ufc 171

UFC 171 Preview

The UFC’s 2nd PPV of 2014, UFC 171: Hendricks vs Lawler will crown a new UFC welterweight champion. The winner between Johny Hendricks vs Robbie Lawler will be the UFC’s first new welterweight champion since 2007. Since then there has been only one person holding onto that title, which has now been vacated by former welterweight champion of 7 years, Georges St. Pierre.

Not only that, in the UFC 171 co-main event, we could be seeing the next number one contender for the UFC welterweight championship emerge as the victor. Continuing with the theme of fights in the welterweight division, two top 15 ranked welterweights attempt to stake their claim at the now wide open division. The main card also features a lightweight battle between a young undefeated fighter on the rise against the original ultimate fighter winner, as well as a light heavyweight battle involving two fighters looking to get momentum started. A total of 13 fights on this stacked PPV card.

Main Card (10 pm est, PPV)

#1 Johny Hendricks (15-2) (-430) vs #3 Robbie Lawler (22-9) (+345)

Johny Hendricks will be competing in his 2nd consecutive UFC welterweight title fight this Saturday, after losing a narrow split decision to then champion Georges St. Pierre at UFC 156, ‘Big Rig’ will look to capture that long time coveted championship. His opponent will be the 13 year veteran in the sport, competing in his first ever welterweight title fight after miraculous career resurgence, Robbie Lawler looks to fulfill his goal of winning a championship that he set out when he rejoined the UFC in 2013.

Johny Hendricks thought he had the welterweight title in his grasps before it was snatched away by the reading of the scorecards a few minutes after a 25 minute hard fought battle against long-time welterweight king pin, GSP. He gets a second chance as the #1 ranked welterweight, after reeling off 6 consecutive wins in the welterweight division–including 3 knockouts of TJ Waldburger, Jon Fitch, and Martin Kampmann.

The fact that Robbie Lawler is fighting for the UFC welterweight title is nothing short of incredible. The former Elite XC middleweight champion returned to the UFC in 2013, 9 years after leaving in 2004 when he lost 3 of his last 4 bouts in the promotion. Lawler first debuted in the UFC as a promising 19 year old welterweight, winning his first 3 consecutive bouts. However that promise would never fully be realized as journeyed through a successful run in Elite XC, before having an inconsistent career in Strikeforce–losing 5 of his 8 bouts. Since rejoining the UFC, Lawler has defeated Josh Koscheck, Bobby Voelker, and Rory MacDonald to earn a chance to fight for the title.

The two fighters have a very similar skill set, with one having an advantage over the other in certain areas. Both are wrestlers who pack incredibly hard punching power that can knockout any fighter in the division with 1 punch. The 2-time NCAA national champion at Oklahoma State, Johny Hendricks would have the clear advantage in the wrestling aspect in this fight, he lands 4.77 takedowns per 15min at a rate of 50%, while defending 61% of takedowns. Lawler on the other hand, does not possess the same wrestling credentials as his opponent, but does have a successful 68% takedown accuracy and a 63% takedown defense–both higher than Hendricks.

When it comes to striking, hold your breath when either lands a big punch because that’s all it takes to change the fight. Lawler, the more experienced fighter–having nearly double the amount of fights than Hendricks, but only being 1 year older–would thought have the better technical striking of the two. Both land about 3 SLpM, surprisingly Johny with a slightly higher accuracy 49%-43%, but Lawler has the better defensive striking stats, 64% striking defense to Hendricks’ 57%.

Despite having the less fight experience, it would seem on paper that Johny Hendricks has the more tools in this fight against Lawler. Lawler has a 86% finishing rate, with 18 career victories coming by way of KO, however Hendricks has never been knocked out in his career. While Hendricks has a 60% finishing rate–including 8 KOs, Lawler has only been knocked out once in his 32 career bouts. Hendricks has only finished a fight out of the 2nd round, once. And Lawler has only finished 3 of his fights outside of the 2nd round. In short, expect this fight to either be finished in the first two rounds, or go to a 5-round decision.

