It was billed as one of the better stylistic match-ups between two strong heads of momentum, and it certainly played out that way. Matt Brown and Robbie Lawler stood toe-to-toe for five rounds at UFC on FOX 12 in San Jose on Saturday night, and because they did they are each $50,000 richer.
The UFC awarded the welterweights Fight of the Night honors for their battle at the SAP Center. The main event was expected to produce fireworks given the aggressive styles of each in the title eliminator. Lawler, a southpaw, was able to land heavy shots throughout the bout, but was never able to put Brown away. Brown, who had won seven fights in a row improbably after losing four of five, kept coming forward and improvising offense. He would not quit. Though he was bloodied, exhausted and hurt (his right hand), he still fought with urgency in the final round, trying to put Lawler away.
Even if the fight didn't end in a dramatic finish, it still played out as a display of heart and skill.
Meanwhile, while those resurrection stories played out through 25 minutes, the other comeback story continued to unfold as well. Anthony Johnson, who came back to the UFC after six fights in other promotions at UFC 172 in his fight with Phil Davis, made short work of Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. He blasted "Lil' Nog" with a series of precise uppercuts to down the Brazilian at the :44 mark of the very first round.
That was enough to earn him a Performance of the Night bonus. That honor was also given to Dennis Bermudez, who was too fast, too athletic and too strong for Clay Guida. Bermudez beat Guida to the punch early, thwarted takedown attempts and in the second round, sank a rear naked choke against "The Carpenter." Bermudez has won seven fights in a row in the UFC, and is now a contender in the featherweight division. Johnson is now 2-0 in the UFC in his second stint, this time as a light heavyweight.
Both took home an additional $50,000.