UFC 181 Odds Favor Lawler Over Hendricks in Rematch

Swinging Johnson

Tuesday, November 18, 2014 6:09 PM UTC

Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014 6:09 PM UTC

Here we break down the welterweight title rematch slated for UFC 181 between the champ Johny Hendricks and top contender Robbie Lawler.  But what has changed, how has each fighter improved and how can we use this to our benefit when placing our UFC picks

Hendricks New Strategy
Johny Hendricks may have retained his belt but from the looks of his face at the post fight press conference it appeared as though something of more importance was at stake…like his life. Hendricks won a controversial split decision over Lawler but winning by the thinnest of margins will be a recipe he will have to improve upon if he is to guarantee victory on December 6th when he faces his most fearsome adversary to date. Yes, that includes GSP whom he narrowly lost to but exited the Octagon not nearly as damaged as he was at the end of his title tilt with Lawler.

Hendricks could not do to Lawler what he wanted to do and that is securing takedowns early and often. While Hendricks was able to get Lawler to the mat at times he was far from perfect. Lawler’s takedown defense was employed right from the start and his frenetic punching and counterpunching put Hendricks on guard and on the defense. It was in the third round that Lawler caught fire and almost finished Hendricks but the champion weathered the furious storm and Lawler began to fade in the fifth and final round which allowed Hendricks to take him to the mat and gain control until the bell rang.

At UFC 181, Hendricks will need to be more aware of Lawler’s vastly improved takedown defense and straighten him out with timely kicks and strikes. He will also have to catch Lawler moving in and out of the pocket, timing his attack as Lawler is moving backwards. The champ now understands Lawler will only be taken to the mat when he’s out of gas or unless Hendricks expands upon his already superior grappling game. If he does, then Hendricks may be the choice to back.

Shop for & Compare the Best UFC 181 Betting Odds

Lawler’s Game Plan
If Robbie Lawler is to defy the UFC odds and all the naysayers who believe this latest test of wills is going to be a replay of their first match then he will have to save some gas in the tank for the championship rounds. Lawler was relentless in the third round and in most of the fourth round but he clearly faded when it counted and by the fifth round he was gassed and smothered by Hendricks.

However, Lawler’s team must be careful not to throw the baby out with the bath water. He did an impeccable job of landing furious strikes and opened Hendricks up with a withering assault that tested the champion’s will to survive. He must be cognizant of Hendrick’s ability to throw and land big kicks as well as looping lefts that caught him throughout their match. His takedown defense was immense but certainly Hendricks is working out some new tricks to throw at Lawler which will bring the fight to the canvas and into the champ’s world.

UFC 181 Lawler vs. Hendricks Main Card Preview

How Goes the Rematch?
Clearly the betting public has a new found respect for Ruthless Robbie Lawler, as the champ opened up as a 4-1 favorite at UFC 171 but is now no longer the prohibitive favorite in this second go-round. The latest UFC odds at 5Dimes.com have Johny Hendricks slightly above 2-1, which speaks volumes about Lawler’s previous performance.

There were times in their first match when Lawler would have finished virtually any other welterweight in the world but Hendricks. He will need to be far more cautious of his propensity to throw furiously and without regard to future rounds. This will be another war of attrition as Lawler will no doubt be in even better cardio shape to maintain his Gatling gun attack. If I’m betting this one, I look at this as a coin flip, but the UFC odds will be attracting me to the fighter with a far bigger return on my investment, and that fighter is Robbie Lawler.

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