 

MATCHUP:

Johny Hendricks

“BIGG RIGG”

Robbie Lawler

“RUTHLESS”

TALE OF THE TAPE
Wins/Losses/Draws 15-2-0 22-9-0
Average Fight Time 10:20 08:01
Height 5′ 9″ (175 cm) 5′ 11″ (180 cm)
Weight 170 lb. (77 kg) 170 lb. (77 kg)
Reach 69.0″ (175.26 cm) 74.0″ (187.96 cm)
Stance Southpaw Southpaw
Age 30 31
STRIKING (Significant Strikes)
Strikes Landed per Min. (SLpM) 3.14 2.91
Striking Accuracy 49% 43%
Strikes Absorbed per Min. (SApM) 3.21 2.85
Defense 57% 64%
GRAPPLING
Takedowns Average/15 min. 4.77 1.28
Takedown Accuracy 50% 68%
Takedown Defense 61% 63%
Submission Average/15 min. 0.52 0

 

#2 Carlos Condit (29-7) (-185) vs #11 Tyron Woodley (10-2) (+160)

The result of many attempts at getting the UFC’s attention, and pleading for this co-main event fight, Tyron Woodley has earned himself a fight against the #2 welterweight in the division, Carlos Condit. There is a strong possibility that the winner of this fight will face the winner of Hendricks vs Lawler in the next welterweight title fight.

The former UFC interim welterweight champion, Carlos Condit bounced back from back-to-back losses to the champion GSP, and Johny Hendricks, with a 4th round TKO of Martin Kampmann in their rematch at UFC Fight Night 27. Condit is 6-2 in his last 8 fights, only losing to the top 2 fighters in the division. Being currently ranked #2, it would be hard to deny him of another shot at the title if he were to defeat Woodley.

The former Strikeforce title contender, Tyron Woodley has set his sights on UFC gold. Looking to now become a UFC title contender in his 4th bout inside the promotion. A successful product of Strikeforce Challengers, Woodley was an undefeated 10-0 in his career before losing to Nate Marquardt in a Strikeforce welterweight title fight. He then burst onto the scene with a knockout of Jay Hieron in his UFC debut–the first knockout of his career. Woodley lost his 2nd career fight to Jake Shields in a close split decision at UFC 161, he then showcased that vicious knockout power once again in defeating Josh Koscheck at UFC 167. While being ranked at #10, an impressive performance and defeat of the #2, could earn him a shot at the title.

When it comes to these two welterweights, unlike the main event, the styles could not be more different. Condit the tall lanky technical striker against the short powerful wrestler with knockout power in Woodley. The size advantage is noticeable right away with Condit enjoying a 5 inch height advantage, but only a 1-inch reach advantage with the arms (the leg reach is a different story).

When it comes to striking, Condit can strike with the best of them, and has proven it in his 36-fight career, a 3.24 SLpM at 40% accuracy. One may be shocked to find that it is in fact the lesser experienced Woodley, who lands at a higher striking accuracy 57%. Despite the accuracy, Woodley absorbs as many strikes as he lands, a 2.61 : 2.68 ratio. Condit also possesses a higher defense, 58% to Woodley’s 52%.

‘The Natural Born Killer’ is fitting with his nickname, possessing an incredible finishing rate of 93%, Condit will be dangerous wherever this fight takes place. But T-Wood may be the one who decides where the fight will take place. The 2-time NCAA Division I All-American has landed 2 takedowns per 15min at a 42% success rate, while Condit has been able to defend just 41% of his opponent’s takedown attempts.

Condit possesses one of the best chins in MMA, having never been knocked out in his career, he faced one of the hardest punchers in the sport, Johny Hendricks and remained standing absorbing all of Hendricks’ shots. If Tyron continues to fall in love with his striking and attempts to be the first to knockout Condit, he may be playing into Condit’s game. It may take executing a good gameplan from Woodley, but with his wrestling and takedowns, if he chooses, may just be able to pull off the upset against the slight favourite.

