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Posts Tagged ‘Welterweight’

In an announcement that may pave the way for a blockbusting rubber match next year, UFC welterweight contender Rory MacDonald confirmed Wednesday that he is not the next challenger for new champion Robbie Lawler.

The news came via broadcaster Ariel Helwani on UFC Tonight, which airs on Fox Sports 1, and was later also reported by Damon Martin of Fox Sports

According to Helwani, though, MacDonald is not shedding many tears over the decision, at least not publicly:

It was widely thought that MacDonald (18-2), a winner of his last three and the No. 2 welterweight in the UFC’s official rankings, was the only fighter who made sense as Lawler‘s first challenger. The only fighter, that is, except for Johny Hendricks, who was himself the champion until Dec. 6, when Lawler narrowly bested him at UFC 181. 

The No. 1 contender in the current UFC welterweight rankings, Hendricks (16-3) originally captured the belt himself in March—after it had been vacated by Georges St-Pierre following his semi-retirement in late 2013—at UFC 171 when he earned a close decision win of his own over Lawler. That fight has already been hailed by media members as the best MMA fight of 2014.

After Lawler (25-10-1) returned the favor at UFC 181, Hendricks and MacDonald were the two clear contender choices. Lawler and MacDonald also previously fought, with Lawler taking a split decision over MacDonald in November 2013 

Shortly after the news broke that MacDonald would not get the title shot, Hendricks sent a rather telling tweet, complete with a telling winky-face emoticon:

Lawler said on The MMA Hour (h/t MMAFigting.com‘s Chuck Mindenhall) he would prefer to fight next during Memorial Day weekend 2015. That just happens to be a prime weekend for big-time UFC main events, and Lawler-Hendricks would fill that need pretty neatly.

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Report: Welterweight contender Rory MacDonald has UFC title shot revoked
Following MacDonald's (18-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC) TKO of Tarec Saffiedine at UFC Fight Night 54 in October, UFC President Dana White announced the Canadian would face the winner of the Robbie Lawler (25-10 MMA, 10-4 UFC) vs. Johny Hendricks (16-3 …
Rory MacDonald has been told he won't get next welterweight title shotMMA Fighting
UFC decides not to give Rory MacDonald the next welterweight title shotBloody Elbow

all 11 news articles »

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Approximately two months ago, UFC President Dana White said that Rory MacDonald was the logical No. 1 contender in the welterweight division.

View full post on Recent News on Sherdog.com

A welterweight pairing between Alan Jouban and Richard Walsh has been added to UFC 184 on Feb. 28.

View full post on Recent News on Sherdog.com

Jon Fitch believes he is at his peak ahead of his WSOF 16 title fight with Rousimar Palhares.

View full post on Recent News on Sherdog.com

It’s not just for Power Rangers any more. 

Real, honest-to-goodness UFC fighters are now positioning themselves as the first opponent for CM Punk, the former WWE wrestler who announced last Saturday he will try pro MMA in the UFC Octagon.

That fighter? One Cathal Pendred, the welterweight/middleweight of The Ultimate Fighter 19 fame, who sent a tweet Wednesday morning strongly suggesting he has been selected as Punk’s first UFC opponent:

Is Pendred just trolling his fans and followers? Is he just telling a funny joke to lighten the mood on a Wednesday morning? Is he using the power of suggestion to create a buzz for himself? Or is there something really going on here?

Surely there are plenty of reasons—money, notoriety, pride in defending your profession from untested tourists—why a fighter would want to take on someone like CM Punk, whose real name is Phil Brooks. As such, Pendred‘s claim should be taken with a grain or seven of salt. Still, the strong words are interesting, and the fight makes at least a little bit of sense given Pendred‘s popularity, especially in his native Ireland, and the fact that he, despite his record, is a relatively beatable opponent.

The UFC hasn’t said much about Punk’s first fight. It has slated the fight for some time in 2015. Punk said Saturday he will try a test weight cut soon and then determine whether he will fight at middleweight or welterweight.

Though mainly a welterweight, Pendred fought at 185 pounds on TUF, so he is no stranger to either division. 

Additionally, UFC honcho Dana White has said the promotion would match Punk with “a guy who is 1-0, 1-1, 2-1, something like that.” 

Pendred (15-2) would not appear to fit that bill. As such, the UFC may have a hard time convincing a self-respecting athletic commission that a fight between Pendred and the 0-0 Punk would be a safe thing to do.

There is also the small matter of fact that Pendred currently has an opponent lined up: Sean Spencer, who Pendred will fight in January.

Pendred also knows a thing or two about self-promotion, training at SBG Ireland alongside featherweight phenom and reigning UFC hype king, Conor McGregor.

Either way, Pendred‘s challenge is a step up from that of guys like Jason David Frank, the actor who played the green power ranger on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and offered to face Punk early this week.

So is it likely to happen? Who knows. Stranger things have happened, and such concrete claims usually don’t materialize—on social media or anywhere else—unless there’s a clear line of thinking behind them.

Scott Harris covers the serious and less-serious aspects of MMA for Bleacher Report. For more of both, you are hereby invited to follow Scott on Twitter.

