In a fight that many believed would be a contender for Fight of the Year, Robbie Lawler and Matt Brown failed to disappoint. What people didn’t expect, however, was for the fight to go the distance. Both fighters were hurt at certain points in the fight, both unloaded with big shots, both secured takedowns and showed their resilience – overall, both Lawler and Brown showed that they are elite welterweight contenders.
Ultimately, it was Lawler who got the better of the fight, winning four rounds (with one judge having Brown winning two of the five), and it was his effective striking and patient approach that earned Ruthless his fourth victory since returning to the Octagon.
After an unsuccessful shot at the vacant welterweight title against Johny Hendricks at UFC 171, Lawler has the chance to settle the score as Hendricks defends his belt for the first time. Since that fight, Lawler has back-to-back wins over Jake Ellenberger and Matt Brown, while Hendricks has been on the sidelines. Could this be vital?
Matt Brown proved his worth and remains towards the top of the division, and a rematch between him and Lawler could happen in the future after the fun nature of their fight. The fifth round was particularly exciting, as both fighters unloaded and attempted to finish the fight.
Here is how the fight played out.
The big one. Brown looking for his eighth straight victory, while Lawler looking to win his fifth since returning to the UFC (and, incidentally, welterweight division). Both have revived their careers as of late, have been in complete wars, shown their knockout power and great chins, and this fight could be an instant classic. The winner gets a shot at the title. Brown missed weight by 1.5lbs.
Round 1 - Brown takes the centre and eats a big combination. Lawler with a stiff right. Brown shoots in for the clinch but Lawler lands. Brown attempts a high kick. Uppercut by Lawler. Big left by Lawler sends Brown staggering backwards. Big combination from Lawler. Another. All Lawler in the early going. Leg kick from Brown. Body shot by Brown there. Brown with a left then a right and Lawler is wobbly! He’s milling but that hurt! Lawler now with a left staggers Brown! Wow. Big 1-2 by Brown, then a couple of short shots on the inside. Brown tags him but Lawler returns. Brown with a short shot then a takedown! He’s taking over now! He might be working on a d’arce here. Lawler may be in trouble. He lets go. Lawler is back up and has Brown against the cage. Uppercut then a short left by Lawler in the clinch. 2 minutes left. Brown has a small cut. Short knees by Brown to the body. Short elbow lands from Brown. Lawler struggling in the clinch, Brown landing with short elbows. 1 minute left. Another elbow. Huge combination from Lawler and a knee! Brown misses with the right. A couple of uppercuts from Lawler. Brown with the body kick. Right misses for Brown. Body kick by Lawler lands. Spinning back fist misses from Brown and Lawler returns. Right by Brown. 1-2 by Brown and Lawler returns fire. Brown’s kick is avoided. Brown with the body kick and Lawler counters. Lawler catches him with a short uppercut coming in. Tremendous round.
Cooper scores round 1 10-9 Lawler.
Round 2 - Leg kick from Brown. And another. And another. Good head movement by Brown there. Straight to the body from Immortal. Nice short body shot from Lawler. Lawler tries to go up high but it’s checked. Leg kick checked by Lawler. Brown gets countered coming in. Brown with a left and Lawler gets a sneaky right hook in. Brown gets the takedown but Lawler gets right back up. Good job at mixing it up from Brown, however. Front kick from Brown. Lawler catches him with a right hook. A nice shot by Lawler. Lawler with the right but a spinning back kick by Brown. Brown with a big flurry of punches sends Lawler backwards. Lawler with a short right. Nice elbow in the clinch from Brown. He misses with the spinning back fist. Brown goes for the high kick. And again. Neither land. Body kick by Immortal. Brown misses the hook but Lawler unable to counter. Body kick by Lawler. Body kick from Lawler. Brown charges forward and tries a body kick of his own to end the round.
Cooper scores round 2 10-9 Brown (19-19).
Round 3 - Lawler was far less active in that last round, and Brown was more tactical. Brown pushing forward and shoots in for the takedown. Lawler doing a great job defensively against the cage, and landing some short shots on Brown. Brown has a cut now. Big flurry by Lawler. He counters with a left hook. Lawler has Brown backing up now. Left body kick backs Brown up. Brown trying to spin again but it’s telegraphed. Body kick again from Lawler. Lawler tries to go up high. He lands an uppercut as Brown comes in. Straight from Brown. Overhand right by Lawler. Brown with the leg kick. Brown is busted up now. He tries to get a combination in but Lawler recognises it. Nice combination from Lawler. Right by Brown, then a left. Body kick lands for Matt. Lawler with the combination. Front kick goes low on Brown there. Wow it didn’t go low. Similar to Cerrone-Miller there. Brown shoots in and very well defensively, Lawler making him pay on the exit. A couple of straight rights from Brown. Left body kick from Lawler hurts him again. Powerful kick by Brown to the body there, then a body shot. Front kick from Lawler misses. Straight right by Brown. 45 seconds remaining. High left kick from Lawler grazes him. Brown tries to go up high but Lawler recognises it. Straight by Brown at the end of the round.