 

MATCHUP:

Carlos Condit

“THE NATURAL BORN KILLER”

Tyron Woodley

“THE CHOSEN ONE”

TALE OF THE TAPE
Wins/Losses/Draws 29-7-0 12-2-0
Average Fight Time 12:25 09:33
Height 6′ 2″ (188 cm) 5′ 9″ (175 cm)
Weight 170 lb. (77 kg) 170 lb. (77 kg)
Reach 74.0″ (187.96 cm) 73.0″ (185.42 cm)
Stance Orthodox Orthodox
Age 29 31
STRIKING (Significant Strikes)
Strikes Landed per Min. (SLpM) 3.24 2.61
Striking Accuracy 40% 57%
Strikes Absorbed per Min. (SApM) 2.23 2.68
Defense 58% 52%
GRAPPLING
Takedowns Average/15 min. 0.56 2.1
Takedown Accuracy 50% 42%
Takedown Defense 41% 94%
Submission Average/15 min. 1.37 0.65

 

#6 Jake Shields (29-6-1, 1 NC) (+170) vs #12 Hector Lombard (33-4-1, 1 NC) (-215)

The one welterweight fight that is being overshadowed on this card, is this one between two welterweights who are both flying under the radar in the division. It will be the former Strikeforce champion against the former Bellator champion. It may be a long shot for either to earn a shot at the title with a win here, but it would likely put them 1 fight away from a title shot.

Jake Shields has quietly built himself a strong resume to earn a 2nd title shot in the UFC, having won 4 straight fights (1 turned to a no-contest) since dropping back-to-back UFC bouts, including suffering the knockout loss to Ellenberger. The former Strikeforce middleweight champion has defeated Yoshihiro Akiyama, Ed Herman (NC), Tyron Woodley, and Demian Maia in his last 4 fights. The last two names on the list specifically makes a strong case for the #6 ranked welterweight to fight for the title once again.

Hector Lombard made his welterweight debut a successful one, making quick work of Nate Marquart in a first round knockout. The former Bellator middleweight champion had not looked like his usual self in his first 3 UFC fights, losing 2 of them via split decision at middleweight. Lombard decided to finally make the drop the welterweight for the first time in his career, and although we didn’t see enough of him in a short bout, he did look great for the brief moment he competed.

Both veteran fighters have been around the sport for over 10 years, competing in over 70 fights combined–and are beginning to reaching the end years of their careers at 35 and 36 years old. It seems to be transparent what each fighter’s gameplan will be in this fight. For Shields, he’s going to look to take this fight to the ground against the Olympian Judoka, Lombard, who has defended 75% of takedown attempts in fights recorded by FightMetric. Jake only lands 31% of his takedowns but is relentless in his attempts, landing about 3 takedowns per 15 mins.

While Jake will look to grapple, Lombard will likely be doing the opposite, and plan to keep the fight standing. Lombard has finished 9 of his last 10 victories–8 by ko/tko. In the small sample size of Lombard’s statistics, he has a less than 1:1 ratio when it comes to strikes landed and absorbed, 2:35 : 2:69. Shields however, is great defensively when it comes to striking, absorbing only 1.8 significant strikes per min (SApM) with a 57% striking defense. Lombard possesses the greater striking power, but they both possess around a low 38% striking accuracy.

This fight may likely comedown to another close split decision–which could be decided by as much as a single takedown, as both fighters have a combined 5 of 11 total UFC fights going to a split decision.

MATCHUP:

Hector Lombard

“LIGHTNING”

TALE OF THE TAPE
Wins/Losses/Draws 29-6-1 33-4-1
Average Fight Time 12:03 10:54
Height 6′ 0″ (183 cm) 5′ 9″ (175 cm)
Weight 170 lb. (77 kg) 170 lb. (77 kg)
Reach 72.0″ (182.88 cm) 71.0″ (180.34 cm)
Stance Orthodox Southpaw
Age 35 36
STRIKING (Significant Strikes)
Strikes Landed per Min. (SLpM) 2.59 2.35
Striking Accuracy 38% 39%
Strikes Absorbed per Min. (SApM) 1.8 2.69
Defense 57% 48%
GRAPPLING
Takedowns Average/15 min. 3.01 1.15
Takedown Accuracy 31% 38%
Takedown Defense 43% 75%
Submission Average/15 min. 1.18 0.69

 

#15 Diego Sanchez (24-6) (+125) vs Myles Jury (13-0) (-155)

The first ever ultimate fighter, returns coming off a fight of the year candidate performance in which he lost to Gilbert Melendez, and will be competing in his 20th UFC fight against a young and hungry, undefeated Myles Jury. Jury has made his career on defeating former ultimate fighter competitors, all 3 of his last wins have come against TUF competitors.

