Home Science Education UFC 171: Robbie Lawler vs. Johny Hendricks – Pros’ Picks and Strategy

UFC 171: Robbie Lawler vs. Johny Hendricks – Pros’ Picks and Strategy


MMAInterview recently did a “Pros’ Picks”, interviewing various professional fighters on their opinion of Robbie Lawler vs. Johny Hendricks.

One of Lawler’s teammates said that he’s got steel in his hands — that if he touches something he’s going out. Jake Ellenberger thinks its a tough pick — Lawler has freak power (he can’t pick against that) but Hendricks has edge in wrestling.

Eric Koch shares a similar sentiment and has Hendricks as a slight favorite, but in his heart wants Lawler to win. Watch the rest of the video to find out more about the pro’s opinions!

Strategy: Recently, Tim Kennedy of Jackson’s MMA told MMA Junkie what Hendricks needs to do to defeat Lawler. Kennedy has defeated Lawler at middleweight in Strikeforce.

Kennedy believes theres 4 strategical elements to success:

1. Don’t be one directional:

Kennedy stated that to be successful, Hendricks must not only go forward or let Lawler push him back. Generally, this principle is true — the one that dictates the exchanges and the ground of the fight will win.

But it’s important to remember that Kennedy’s idea of Lawler’s striking is based on orthodox vs. southpaw matchup. Both Hendricks and Lawler is a southpaw — which means instead of employing a lazy jab, Lawler may use a stiff-jab to keep distance. The opportunities to open up a jab into same-hand hook  is more available for Lawler (he’s the better striker in this matchup and has a wicked right-hook as Kennedy mentioned).

2. Change Levels

Kennedy says that a key to throw off Lawler’s dangerous striking is to consistently change levels to make him hesitate. Long as Lawler is playing the guessing game on what the level change is doing — loading a punch or going for a takedown, he’s going to be more tentative.

Kennedy was able to land more punches than Lawler despite their difference in striking ability.

*Note, Lawler was in middleweight, and Kennedy notes that Lawler does have excellent counterwrestling and jiujitsu — a sentiment many pro fighters share.

3. Chain Wrestling: 

Kenney said chain wrestling is key to success in getting Lawler down on the mat. Lawler has excellent defensive wrestling and instead of trying to hit takedowns off one technique, they must come in chains in different scenarios in fashions that Lawler is not accustomed to.

4. Know that you will be hit:

Kennedy said to MMA Junkie, that if one’s afraid to be hit, they’re going to be hit.

“If you’re so scared he’s going to hit you, he’s going to hit you… Not with reckless abandon, but you have to go in there with the mindset that you can dominate him, and then you can dominate him. If you don’t, he’ll put you to sleep. If you go in there and be like, ‘I’m going to stay away from his punches, look for the opportunity to take him down,’ it’s going to be boring, and you’ll probably get knocked out. If you go in there with the plan that you’re going to hit him with big punches or put him on his back with takedowns, you can win that fight.”

To Kennedy, it’s about having faith in one’s own abilities.

For more coverage and breakdowns, visit SciFighting.com.