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ufc 181

It took a few extra months, but Anthony Pettis finally made his first successful title defense Saturday night at UFC 181, besting Gilbert Melendez and retaining the lightweight belt.

Now, “Showtime” will look to continue his climb to becoming the best.

“I saw the division develop over the last year,” said Pettis, during the post-fight show on FOX Sports 1. “(Benson) Henderson losing, (Rafael) dos Anjos winning. But all these guys have fights coming up.

“Khabib (Nurmagomedov) is injured, but he could be next. I’m not afraid of anyone. Melendez is No. 1 in the world and I beat him in two rounds, so I’m ready for Khabib if he’s next.”

The submission win over Melendez was the first stoppage loss in his career and the third in the last four for Pettis. He’s now defeated the likes of Henderson and Donald Cerrone.

Last year, Pettis submitted Henderson to win the title and was scheduled to compete, but a knee injury knocked him out for several months. He also spent time on the sidelines coaching The Ultimate Fighter opposite Melendez.

“The last 15 months was hard because of the surgery,” he said. “It was tough. When I’m healthy, no one can beat me.”

ufc 181

Robbie Lawler had to wait and listen to the scorecards be read off before he could celebrate Saturday night at UFC 181. That’s not how he wanted it to happen.

Lawler became the welterweight champion, scoring a split decision over Johny Hendricks in the main event. He talked about his plan going in during the post-fight show on FOX Sports 1.

“I though I was going to dominate and knock him out, but he’s tough and it was a hell of a fight once again,” he said. “The plan was to get out there and beat him up, stuff his takedowns and make him pay.

“I did a good job creating damage, dirty boxing and beating him up. I feel like I won it.”

Lawler admitted that in the first meeting – a win by Hendricks – that he let the fight get away from him. He wasn’t about to let that happen this time around.

“That’s what happened last time. He finished a lot stronger at the end and got the victory, and I wanted to finish him and I really tried to beat him up at the end,” Lawler said. “I wanted to be the better guy at the end.”

The 32-year-old has won three straight now since the loss to Hendricks and is 6-1 overall in his last seven fights. Along with his win over Hendricks, he’s also defeated Matt Brown, Jake Ellenberger, Rory MacDonald and Josh Koscheck.

For Lawler, this was a culmination in a long process that dates back to his first run with the promotion.

“I really had to dig deep. It didn’t just happen (Saturday), it was a lot of years of hard work in the gym and it paid off,” he said. “This is awesome. There’s a lot of people behind me. This isn’t just about me. ATT was behind me the whole way. I’ve been there for two years and look at me today.”

urijah faber

Welcome to FightLine’s live coverage of UFC 181: Hendricks vs. Lawler II.

Set from Las Vegas and Mandalay Bay Events Center, the main card boasts a pair of world title fights. In the headliner, Johny Hendricks defends his welterweight title against Robbie Lawler, while lightweight champion Anthony Pettis meets Gilbert Melendez in the co-main event.


Alex White vs. Clay Collard

We begin the night in the featherweight division, as Alex White (10-1) takes on Clay Collard (13-5). White earned a win in his UFC debut, while Collard dropped his initial fight inside the Octagon.

Round 1: Collard with some wild kicks, as he tries a jumping double-kick. White wasn’t concerned, as he just brushed it off and fires back with his own kicks. White working the body and lands a straight shot, followed by another body shot. Collard gains the clinch, but White powers through and lands several blows. Big right from Collard connects and he’s hurt him. Low blow lands by White, Collard ignores it and comes forward, only to get caught. They both throw spinning back fists, White grabs the clinch and Collard responds with a takedown. Collard’s nose is bleeding after several shots land.

FightLine scores the round 10-9 for White

Round 2: Collard with a left that has White hurt. White stays standing, but he gets dropped. Collard tries to take his back and secure a rear-naked choke, but White survives. He’s working for a leg-lock now from the back. White has him against the fence and lands a heavy knee, as he appears to have survived the initial shot. Another left hook by Collard is followed up by a handful of quick kicks and jabs. White tries for a takedown, is denied, but Collard drops down and goes for a triangle. He’s got it tight, rolls, but White survives and gets free. Excellent job of remaining patient and waiting to get free from that, as it was in there tight. Collard’s legs appear to be giving out and White goes on the attack to end the round.

FightLine scores the round 10-9 for Collard

Round 3: Collard showing some signs of fatigue after trying so hard to lock up the triangle in the last round. White pushing the pressure, coming forward constantly and trying to land a knockout shot. Collard lands and goes for a takedown, scoring with it. White able to get right back to his feet and avoid any damage. After trying for a spinning back fist, White gets taken down with 90 seconds left. White does more work from the ground, blooding up the face of Collard with less than a minute left. White ends the round with a takedown and we head to the scorecards.

