Call me "that guy" but I've simply never been impressed by any part of Hendricks' game other than his KO power. If he doesn't tag the guy early, I don't see much in his fights that makes me a believer. He's wrestled less and less the longer he's stayed in his UFC career (a Tito Ortiz injury we don't know about currently perhaps, or a Matt Hughes style injury that's forcing him fight a different style of fight, perhaps?).
At any rate, I saw Hendricks lose to GSP up in Maryland with some friends who train at Yamasaki academy and have since seen Hendricks IMHO lose to Lawler but win it in a narrow call by the judges. At any rate, I am semi-excited to watch Lawler do his thing, less so to watch a relatively one-dimensional style of fight from Hendricks.
That being said, I saw Hendricks not take down GSP in their fight either, so I'm not sipping the Kool-Aid on that one. Lawler is a true Cinderella man of the sport returning from years ago/yesteryear UFC glory to fight for the title after dominating his way to a title shot, coming up short (according to some), besting next in line contender Rory McDonald rather than patiently waiting for a rematch (a plan Gustaffson will regret after he fights Anthony Johnson), and now fights for the belt again. Lawler's takedown defense is always a question in my mind, but Hendricks as I've stated simply refused to wrestle much these days. If you're looking for a prediction, I'm gonna go with my heart and the fact that Lawler will benefit from having faced Hendricks previously and come so close whereas I don't see Hendricks doing anything differently than he has over his UFC career.
The Co-Main Event, a long time coming:
Pettis has only looked better and better since exporting to the UFC. Melendez, is in my mind, still the same scrap pack fighter he's always been. He is good at what he does, but Pettis' starching of Cerrone via body kick and his armbar finish of avid Jiu-Jitsu students Henderson are simply hard to ignore.
I have to think that Pettis will find a way to win as he has simply demonstrated far more tools in his game as of late.