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Jake Shields will look to attain his second win in as many fights under the World Series of Fighting banner against Brian Foster at WSOF 17 on Jan. 17.

View full post on Recent News on Sherdog.com

UFC 181 hosted a rematch of one of the best welterweight fights in the promotion’s history, and while the results weren’t quite as electric the second time around, Johny “Bigg Rigg” Hendricks and the ultimately victorious “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler put on a solid show inside the Octagon. 

In the first 60 seconds of the fight, Lawler was possessed. He was out for blood. He swung crisp hooks and flying knees, he pushed forward and would not ease up on the throttle until Hendricks was unconscious.

Unfortunately for him, Hendricks withstood the early barrage, hung tough and returned fire with some solid strikes and a late takedown to end the round. 

From there, the champ took over. 

In Rounds 2 through 5, Hendricks proved too much for Ruthless, taking over with his combinations, leg kicks and wrestling and showcasing his worth to the judges cageside. Save the final 30 seconds of the fight, when Lawler entered full-on berserker mode again, Hendricks was the aggressor and he controlled the action inside the cage. 

But guess what, friends! Judges in MMA aren’t perfect.


What We’ll Remember About This Fight

We’ll remember the decision! 

Robbie Lawler won a split decision (48-47 on one card, 49-46 on another) over Johny Hendricks, capturing the UFC welterweight title and finalizing his improbable and incredible ascent to the top of the 170-pound division. 

In July of 2012, Lawler lost to Lorenz Larkin in Strikeforce, via lopsided unanimous decision, and his career looked all but done. 

Now he’s the UFC’s welterweight king. 

This sport is crazy, and UFC 181’s main event highlighted that fact. Fights are unpredictable. The fighters themselves sometimes traverse unpredictable career paths. 

And judges are unpredictable too. A scorecard of 48-47 for Lawler is shaky to me (but passable), but 49-46? Nope. No way. 

Hendricks seemed to clearly win Round 2, Round 3 and Round 4 (and possibly Round 1), but here we are. Lawler is the champion, and it’s still really cool to see him with that golden symbol of victory strapped around his waist.

MMA, ladies and gentleman. Just when you think you know this sport, you get a night like this. 


What We Learned About Hendricks

Johny Hendricks showcased an evolved stand-up game in his rematch with Lawler. 

In Round 2, Hendricks started to piece together nice combinations he ended with hard leg kicks, and his striking looked more fluid and diverse overall. 

Add in his established wrestling attack—he scored five takedowns in the first four rounds, compared to just two total takedowns during their UFC 171 affair—and Hendricks is obviously a well-rounded, high-level mixed martial artist.

We already knew that, but we saw a slight upgrade over his previous self at UFC 181. 


What We Learned About Lawler

You can’t count out Lawler. You just can’t. 

If you told me (or any MMA fan/critic/analyst) in 2012 that Ruthless would be the UFC’s welterweight champion in December of 2014, you’d be greeted with a laugh and perhaps a smack in the face. 

That’s nonsense. That just wouldn’t happen.

But it did. 

Lawler stayed in the fight, avoided Hendricks’ most powerful strikes and poured it out in bursts to overwhelm Hendricks for 30 to 60 seconds at a time, getting the crowd involved and revving up the pulses of fans nationwide.

We already knew Lawler was tough, we already knew he was a fierce competitor and we already knew he was a legitimate welterweight contender.

Tonight, though, we learned Lawler is a champion. He finally did it. 


What’s Next for Hendricks? 

A trilogy fight with Lawler wouldn’t be unreasonable, given the nature of this decision, but I don’t see it happening. 

Hendricks’ run at the top wasn’t long enough—this was his first title defense—and the welterweight division is only getting more and more confusing and stacked by the day. 

Instead of matching up Hendricks with Lawler again, send him back down the ladder and give him the winner of the UFC Fight Night 60 main event between Matt Brown and Tarec Saffiedine. 

It’s rare for the UFC to match up a fighter coming off a loss with a fighter coming off a win, but Hendricks’ stock isn’t plummeting by any means, and the winner of Brown vs. Saffiedine won’t have a claim for the title and need at least one more win to capture a shot at UFC gold.

Keep the division moving and let one of them provewithout questionthey deserve the title shot. 


What’s Next for Lawler? 

Barring a Hendricks trilogy, Rory MacDonald is next for Lawler. 

The fight has already been announced (h/t MMAjunkie.com) and still makes sense. Canadian superstar MacDonald earned his shot at the UFC title in what will be a rematch with Lawler. 

MacDonald previously lost to Lawler at UFC 167 in November of 2013, but he’s won three straight fights since then and, as UFC 181 showed us, rematches don’t always produce identical results. 

It’s fixing to be a great fight in the UFC’s welterweight division, and the 25-year-old TriStar Gym product might just slam the cover on Lawler’s Cinderella story before we even get to the second chapter.

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Robbie Lawler dethrones Johny Hendricks, captures welterweight championship in UFC 181 main event on Saturday in Las Vegas.

View full post on Recent News on Sherdog.com

Marc Laimon, Johny Hendricks’ head coach, discusses Hendricks’ UFC welterweight title rematch against Robbie Lawler.

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