Robbie Lawler and Johny Hendricks are scheduled to throw down this weekend, promising an exciting fight likely to end before the fifth round is up. Both men like to trade heavy leather, and are considered the two hardest hitting welterweights in the UFC currently. Following Georges St Pierre‘s absence from the sport, Hendricks was the obvious choice to inherit the welterweight crown, but has Lawler earned the same right?
Lawler has been on a tear since rejoining the UFC, knocking out Josh Koscheck, Bobby Voelker and beating Rory MacDonald most recently. Upon further inspection, are Lawler’s most recent victories as impressive as they seem? The Koscheck win, for me, is legitimate. Koscheck has been one of the best welterweights in the UFC since 2009, and although he is winless in his last three bouts, he is still a top fighter. Voelker, granted it was a short notice replacement for Lawler, is also winless in the UFC, known more for his ability to absorb punishment rather than give it out. The win over MacDonald showed that Lawler has much room for improvement, beating the ‘still wet behind the ears’ Canadian star, but yes, impressive nonetheless. With St Pierre still in the UFC, Lawler would be fighting the winner of Carlos Condit vs. Tyron Woodley for the title, but he is the only plausible option at the moment.
This leads to the question, what can Lawler do to beat Hendricks? Lawler has raw power on his side, something that St Pierre did not, and it’s something that could be the tool to defeating Hendricks. Lawler can knock someone out from any angle, with any limb, even defeating the legendary Melvin Manhoef by way of knockout.
Hendricks is most probably not going to hang around on the feet, with the possibility of being put to sleep at any given second. The Texan native hits like a Mach truck himself, and will either be coming forward landing shots, or diving under and taking Lawler down. This dramatically reduces Lawler’s chances of winning the fight, as I highly doubt he’s going to be the victor on the judges scorecards when Hendrick’s wrestling comes into play.
In conclusion, Lawler has a chance against any fighter in the division, possessing the ability to land one winning shot. However, the safe money is on Hendricks — it’s his time, and his championship.