On Saturday, December 6th the UFC held UFC 181: Hendricks vs. Lawler II from the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.

In the night’s main event we saw a rematch of one of the best fights of 2014 when Johnny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler clashed for the second time for the welterweight title. In March, Hendricks defeated Lawler to win the vacant title in a fight that literally came down to the final minute of the last round. The fight was seemingly tied at two rounds a piece leading into the final round and after an even round, Hendricks landed a timely takedown in the final moments. The look on Lawler’s face after he got taken down told the story. The veteran welterweight had let the title slip through his grasp.

Hendricks was injured in that fight and hadn’t fought since. Lawyer however got right back in the cage. He knocked out Jake Ellenberger in May and won a decision over Matt Brown in July to earn the rematch against Hendricks.

The welterweight title fight wasn’t the only one on the card Saturday. Anthony Pettis defended his lightweight title for the first time against number one contender, Gilbert Melendez. Pettis was long considered one of the biggest rising stars in the sport and that potential was finally realized last August when he defeated Benson Henderson to become the lightweight champion.

Pettis took time off after that fight due to an injury and is now making his first title defense because of his coaching duties on the current season of The Ultimate Fighter opposite Melendez. Melendez only had two fights inside the octagon. His debut was a close decision loss to then champion, Henderson. Melendez followed that loss with a decision victory over Diego Sanchez in one of the best fights in the division history.

Those two title fights were only part of a very stacked card. Travis Browne returned for the first time in eight months against Brendan Schaub on the pay-per-view card and Urijah Faber faced Fransisco Rivera in preliminary action. The pay-per-view card kicked off at 10 p.m. ET the preliminary action preceded that on both Fox Sports 1 and UFC Fight Pass beginning at 7 p.m. ET.

Anthony Pettis vs. Gilbert Melendez—UFC lightweight title fight

Round 1: Melendez rushed across the cage right out of the gate and looked for the takedown. Melendez held on to the back of the champion searching for the takedown. Melendez then drilled hooks to the body of Pettis after he was unable to secure the takedown. Melendez really put the pressure to the champ who seemed to get a little frustrated with two minutes left in the round. Pettis managed to get off a couple of kicks before getting tied up by Melendez once again. Melendez seemed to get the better of the striking in the middle of the cage while Pettis threw the flashier strikes. 10-9 Melendez

Round 2: Melendez continued his nonstop pressure and landing good strikes. Pettis managed to land a good counterpunch that made Melendez think about taking the fight to the mat. Pettis nailed Melendez with a punch and Melendez went for another takedown. Melendez left his neck out hanging, Pettis sunk in a guillotine choke, and Pettis retained his title via submission.

  • Robbie Lawler def. Johny Hendricks by unanimous decision (48-47, 47-48, 49-46) – Wins UFC Welterweight Title
  • Anthony Pettis def. Gilbert Melendez via submission (guillotine choke) Round 2, 1:53 – Retains UFC Lightweight Title
  • Travis Browne def. Brendan Schaub via TKO (strikes) Round 1, 4:50
  • Todd Duffee def. Anthony Hamilton via TKO (strikes) Round 1, :33
  • Tony Ferguson def. Abel Trujilo via submission (rear-naked choke) Round 2, 4:19
  • Urijah Faber def. Fransisco Rivera via submission (bulldog choke) Round 2, 1:34
  • Josh Samman def. Eddie Gordon via knockout (head kick) Round 2, 3:08
  • Corey Anderson def. Justin Jones via unanimous decision (30-27 x 2, 30-26)
  • Raquel Pennington def. Ashlee Evans-Smith via submission (bulldog choke) Round 1, 4:59
  • Sergio Pettis def. Matt Hobar by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
  • Clay Collard def. Alex White by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

About The Author

News Manager

José began his career as a mixed martial arts journalist while still enrolled at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Arizona State University. Since graduating in May 2013, he has attended dozens of high profile UFC fight cards as a credentialed member of the media, providing live cage side coverage through his articles and videos. His work has appeared on UFC.com, ArizonaSports.com and AZCentral. He is also currently one of the main contributors on Power MMA Show at Arizona Sports 98.7 FM, one of the first all MMA radio shows on a major radio station.