Even Ultimate Fighting Championship title fights are bigger in Texas! Having been narrowly defeated by Georges St-Pierre in one of the most controversial decisions in UFC history, Johny Hendricks returns to face hard-hitting Robbie Lawler for the UFC welterweight championship. After a five-year reign that saw Georges St-Pierre atop the welterweight division, the champion relinquished the belt, electing to take personal time away from competition. Now the top fighters in the division square off and a new champion will be crowned at the American Airlines Center on Saturday, March 15.
Currently on a three-fight win streak that includes a unanimous decision win over St-Pierre training partner Rory MacDonald (No. 3), Robbie Lawler (22-9, 1 NC, fighting out of Coconut Creek, Fla.) looks to cap off his remarkable UFC comeback with a victory over Hendricks. Vowing to return for the title, Dallas’ own (No. 1) Johny Hendricks (15-2, fighting out of Dallas), holds key victories over Jon Fitch (Knockout of the Night), Josh Koscheck, Martin Kampmann (Knockout of the Night) and Carlos Condit (Fight of the Night). Now he plans to take the belt that many believe he already earned on his home turf with friends and family in attendance.
In addition, former interim welterweight champion (No. 2) Carlos Condit (29-7, fighting out of Albuquerque, N.M.) battles explosive wrestler (No.11) Tyron Woodley (12-2, fighting out of St. Louis, Mo.). Fresh off a TKO win over Martin Kampmann, for which he earned his third consecutive Fight of the Night honor, Condit looks to stall the momentum of a two-time Div. I All-American wrestler in Woodley. After securing wins over Tarec Saffiedine, Jay Hieron, and Josh Koscheck (Knockout of the Night) Woodley knows that a win over Condit will secure him a place atop the welterweight rankings and put him one step closer to a shot at the title.
Also, The Ultimate Fighter season 1 winner (No. 15) Diego Sanchez (26-6, fighting out of Albuquerque, N.M.) meets unbeaten lightweight Myles Jury (13-0, fighting out of San Diego, Calif.). After narrowly losing a 2013 “Fight of the Year” effort to former Strikeforce champion, Gilbert Melendez, Sanchez seeks a return to winning form. Jury knows a marquee victory over fan favorite Sanchez, is his ticket to the lightweight division’s top 15.
Other bouts for UFC 171 include:
- Seventh-ranked welterweight Jake Shields (29-6-1, 1 NC) vs. heavy-handed 13th-ranked contender Hector Lombard (33-4-1, 1 NC).
- Explosive light heavyweight Thiago Silva (16-3-0, 2 NC) vs. heavy-handed Ovince St. Preux (14-5).
- The Ultimate Fighter 17 winner Kelvin Gastelum (8-0) vs. 15th-ranked welterweight contender Rick Story (16-7).
- The Ultimate Fighter 18 winner Julianna Pena (6-2) vs. ninth-ranked bantamweight contender Jessica Andrade (10-3).
- 13th-ranked featherweight Dennis Bermudez (13-3) vs. submission specialist Jimmy Hettes (11-1).
- Dallas’ own Sean Spencer (11-2) vs. Montreal’s Alex Garcia (11-1) in a welterweight duel.
- Also fighting out of Dallas, flyweight Will Campuzano (13-5) vs. Darrell Montague (13-3).
- A middleweight bout between The Ultimate Fighter 17 alumni Bubba McDaniel (21-7) and Sweden’s Tor Troeng (16-5-1).
Tickets for UFC 171: HENDRICKS vs. LAWLER, presented by METRO PCS, go on sale Friday, Jan. 17 at 10 a.m. CT and are priced at $350, $250, $150, $100, $75 and $50. Tickets are available for purchase at www.ticketmaster.com. Ticket sales are limited to eight (8) per person. To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000. Tickets are also available at the American Airlines Center box office. Ticket prices do not include applicable service charges.
UFC Fight Club members will have the opportunity to purchase tickets to this event Wednesday, Jan. 15 at 10 a.m. CT via the website www.ufcfightclub.com. A special Internet ticket pre-sale will be available to UFC newsletter subscribers Thursday, Jan. 16 starting at 10 a.m. CT. To access this presale, users must register for the UFC newsletter through UFC.com.