Robbie Lawler Outguns Matt Brown, Keeps New UFC Life on Fast Track to Title

Robbie Lawler’s slow burn toward the UFC welterweight title smolders on.

After pulling the plug on Matt Brown’s Cinderella story via unanimous decision on Saturday in the main event of UFC on Fox 12, Lawler once again finds himself the top contender for the company’s 170-pound title.

He’s now assured a second bite at the apple against champion Johny Hendricks, but, as is often the case for UFC title hopefuls these days, he’ll have to wait a bit to get it.

Hendricks is still healing from a torn bicep suffered while claiming the vacant championship with a decision win over Lawler at UFC 171. Though it was initially believed he’d return in the fall, reports now indicate the UFC may push the rematch back until after New Year's:

“I want to get back to work and go after Hendricks,” Lawler told UFC color commentator Joe Rogan in the cage after his victory over Brown. “He’s nursing some injuries but I’m going to be the one waiting for him, and that’s nice.”

Whenever it happens, another meeting with Hendricks will provide Lawler’s latest—and potentially last—chance to add an exclamation point to his career’s unexpectedly stellar third act.

Most observers likely thought they’d already seen the best of him when he returned to the Octagon after the Strikeforce purchase in 2013.

Lawler had been absent from Zuffa since back-to-back losses in 2004. In the interim, he’d become EliteXC middleweight champion and once fought for Strikeforce gold, but had also been dogged by inconsistency. He was perennially winning a few fights and then losing one, usually by either letting a decision get away from him or by getting caught in a submission on the ground.

A drop to welterweight to begin his UFC return seemed like an intriguing twist, but that sort of last resort seldom cures everything that ails a struggling fighter. Simply finding a new weight class rarely makes a whole new man.

For Lawler, it has amounted to a rebirth. He’s now 5-1 at 170 pounds, his only loss coming via that razor-thin judges’ verdict to Hendricks five months ago. As the welterweight class staggers forward amid Georges St-Pierre's extended hiatus, the 32-year-old Lawler—suddenly all grown up and in control of his own potential—figures to continue being a major player.

But first, with Hendricks finishing up his rehab for the duration of 2014, Lawler will get a necessary (albeit perhaps unrequested) break.

The victory over Brown capped a stretch where he fought five times during the last 12 months. Their bout won Fight of the Night but fell just short of the sky-high expectations we’d set during the lead-up.

It would have been hard to live up to the hyperbole, but given that the night’s two championship stanzas essentially amounted to Rounds 16 and 17 for Lawler, dating back to July 27, 2013, it feels like he’s earned a short vacation.

For much of their peak-and-valley slugfest, he was in full control of Brown with his tighter, more technical counterpunching style. Lawler scored with uppercuts and kicks to the body, and stunned Brown with a shot to the midsection that was mistakenly ruled a low blow by referee John McCarthy in the third round.

He might’ve pitched a shutout had Brown not stung him with a right hand in the first round. For a few seconds there, it appeared we might be in for another Lawler letdown, but he maintained his composure and weathered Brown’s best offense—mostly in the form of elbows in the clinch as well as the occasional takedown try and submission attempt.

The pace slowed in the middle rounds, and even as Lawler took full control on the scorecards, it dawned on us this wasn’t going to be the epic, Fight of the Year-caliber brawl we’d hoped to see.

Still, it was pretty good.

The ever-game Brown appeared to injure his hand when he came out firing in the final round, but he continued to throw jabs, kicks and elbows until the final horn. Lawler stumbled him with one last left 10 seconds before the end, sealing the final round and a clear-cut unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 48-47) when the final scores were announced.

The loss snapped Brown’s seven-fight win streak, and the 33-year-old underdog went to the hospital instead of the post-fight press conference. UFC President Dana White attended the media event, however, and said that even in defeat Brown’s stock was on the rise with the fight company.

Lawler seemed to agree, as the two fighters exchanged encouraging words inside the cage immediately following the decision.

“I said there’s two champions in this ring tonight,” Lawler explained to Rogan, when asked what he said to Brown. “He’s a hell of a fighter and we put on a great show for these guys. He came toe-to-toe with me and not too many people will do that.”

Hendricks also didn’t shy away from Lawler during their first meeting back in March.

Once the champion’s arm is good to go, the UFC will have yet another highly anticipated donnybrook on its hands. When that finally happens, Lawler will get another chance to set his hot-and-cold career on fire for good.

view original article >>

Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

UFC 201: Robbie Lawler vs. Tyron Woodley Full Card Preview and Predictions

  • 18 days ago
  • 26 views

UFC 200 is finally, at long last, a thing of the past. After a year of hype and a decade's worth of drama, fans can finally look past the gargantuan card and get back into the swing of a normal MMA s read news >>

UFC 200: Tate vs. Nunes Highlights in Super Slow-Motion

  • 15 days ago
  • 132 views

UFC 200: Tate vs. Nunes took place on July 9 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and set UFC records for attendance and gate receipts for the promotion in Sin City. read news >>

UFC Chicago and UFC 202 Media Call: Holly Holm, Valentina Shevchenko, Robbie Lawler and Tyron Woodley

  • 11 days ago
  • 20 views

Listen in as UFC on FOX 20 headliners Holly Holm and Valentina Shevchenko, and UFC 201 main eventers Robbie Lawler and Tyron Woodley field media questions. read news >>

UFC 201 Free Fight: Relive Robbie Lawler and Rory MacDonald’s UFC 189 War

  • 10 days ago
  • 69 views

"Ruthless" Robbie Lawler earned a fifth-round knockout victory against Rory McDonald at UFC 189. Relive their epic war. read news >>

Knockout Radio LIVE: UFC Champ Robbie Lawler, Kamaru Usman, and UFC on FOX 20 Preview

  • 9 days ago
  • 9 views

Tune in Wednesday, July 20, at 6 p.m. EST, for Knockout Radio LIVE! with UFC champ Robbie Lawler, Kamaru Usman, several RFC fighters, and a UFC on FOX 20 preview. read news >>

Knockout Radio Podcast: UFC Champ Robbie Lawler, Kamaru Usman, and UFC on FOX 20 Preview

  • 6 days ago
  • 27 views

Join Knockout Radio for the podcast with UFC champ Robbie Lawler, Kamaru Usman, and several RFC fighters, as well as a preview of this weekend's UFC on FOX 20. read news >>

UFC 201 Free Fight: Tyron Woodley Knocks Out Josh Koscheck

  • 5 days ago
  • 34 views

Tyron Woodley earned a knockout victory against Josh Koscheck at UFC 167. "Ruthless" Robbie Lawler looks to defend his Welterweight title against Woodley at UFC 201 in Atlanta, Georgia. read news >>

Robbie Lawler vs. Tyron Woodley: A Head-to-Toe Breakdown

  • 4 days ago
  • 17 views

Robbie Lawler will defend his welterweight title against No. 1 contender Tyron Woodley as the main event of UFC 201 on Saturday. The bout marks the third time Lawler will defend his strap since captu read news >>

UFC 201: Lawler vs. Woodley Extended Video Preview

  • 4 days ago
  • 39 views

Robbie Lawler defends his welterweight title for the third time in the main event at UFC 201 against Tyron Woodley. In the co-main, Rose Namajunas and Karolina Kowalkiewicz square off. read news >>

UFC 201 Countdown Video: Robbie Lawler vs Tyron Woodley

  • 4 days ago
  • 30 views

After a decade in MMA, Robbie Lawler now holds the UFC welterweight title and is tasked with defending it against powerful wrestler Tyron Woodley at UFC 201. read news >>