UFC on FOX 12 preview: Winner's Circle


What does victory mean for Robbie Lawler, Matt Brown, Anthony Johnson, and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira ahead of their respective headlining fights this Saturday (July 26, 2014) at UFC on FOX 12 from inside SAP Center in San Jose, California? We explore the consequences below.

Let them bang, bro.

UFC on FOX 12: "Lawler vs. Brown" goes down this upcoming weekend (Sat., July 26, 2014) from inside SAP Center in San Jose, California, with an event full of potential slugfests.

In possibly the most anticipated free television main event since Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) debuted on FOX, Robbie Lawler will trade fists against Matt Brown in a welterweight tussle sure to entertain and excite. The winner of their battle could very well be next for UFC welterweight titleholder Johny Hendricks.

The co-main event features the return of Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, as he faces rising light heavyweight Anthony Johnson.

With the majority of this card's excitement focused on these two bouts, let's look into the near future and map out what a victory might mean for these four competitors.

Robbie Lawler

Besides a couple of slip ups in Strikeforce, Lawler's grit and success has always been there, but to think the young kid who emerged out of Miletich Fighting Systems over 10 years ago would be one fight away from a second title shot in 2014 is captivating.

Possessing a record of 4-1 in his second UFC stint, "Ruthless" has a chance to shine as one of the great 170-pounders who ever stepped foot inside the cage if he can win this weekend. It may be a surprising assessment for some to acknowledge; however, if the 32-year-old slugger defeats Brown and earns a second crack at Hendricks, his legacy would speak for itself if he could successfully acquire gold.

It may not be smart to think too far down the line, yet Lawler's blue-collar work ethic and hard-nosed attitude makes it believable, seeing how he gave "Bigg Rigg" plenty to handle at UFC 171.

Beating "Immortal" makes him the number two welterweight in the world, and if Lawler wins impressively this weekend, we could be looking at one of the most under-appreciated dudes in welterweight -- and middleweight -- history.

Matt Brown

If Lawler's career comeback makes you feel fuzzy inside, then Brown has probably made you faint on a couple of occasions.

The Ohio resident comes into this fight after toppling seven opponents since his last loss, including six finishes by strikes. He's on quite the tear, and if there's anyone who should be remembered by having one of the best career resurgences in UFC history, it's him.

"Immortal" could lose it all this weekend, but if he wins, he proves a lot of people wrong in regards to his time in the sport. In 2010, nobody really thought Brown would have been able to work his way into a title eliminator bout four years later, let alone be battling for the number two spot in the division.

A win could instantly make him a star, too, and since he's been lacking that sort of status over the years, it will undoubtedly bring him to fame if he can outgun Lawler and be the clear cut challenger to Hendricks' belt.

In short, we're going to learn a lot about Brown's abilities to rise to the occasion this weekend.

Anthony Johnson

When will the comeback stories stop?

Johnson was always a gifted talent, yet it seems as if his stock is the highest it's ever been.

Maybe that's because his reluctance to keep to one weight class in his first UFC stint damaged his abilities, not to mention missing weight a number of times.

He seems fully focused now, and without any real threats outside of Alexander Gustafsson and Daniel Cormier for Jon Jones, "Rumble" has a chance to make his presence felt with a big win over Nogueira this Saturday night.

If Johnson can find a way to victory, it's a story of how a gifted athlete can make amends after a number of disappointments (or, stick to a weight class that's suited him all along). That said, he's only lost four bouts out of 21, but his career was going to be remembered for wasteful opportunities over knocking out guys like Tommy Speer and Kevin Burns.

Defeating Phil Davis, though, is a pretty damn good start.

With a seven-fight winning streak under his belt, Johnson can become something big in the 205-pound division if he's victorious -- and that statement has nothing to do with weight.

Antonio Rogerio Nogueira

The Brazilian hasn't fought in over a year, but some tend to forget he's coming off big wins against Tito Ortiz and Rashad Evans.

Still, "Lil' Nog" has a lot more to prove this weekend than his adversary, since he'll be shadowed by his older brother's loss to Roy Nelson, which could mean the Nogueira brothers may be fading in the sport. It has nothing to do with their legendary status, but maybe they simply can't hack it anymore on the big stage.

However, if "Minotouro" beats Johnson, then it's a whole different story. Some may not be calling for an immediate title shot, although it warrants him a top three opponent in the division.

Nogueira hasn't looked spectacular in UFC, and with fights against the "Mauler" and Mauricio Rua falling by the wayside, he can at least erase the notion that he's an injury-plagued combatant if he pulls it together on Saturday, and spoil a fellow counterpart's run.

His record of 4-2 in the promotion could improve, and if he defeats the powerful "A.J.," we've got a new light heavyweight contender on our hands.

That just about does it.

For more on UFC on FOX 12: "Lawler vs. Brown," check out the finalized fight card, including bout order and set times, right here.

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