BY: TIM MUTOHFAN
We start our recap with the bantamweight fight that was aired on the UFC Fight Pass prelims, between Sergio Pettis and Matt Hobar. Coming into this fight it looked like a classic striker vs. grappler affair, but after getting dropped twice in the first round it was rather obvious Sergio Pettis was in for a tough night. Hobar’s superior grappling also showed up when he put Pettis on his back once in each of the first and second round, but Pettis was able to right the ship and find his rythem with his strikes to win an impressive unanimous decision.
Winner: Sergio Pettis UD
Next we move to the women’s bantamweight division fight between Raquel Pennington and Ashlee Evans-Smith. Ashlee Evans-Smith came out like a house on fire in her UFC debut, pressuring Pennington and knocking her around. “Rocky” was able to keep her head and secure a late takedown and not only secure Evans-Smith’s back but also sink in a nasty and deep Bulldog Choke and turn out Ashlee’s lights for the Technical Submission win.
Winner: Raquel Pennington Technical Submission (Bulldog Choke) R1 4:59
The bantamweight matchup between Uriah Faber and Francisco Rivera started out as what looked like an evenly fought match, despite the fight itself being removed from the betting book because of what a one sided fight it was expected to be. But, Rivera came to fight and made a very good accounting for himself, out throwing and out landing the heavily favored #3 bantamweight in the world. Then the unfortunate happened and errant eye poke which sent Rivera reeling and Faber pounced and locked in the second Bulldog Choke of the night for the submission victory.
Winner: Uriah Faber Submission (Bulldog Choke) R2 1:43
The main card opened with lightweights Tony Ferguson and Abel Trujillo. Trujillo came out fast, looking to blast Tony Ferguson out of there. But, Ferguson held strong and made it out of round 1. Coming out in round 2 Trujillo was obviously slowing down, allowing Ferguson to get 2 takedowns the second of which allowed Tony to lock in the fight winning Rear Naked choke.
Winner: Ferguson Submission (Rear Naked Choke) R2 4:19
Heavyweight Pat Duffee returned to the Octagon to KO Anthony Hamilton 33 seconds into the first round.
In the second heavyweight fight of the night saw Travis Browne vs. Brendan Schaub. It wasn’t much of a fight as Travis Browne showed his contender form against an outgunned Schaub, landing a vicious uppercut, ensuing ground and pound to taking Schaub’s back and finishing him off with some strikes leading to the TKO victory.
Winner: Browne TKO R1 4:50
For the co-main event we had the UFC lightweight title fight between champion Anthony Pettis and challenger Gilbert Melendez. Melendez’s game plan was pretty apparent from the get go, pressure Pettis and don’t give him space to get off his brutal kicks. He was effective early on in round 1, landing some heavy strikes, pressing Pettis against the cage and securing one takedown. But as the round progressed Pettis was able to find his timing and footwork to avoid those pitfalls occasionally. Still Melendez was able to press forward and make a dogfight out of it, which too many was his best chance to win the fight and the title.
The second round started and Gilbert’s effort and plan didn’t change, pressure, pressure and more pressure. What did change though was Pettis was ready, he made adjustments, used superior footwork, head movement and timing. When Melendez threw a punch Pettis wasn’t there. When Melendez was able to get Pettis cornered, it was Pettis who won the exchanges, landing some solid shots on Gilbert’s chin. An early failed takedown attempt by Melendez was capitalized on by Pettis as he secured a Guillotine Choke, Melendez was able to resist, but Pettis reversed the position to a Mounted Guillotine and getting the submission win.
Winner: Pettis Submission (Guillotine Choke) Round 2 1:53
To the main event and rematch for the UFC welterweight title, as Johny Hendricks faced Robbie Lawler. Lawler came out with something to prove, he was very active. He most likely realized his passivity in the opening two rounds of the first fight cost him the title. Strong knees from the clinch were the telling moments for Lawler early in round one, which were slowed considerably when Hendricks pressed Lawler against the fence which lead to a takedown. When they finally separated Hendricks got his striking going landing jabs and a few strong leg kicks.
The second and third round saw Hendricks winning big on the strength of striking variety, throwing sharp punches and nice leg kicks and brutalized Lawler’s legs when clinched against the cage.
The fourth round was a much slower pace, which was set by Johny Hendricks. Striking lead to more cage clinching and a takedown, and add in a Guillotine Choke at the end for good measure as the horn sounds.
The fifth and final round was an interesting one. Both men were looking to put a stamp on things. Hendricks came out exhausted; he clearly lost the zip on his punches and resorted to clinching along the fence. Lawler who was clearly the fresher of the two combatants came out looking to end things, and came rather close to doing just that. He landed nasty punches from the sprawl position to Hendricks’s head, nasty elbows to the body, and finished the fight with a flurry that closed out the round and the fight.
Winner: Lawler Split Decision.
UFC 181: Hendricks vs. Lawler 2 results
Welterweight Championship: Robbie Lawler def. Johny Hendricks split decision
Lightweight Championship: Anthony Pettis def. Gilbert Melendez submission (guillotine choke) 1:53 R2
Heavyweight: Travis Browne def. Brendan Schaub TKO 4:50 R1
Heavyweight: Todd Duffee def. Anthony Hamilton KO 0:33 R1
Lightweight: Tony Ferguson def. Abel Trujillo submission (rear naked choke) 4:19 R2
Bantamweight: Urijah Faber def. Francisco Rivera submission (bulldog choke) 1:34 R2
Middleweight: Josh Samman def. Eddie Gordon KO 3:08 R2
Light Heavyweight: Corey Anderson def. Justin Jones dec.
Women’s Bantamweight: Raquel Pennington def. Ashlee Evans-Smith technical submission
(bulldog choke) 4:59 R1
Bantamweight: Sergio Pettis def. Matt Hobar dec.
Featherweight: Clay Collard def. Alex White dec.
Performance of the Night Bonuses
Fight of the Night: Sergio Pettis vs. Matt Hobar
Performance of the Night: Anthony Pettis and Josh Samman