UFC 171 rebounded from several dud cards by awarding fans excitement in its action-packed main event, passing the torch to new stars Tyron Woodley and Miles Jury, and putting the “art” in mixed-martial arts in Ovince Saint Preux’s obscure submission maneuver. The Dallas event left more than 19,324 fans cheering on their feet and several hundred thousand at home feeling the $45 pay-per view money well spent.
In the feature, Johny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler delivered back-and-forth excitement over five action-packed rounds. Hendricks edged Lawler in the opening rounds and controlled the final round. But Lawler nearly finished Bigg Rigg at several points in frames three and four. In the end, the judges unanimously scored the fight 48-47 to award Hendricks the belt that he felt he had already won in his fall fight against Georges St. Pierre.
In the co-main event, Tyron Woodley grabbed Carlos Condit’s attention early with two big right hands, a wildly swinging charge, two takedowns, and a slam to escape a Condit triangle attempt. A second-round takedown of Condit that saw him wince and grab his knee foreshadowed the fight’s ending off a Woodley kick on his opponent’s left leg that actually blew out Condit’s right knee. After stopping the former UFC interim welterweight champion, the 13-2 Woodley made his case for a title shot that seemed redundant after his explosive performance.
Miles Jury avoided Diego Sanchez’s taunts to brawl by utilizing foot work, kicks, and spot strikes to gain the advantage in their lightweight battle. The Nightmare exhibited his characteristic bull-rush frenzy and appeared to nearly checkmate his younger adversary in a guillotine. But Jury’s athleticism and technical striking proved too much for the original Ultimate Fighter winner. In typical Diego Sanchez fashion, both fighters finished with faces dripping crimson. Jury improved to 15-0 on scores of 30-27, 30-27, and 29-28. “That I just beat him so easily,” a cocky Jury told interviewer Joe Rogan of what surprised him most about the fight. “He took a pretty good beating, man.”
Hector Lombard employed judo throws, power striking, and a strong takedown defense to overwhelm a bloodied Jake Shields in the first round of their scrap. But the former multi-weight-class Strikeforce champion weathered the storm by neutralizing his musclebound opponent off his back. Lombard again utilized judo to slam Shields to the mat but the Cuban offered no offense from the top position and Shields continued to stifle him from his back. Lombard slowed considerably by round three. But Shields offered no answers, continually seeing his takedown attempts stuffed and never posing a threat to Lombard until the fight’s final fifteen seconds when he secured a tight guillotine on the Olympian. Lombard survived to earn decisive scorecard nods of 30-27, 30-27, and 29-28.
Light heavyweight Ovince Saint Preux improved to 15-5 on a first-round submission victory over Ukrainian Nikita Krylov. The former University of Tennessee linebacker, caught in a prolonged guillotine by Krylov, slyly trapped his 22-year-old opponent in the little-used Von Flue choke that escaped the notice of fans, announcers, and his opponent–rendered unconscious before referee Dan Magliotta alertly intervened.
On the pre-pay-per-view undercard, featherweight Dennis Bermudez kneed his way to a knockout victory over Jim Hettes in the final round and Kevin Gastelum earned a split-decision victory over veteran welterweight Rick Story.