I hope you're ready—UFC 171 has the potential to blast the roof straight off the American Airlines Center in Dallas this Saturday night.
Former UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre may have left a sizeable void, but make no mistake about it—Johny Hendricks vs. Robbie Lawler is the fight to remind MMA fans that the UFC's 170-pound division is alive and thriving.
Gutted by what most consider to be an unjustifiable loss in his attempt to formally dethrone St-Pierre this past November, Hendricks is coming with a vengeance—vowing to formally take a belt that he's "already earned,"(via UFC) no matter the cost.
Well, the task won't be easy.
UFC brass have pitted him against an adversary with 31 professional fights to his name, nearly twice as many as Hendricks has even competed in. In Lawler, we're presented with a fighter so seasoned that he isn't rattled anywhere near as easily as he tends to rattle others.
Hendricks hasn't yet stood across from a fighter with the type of knockout arsenal he often demonstrates—that will all change on Saturday night.
Oh, and let's not forget the other welterweight showdown that'll preface the explosive championship main event.
Perennial fan favorite Carlos Condit possesses the consummate MMA arsenal: diverse muay thai striking, slick submissions, endless cardio and the ability to string it all together in one lethal package.
He'll need it on Saturday night when he stands across the Octagon from Tyron Woodley, a contender working to make a name for himself by nearly decapitating fighters with power punches.
Two extraordinary welterweight fights, back to back.
Let's take a look at what the rest of the evening has in store.
|Main Card||Pay-per-view||10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT|
|Johny Hendricks||vs.||Robbie Lawler|
|Carlos Condit||vs.||Tyron Woodley|
|Diego Sanchez||vs.||Myles Jury|
|Jake Shields||vs.||Hector Lombard|
|Ovince Saint Preux||vs.||Nikita Krylov|
|Televised Preliminary Card||Fox Sports 2||8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT|
|Kelvin Gastelum||vs.||Rick Story|
|Raquel Pennington||vs.||Jessica Andrade|
|Dennis Bermudez||vs.||Jimy Hettes|
|Sean Spencer||vs.||Alex Garcia|
|Online Preliminary Card||UFC Fight Pass||6 p.m. ET / 3 p.m. PT|
|Renee Forte||vs.||Francisco Trevino|
|Will Campuzano||vs.||Justin Scoggins|
|Bubba McDaniel||vs.||Sean Strickland|
|Daniel Pineda||vs.||Rob Whiteford|
Earlier in the main card, a newly reinvigorated Diego Sanchez will look to mow down the undefeated Myles Jury—does he have enough left in the tank to exact his savagery over such a young, fresh fighter?
And before that, grappling ace Jake Shields will look to bring down and control the juggernaut in Hector Lombard, a fighter who stuffs takedowns three out of four times they're attempted. If the fight stays on the feet, can Shields handle Lombard's power?
|Johny Hendricks||defeats||Robbie Lawler|
|Carlos Condit||defeats||Tyron Woodley|
|Myles Jury||defeats||Diego Sanchez|
|Hector Lombard||defeats||Jake Shields|
|Ovince Saint Preux||defeats||Nikita Krylov|
All of these riveting questions are bound to be answered at UFC 171—I'm venturing to guess that the answers will be coming fast and hard.
Zuffa is setting the stage for an undeniably exciting fight card, one that culminates in a chaotic championship fight.
A belt will be put around a welterweight who, for the first time in ages, won't be a French Canadian. And just prior to that, fans will likely be alerted to the new No. 1 contender when either Condit or Woodley gets his hand raised.
Don't forget to check back with Bleacher Report before and after the action begins—we'll have you covered with tons of exciting content to prepare you for the mayhem of UFC 171.
Artem Moshkovich is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter for MMA news and more.