FightLine scores the round 10-9 for White

Clay Collard def. Alex White via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Sergio Pettis vs. Matt Hobar

We wrap up the early prelims with bantamweights Sergio Pettis (11-1) and Matt Hobar (9-2). Pettis is the younger brother of UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis. Both fighters are coming off victories inside the Octagon.

Round 1: Hobar with a huge left that rocks Pettis, sending him flying backwards across the canvas. Pettis sweeps and is to his feet, and appears recovered. Hobar looks to be a division bigger than “The Phenom.” Hobar gets tagged for a second time and Pettis pulls guard as we approach the three-minute mark. Upkick lands by Pettis, Hobar drops down and Pettis locks up a submission for a brief moment. Another upkick connects and Hobar’s now inside the guard. He postures up, lands several shots and eats another upkick. That’s been a very effective move for Pettis here in the opening round.

FightLine scores the round 10-9 for Pettis

Round 2: Pettis catches a shot, fires off several jabs and lands a kick to the chin of Hobar. Another head kick lands and Pettis pushes forward, looking to finish. Combination sends Hobar sprawling for a takedown, which he’s denied of. Pettis going all out, lands a shot to the body and now has him dropped. He’s going for it, folding Hobar up and moving into his guard. Hobar’s been given a chance to recover while holding this position, and the ref now stands them up. Pettis is anxious to go on the attack again, landing a big right and following it up with several kicks. His striking has been on-point in this one, especially this round. Hobar gains a takedown off a blocked kick with a minute to go.

FightLine scores the round 10-9 for Pettis

Round 3: Tons of swelling under the left eye of Hobar, but he’s amped up to get his round underway. Pettis doesn’t appear to have a scratch on him and meets Hobar in the center of the Octagon. Single-leg attempt from Hobar is blocked, and he eats a stiff jab. Hobar doing his best to bring this to the canvas, but Pettis will have none of it. Five of seven takedown attempts have been denied by Pettis. Takedown scores for Hobar, but he’s unable to keep him down and do any kind of damage with seconds left.

FightLine scores the round 10-9 for Pettis

Sergio Pettis def. Matt Hobar via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)

ufc 181

On this past Wednesday’s episode of “UFC Tonight,” Michael Bisping and Kenny Florian offered up their thoughts on the main and co-main event for this evening.

In the UFC 181 headline fight, Robbie Lawler challenges Johny Hendricks for the welterweight title. Earlier this year, Hendricks earned a decision to claim the vacant belt.

“This is a fight of the year candidate for sure,” Bisping said. “You want to talk about a guy who’s hungry and motivated for the title? Robbie Lawler is going to give Johny Hendricks a fight for his life. But Hendricks is the best wrestler in the division and has great knock-out power.

“In the fifth round in the last fight, Hendricks showed why he’s the champion. It was a ridiculously close fight and he showed true grit and determination with a takedown that won him that fight. With Hendricks, you get both wrestling and the knockout power.”

Lawler recovered from the loss, defeating Jake Ellenberger and Matt Brown to earn his rematch.

“Lawler has completely revitalized his career with the technique he’s added to his arsenal. He’s still hungry,” Florian said. “That last round of the last title fight has really been eating at him. He wants to get the win and the title. He continues to evolve and you don’t usually see that for a guy in this stage of his career.

“For Hendricks, that long layoff might hinder him. Hendricks has been a champion since high school wrestling. He just finds a way to win. He went into the last fight with a torn bicep, but he found a way to win.”

In the co-main, Gilbert Melendez gets his second shot at becoming UFC champion, this time against Anthony Pettis.

“Pettis has the best kicking game in the business and has submissions as well,” Bisping said. “There’s no better fight for him than to fight Gilbert. Melendez was the most dominant Strikeforce champion in history.

He lost a razor-thin decision to Benson Henderson and he has a great style to push the pace against Pettis, get him against fence, take him down and to make it all out war.”

Melendez seemed poised to sign with Bellator MMA before negotiating a new deal with the UFC that included both a title shot and spot as coach on The Ultimate Fighter opposite Pettis.

“Anthony Pettis made it look easy against Benson Henderson,” Florian said. “When the lights go up, he shows up. He wants to get a big win against Gilbert. Gilbert can’t make it a technical war. Melendez has the chin to make it a scrap, make it ugly against him.”

ronda rousey

Ronda Rousey was captured by the TMZ Sports camera recently and asked about her personal life.

For the most part, the UFC female bantamweight champion has remained quiet on the subject despite rumors floating around. While she didn’t “name names” during the interview, which you can see below, she did describe one of her now-former boyfriends.

Hear why Rousey, who will defend her title in February against Cat Zingano at UFC 184, was forced to dump that “catalog man.”

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