For the first time in six years, the welterweight title would change waists for the first time. Lawler and Hendricks stood toe-to-toe for the entirety of their 25 minute battle and put their striking skills on display for everyone to see. In the end, it all boiled down to the last round. The first two rounds went to Hendricks, the third and fourth went to Lawler, and the last round was edged by Hendricks.
Throughout the beginning of the first two rounds, Hendricks established his low kick early on and stayed in Lawler’s face. While Hendricks was unable to secure any takedowns, he pushed forward with attempts and kept Lawler from finding his rhythm. Eventually, Hendricks began to turn up the tempo and really start cracking Lawler as they engaged eachother with vicious punching combinations. Hendricks landed often, albeit not with full-out power, but Lawler kept in the game with powerful counters that kept Hendricks at bay from pushing forward too much.
Then, the tide turned in the third round. A vicious counter left from Lawler put Hendricks on loopy-street for a majority of the round. Hendricks hung tough as Lawler poured it on him and managed to stay on his wobbly feet, and went back to his attack on Lawler’s leg. The next round would prove to be more of the same Lawler cracked Hendricks with more big shots that looked to steal momentum. Although Hendricks scored a last second takedown, Lawler looked to be on his way to taking the belt. Hendricks’s right eye was leaking blood and Lawler’s defense finally appeared to be finding Hendricks’s rhythm.
With that, it all boiled down to the fifth round. Lawler came out and lit Hendricks up with more counter as Hendricks desperately tried to move forward. However, Hendricks got right back in the fight as he stunned Lawler with his left hand and just like Hendricks was arguably out-on-his-feet in the second, Lawler looked to be one punch away from collapsing. That’s when Hendricks secured the single-most important takedown of his career and put the final mark on his unanimous decision victory that earned him his UFC Welterweight Title.