Johny Hendricks wins UFC welterweight championship

By The Associated Press Published: March 15, 2014
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— Former Oklahoma State wrestler Johny Hendricks won the vacant UFC welterweight championship Saturday night, unanimously outpointing Robbie Lawler in five rounds at UFC 171.

Tyron Woodley won the co-feature, stopping Carlos Condit to set up a likely title bout against Hendricks in the 170-pound division.

Fighting in Hendricks’ adopted hometown, Lawler opened a cut beside Hendricks’ right eye in the fourth round. All three judges scored the fight 48-47 for Hendricks.

The title was vacated by Georges St. Pierre, who had held it since 2007. In his final defense, St. Pierre took a disputed split decision over Hendricks in November.

Hendricks improved to 16-2, and Lawler fell to 22-10 with one no contest.

The winner’s background as a two-time NCAA wrestling champion at Oklahoma State helped him take down Lawler twice.

Hendricks and Lawler fought cautiously in the first round. Midway through the second, Hendricks landed a succession of punches and kicks. Lawler rallied in the closing minute.