johny hendricksThe upcoming UFC 171 PPV event has some great fights(on paper) lined up, and will be headlined by the UFC vacant welterweight title fight between Johny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler. This fight is taking place because former longtime UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre decided to retire and vacate the title after defending it for a record nine consecutive times. Hendricks fought St-Pierre in his last title defense, losing a controversial split decision with Lawler resurrecting his career with three consecutive wins in the UFC to earn his spot.

The UFC 171 PPV is all about the welterweight division with multiple fights having big implications regarding the title picture. Of course, the main event will crown the first new UFC welterweight champion since 2007. Also, the co-main event winner between Tyron Woodley and former UFC interim welterweight champion Carlos Condit could be next in line for a title shot.

The undefeated and fast rising Myles Jury will get the toughest test of his young career when he takes on the original “Ultimate Fighter” winner and perennial “Fight of the Night” winner Diego Sanchez. A win over Sanchez would make Jury (5-0) inside the UFC and certainly in contention to take on a top 10 welterweight. A win for Sanchez would prove that he’s still among the best welterweights even though he has been through countless wars, including his last outing against top five ranked Gilbert Melendez.

Also, former title challenger Jake Shields will be taking on former Bellator middleweight champion Hector Lombard in a welterweight scrap. Shields has won back-to-back fights over top fighters in his last two fights, both split decision wins over Tyron Woodley and Demian Maia. A win over Lombard could put him in the conversation to fight in a number one contender’s matchup of some sort. Lombard is coming off a first round destruction over former Strikeforce welterweight champion Nate Marquardt in his first fight as a welterweight. A win over Shield’s would also fast track him towards the top of the division.

A big welterweight bout will headline the preliminary card when “Ultimate Fighter” winner Kelvin Gastelum takes on the always tough Rick Story. Gasteslum has been on the shelf since winning his last bout in August 2013. He was set to fight in December, but had to withdraw from the bout with a torn PCL injury. Gastelum is (2-0) in the UFC and has had great performances in both bouts. He’s only 22 years old so the UFC will probably slowly build the young prospect up, but he’s certainly worth paying attention to if he can get past Rick Story. Story is coming off a win over Brian Ebersole in his last outing at UFC 167. The long time UFC veteran is (9-5) in the UFC, and has a win over Johny Hendricks. A win over Gastelum would be huge for his career and would allow the 29 year old to really make a push towards the top of the division with a couple more wins.

There’s one more welterweight bout that will take place on the card when Sean Spencer takes on Alex Garcia.  Spencer has won back-to-back fights and Garcia won his UFC debut in December. Both fighters have a ways to go to establish themselves in the division, but they certainly will look to put on a show for the fans on Saturday night.

Be sure to make your home for continued UFC 171 news and coverage this week.

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