes to half guard, but again gets mounted. Huge shots from Browne. Schaub is busted up, bleeding from mouth. Schaub gives up his back, Browne has him fully flattened and is pounding on him with heavy punches from both sides. Red Mario Yamasaki is telling Schaub to fight back, but he can’t get out of the position. Schaub is stuck and is getting wailed on, and Yamasaki stops it at the end of the round.
Travis “Hapa” Browne wins by TKO at 4:50 of Round 1.
UFC Lightweight Championship (155 lbs.):
Anthony “Showtime” Pettis vs. Gilbert “El Nino” Melendez
Melendez charges forward with a combination, then looks for a takedown. Pettis defending well. Melendez briefly gets him down, but Pettis pops back up. Melendez is riding the back of Pettis standing up. Gilbert has one hook in and is trying to take the back of Pettis. Melendez is controlling the round thus far with his grappling and dirty boxing. Melendez again has Pettis down, working short shots to the ribs. Pettis gets back up, lands a head kick. Pettis with a spinning back kick to the body, but then immediately gets tied up again. Pettis breaks free with a little over a minute left. Melendez pushing the pace, looking for a single leg. Melendez lands some hooks. Pettis fires off a one-two, good counter left hook from Melendez. Flying knee from the Champion. Another nice left hook from Melendez. Nice kicks from Pettis, too little, too late. 10-9 round for Melendez.
Nice hooks from Melendez, as he again comes forward pushing the Pace. Pettis getting in the occasional counter, but Gilbert is doing more work, especially on the cage. Pettis with a very nice front kick to the face. Nice hooks from Melendez, pushing Pettis up the cage. Pettis drops down for a guillotine and it’s really deep. Melendez trying to fight it off, but just gets rolled over into a mounted guillotine, and is forced to tap before he goes to sleep.
Anthony “Showtime” Pettis wins by submission (guillotine choke) at 1:33 of Round 2.
UFC Welterweight Championship (170 lbs.):
Johny “Big Rigg” Hendricks vs. “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler
Lawler starts very fast, charging forward with ferocious left hands and knees to the body. Lawler clips the Champion and appears to have him hurt. More big knees to the body from Lawler. Hendricks clinches with Lawler and lands some good uppercuts. The pace slows as Hendricks works for a double leg against the cage, but so far can’t get Lawler down. Lawler has now thwarted Hendricks’ takedown attempts for over a minute. The welterweights trade knees to the body in the clinch. Back in the center of the cage, Hendricks lands an inside leg kick. Another inside leg kick from the Champion. Good combo from Hendricks, then gets a double leg takedown. 10-9 round for Lawler.
Nice inside leg kick from Hendricks. Head kick from Lawler. More good leg kicks from Hendricks, then a hard combination of hooks. Heavy left hook backs Lawler up, Hendricks presses him against the cage. Hendricks gets Lawler down, Robbie trying to get back up. Lawler gets back up and lands a nasty front kick to the face. Good right hook from Hendricks, then two good leg kicks. Good jab from Lawler. The challenger slips on an attempted kick, and Hendricks rolls for a guillotine as the round expires. 10-9 round for Hendricks.
Nice jabs from Lawler, but Hendricks is using kicks at the end of all his combinations to score points. Big right hook, left hook, leg kick combo from Hendricks. The Champion is starting to dominate the striking exchanges. Heavy combination from Hendricks, starting to tee off on Lawler. Hendricks is busting him up with hooks and leg kicks. Hendricks has Lawler down, but Robbie gets back up with a minute left. Hendricks is pressing his foe against the cage, looking for a double leg. Hendricks gets him down with twenty seconds left, Lawler is absolutely exhausted. 10-9 round for Hendricks.
Lawler hasn’t looked himself since the opening flurry. Hendricks back to the combos, wearing Lawler down against the cage again. Herb Dean breaks them due to inactivity. Head kick lands for Lawler, then lands a knee to the body. Jabs from the champion, then a leg kick. Head kick from Lawler. Hendricks gets Lawler down easily with a single leg. Lawler trying to pressure, but can’t find any openings, as Hendricks counters him, and again gets him against the cage. Lawler sprawls at the end of the round and starts unloading with good punches, but it is not enough to steal the round. 10-9 round for Hendricks.
Lawler swinging wildly and missing. Hendricks goes for a takedown, defended so far but Lawler. The crowd boos as Lawler is once again stuck with his back to the cage, and not much action going on. Ref Herb Dean warning the fighters to work, then breaks it up. Back in the center, Hendricks lands a lead right hook. Body kick from Lawler, not much sting on it though. Lawler lands a jab, sprawls on a takedown attempt from Hendricks. Lawler has his back to the cage again, crowd immediately boos. Pretty dull title fight. Herb Dean warning them to work, and breaks them with two minutes left in the fight. Nice left hand from Hendricks, shoots for a single leg. Crowd boos as he just pushes Lawler into the cage again. Lawler sneaks in some good right hands. Lawler starting to hammerfist Hendricks on the side of his head pretty hard. Hendricks getting elbowed to his ribcage HARD. Lawler escapes, and starts unloading on Hendricks with everything but the kitchen sink. Hendricks survives, barely, with Lawler staring him down to end the fight. 10-9 round for Lawler.
The judges score the fight 48-47 Lawler, 48-47 Hendricks, and 49-46 for the winner by split decision, Ruthless “Robbie” Lawler.