Johny Hendricks is making the most of a second chance.
"Bigg Rigg" was successful in his middleweight debut, taking a hard-fought unanimous decision over Hector Lombard on Sunday in the co-main event of UFC Fight Night 105 in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
After failing to make the welterweight limit in his past two outings and losing three straight fights, Hendricks made the decision to move up to 185 pounds, one that appears to have paid dividends for at least one night. He picks up his 13th UFC win overall in 19 appearances.
While Hendricks hardly showed flashes of the power-striking that made him a champion at 170 pounds, he looked more comfortable without having the burden of a stressful weight cut. He primarily used his legs to damage Lombard, with knees to the Cuban's body and head being particularly effective.
Lombard was able to catch Hendricks' incoming leg strikes on multiple occasions, but he rarely capitalized with more than trips or takedowns that Hendricks easily recovered from.
The action rarely got out of first gear, which allowed Hendricks to slowly pull ahead as the fight went on while Lombard looked for a killshot haymaker that never came.
Lombard is 0-3 with one no-contest in his past four fights, and he hasn't won since outpointing Jake Shields almost three years ago. The former top-10 ranked welterweight now faces an uncertain future with the promotion.