Usually, Diego is the one that is chasing for the takedown against his opponent, this time his opponent Jury will be the one looking to get the takedown, landing a high 64% of his attempts compared to Diego who lands 22% of his takedowns, but defends at 52%. Because Jury hasn’t let the fight remain standing for long, he possesses a very high striking defense, 78%, absorbing just 1 sig strike per minute.

Diego is 2-2 in his last 4 fights, but upon further look, he could’ve likely been 0-4–with the two wins being controversial decisions over Takanori Gomi and Martin Kampmann, both many felt he had lost.

 

Ovince St. Preux (14-5) (-400) vs Nikita Krylov (16-3) (+310)

Finally, the opener to the main card is a surprising one, featuring two of the lesser known fighters on the card, Ovince St. Preux, better known as OSP was originally scheduled to fight Thiago Silva before that whole incident occurred. The UFC then needed a replacement, and just like he stepped in when prohibition occurred in the 1920s, Al Capone came to the rescue. The Ukrainian , Nikita Krylov, nicknamed Al Capone, will be making his light heavyweight debut coming off his first UFC victory a knockout victory of Walt Harris at UFC on FOX 10.

OSP is a huge favourite in this fight, and for good reason. He is on a 3-fight winning streak, dating back to Strikeforce, losing just 1 of his last 12 fights. Being a predominant wrestler, OSP has landed 60% of his takedown attempts, while Nikita Krylov was unable to defend all 4 of Soa Palelei’s takedown attempts in his debut.

 

The UFC 171 preliminary fights features the undefeated TUF 17 winner, Kelvin Gastelum in his toughest test to date against Rick Story, who has been alternating wins and loses in his last 6 fights. Bantamweight Dennis Bermudez who continues to fly under the UFC’s radar, going for his 6th straight victory against grappling stud, Jimy Hettes. Also the return of a highly touted prospect of out Tristar, Alex Garcia against Sean Spencer, going for a 3rd straight win in the UFC. One more fight to highlight on the prelims, the return of Justin Scoggins, a promising undefeated 21 year old flyweight fighting out of American Top Team, takes on veteran Will Campuzano.

Preliminary Card (8 PM EST, UFC on FOX Sports 2)

Kelvin Gastelum (7-0) vs. Rick Story (16-7)
Jessica Andrade (10-3) vs. Raquel Pennington (4-3)
Dennis Bermudez (12-3) vs. Jimy Hettes (11-1)
Alex Garcia (11-1) vs. Sean Spencer (11-2)
 
Preliminary Card (UFC Fight Pass, 6 PM EST)
Renee Forte (8-3) vs. Frank Trevino (11-0)
Will Campuzano (13-5) vs. Justin Scoggins (8-0)
Robert McDaniel (21-7) vs. Sean Strickland (13-0)
Daniel Pineda (18-10) vs. Robert Whiteford (10-2)

 

Statistics courtesy of FightMetric

Odds courtesy BestFightOdds

 

 

Tags: Alex Garcia Carlos Condit Daniel Pineda Dennis Bermudez Diego Sanchez Frank Trevino Hector Lombard Jake Shields Jessica Andrade Jimy Hettes Johny Hendricks Justin Scoggins Kelvin Gastelum MMA Myles Jury Nikita Krylov Ovince St. Preux Raquel Pennington Renee Forte Rick Story Robbie Lawler Robert Mcdaniel Robert Whiteford Sean Spencer Sean Strickland Tyron Woodley UFC UFC 171 Will Campuzano

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