There will be a new welterweight champion crowned at UFC 171 after an almost six-year reign by the legendary George St. Pierre but which fighter, Johny Hendricks or Robbie Lawler, gives us the greatest chance to cash in our UFC picks?

Free UFC Picks: Carlos Condit vs. Tyron Woodley UFC 171

Johny Hendricks (15-2, 8 KO's, 1 Sub) -

There are more than a few UFC fans that believe Johny Hendricks should be defending the UFC Welterweight title as opposed to fighting for it - again. When Hendricks enters the Octagon on March 15th it will be almost four months ago to the day that he battled the seemingly invincible George St. Pierre to a split decision loss that crushed the spirits and the bankrolls of all who backed Bigg Rigg as a 2-to-1 underdog in UFC odds.

Hendricks gave as well as he got from GSP and proved that he can bang with the very best, take a series of world class shots and still maintain his relentless pace. Hendricks has transformed from a highly skilled wrestler to a rocket launcher with bone busting power. The bearded southpaw and four-time All-American wrestling product out of Oklahoma State had reeled off six consecutive victories before his gut wrenching loss to George St. Pierre. And he wasn't knocking down tomato cans either.  After coming out on the losing end of a unanimous decision to Rick Story in the first defeat of his career, Hendricks embarked on a perilous journey through some very tough dudes at 170 pounds. 

Image previewHendricks proceeded to starch TJ Waldburger, Jon Fitch and the very talented Martin Kampmann while earning decisions over Mike Pierce, Josh Koscheck and then bagged the biggest win of his career when all three judges awarded him the victory on points over a game but overmatched Carlos Condit. Yet it was his last bout that proved to be bittersweet as he lost to a champion but now has the opportunity to become one - again.

Robbie Lawler (22-9, 18 KO's 1 Sub)

Robbie Lawler is only 31-years-old but it feels like he's been around since Carlos Newton ruled the UFC welterweight division. Well, the truth be told is that Robbie Lawler already had a win under his belt when Newton wore the UFC Welterweight strap back in 2001.  Yes, Lawler has plenty of wear on his treads but those tires are still rolling over the opposition. 

Lawler emigrated from Strikeforce and has three victories under his belt since he re-entered the UFC after a nine-year absence.  Ruthless TKO'ed Josh Koscheck and then turned the lights out on another Strikeforce refugee in Bobby Voelker before gaining a split decision over the young and supremely talented Rory MacDonald.  But the conflicting piece of this puzzle is that Lawler had dropped three of his last four fights before entering the UFC as a member of Strikeforce before they folded their tent. The question is which Robbie Lawler will show up on March 15th in Dallas?

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Free UFC Pick:

The UFC odds have spiked in favor of Johny Hendricks as the betting public believes this fight to be more of a coronation rather than a championship fight. As of this writing, Hendricks has soared in some offshore betting shops from a 3-to-1 favorite to 4-to-1 betting chalk.

It's no surprise that Hendricks has become a prohibitive favorite in UFC odds as this one approaches. He's got the same devastating power as Lawler but will own his opponent once the fight inevitably hits the mat. While neither fighter is a submission threat, Hendricks is like a black hole once the fight hits the floor. He will suck the life out of you even if he doesn't submit you.

Lawler's only clear advantage is his ability to land those wicked kicks and knees that he is fond of throwing. Other than that, the advantage goes to Hendricks in every other aspect with a draw in terms of punching power. While both fighters have the brute force to end this fight suddenly and violently, it should be noted that they are also equally capable of withstanding ferocious beatings.

UFC Picks: Hendricks -400 in a parlay at Bet365.com