Cooper scores round 3 10-9 Lawler (29-28 Lawler).
Round 4 - Lawler catches the high kick and drags Brown to the mat, straight into half guard. Lawler showing more urgency now. Short shots from Robbie. Short elbows are landing. Brown trying to use the cage to his advantage but Lawler staying on top in the half guard, landing short shots. Nothing too significant but they’re all adding up. Brown trying to stay active on the bottom. Brown momentarily tries for a guillotine but lets it go. Brown gives up his back and Lawler lands some big shots. He rag dolls Brown to the ground! He has the side back control. Brown trying to keep control of his arms, and he works his way up. Left by Brown. Uppercut then a left hook from Lawler. Leg kick by Brown, then a question mark kick. Brown shoots in but easily shaken off. Nice short right by Brown. Right hook from Ruthless. Brown trying to keep Lawler at distance. Body kick from Lawler as he pushes forward. Head kick checked by Lawler. Brown attacking the legs even more. Stiff right by Lawler. Brown misses and Lawler tags him. Brown backed up as though he was hurt there. Brown goes for the body kick, he looks exhausted. Lawler with a couple of nice jabs.
Cooper scores round 4 10-9 Lawler (39-37 Lawler).
Round 5 - Brown needs a finish. Brown doubling up on the job. Body kick then a body shot by Brown. Jabs from Lawler. A kick by Brown. They’re exchanging, nice elbows from Brown. Uppercut by Robbie. Left hook lands. Big elbow by Brown! And another! Lawler now pushing forward, and lands a body kick. Getting Brown against the cage now. Jabs by Lawler. Nice 1-2 by Brown. Brown’s connecting here! This is where Brown gets dangerous. Knee to the body. And a teep. Brown is unloading. Body shot by Lawler. Body kick from Brown, and a right hand. High kick from Lawler barely misses. Good body-head by Brown. Right by Lawler and Brown replies. Brown with a big flurry! Half of the round remaining. Brown is going for it. Body kick, and he’s unloading with the hands. Brown’s right hand is hurt. Body kick and a stiff eft by Lawler! Brown is still throwing the right. Lawler with a right. Brown with the elbow, then a body kick. Huge straight right. Lawler might be hurt. Short elbow. Bronw puring it on. Spinning back fist by Lawler. High kick by Lawler. 1-2. Front kick then a spin. Brown tries to spin in return. 50 seconds left. Lawler with the body kick, then a jab. Brown with a knee to the body. Uppercut by Lawler, Brown responds with a spinning back fist. Lawler drops Brown and unloads on him at the end there! Brown gets back to his feet! The round ends. A great fight. Close fifth round but Lawler did enough to get the victory.
Cooper scores round 5 10-9 Lawler (49-46 Lawler).
Result: Lawler via unanimous decision (49-46 x2, 48-47).
Here we go, Lawler vs. Hendricks II. And I cannot wait. Matt Brown showed that he is still a top fighter, and he’ll be back. Great fight, that fifth round was unbelievable.
Check out the results for the fight card. The full play-by-play can be seen here.
Main Card (FOX)
Robbie Lawler def. Matt Brown via unanimous decision (49-46 x2, 48-47).
Anthony Johnson def. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira via TKO (punches) at 0:44 in first round.
Dennis Bermudez def. Clay Guida via submission (rear naked choke) at 2:57 in second round
Bobby Green def. Josh Thomson via split decision (29-28 x2, 28-29).
Preliminary Card (FOX)
Jorge Masvidal def. Daron Cruickshank via unanimous decision (29-28 x2, 29-27).
Patrick Cummins def. Kyle Kingsbury via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-25, 30-24).
Tim Means def. Hernani Perpetuo via unanimous decision (29-28 x3).
Brian Ortega def. Mike De La Torre via submission (rear naked choke) at 1:39 in first round.
Preliminary Card (UFC Fight Pass)
Tiago Trator def. Akbarh Arreola via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27 x2).
Gilbert Burns def. Andreas Stahl via unanimous decision (29-28 x3).
Joanna Jedrzejczyk def. Juliana Lima via unanimous decision (30-27 x2, 29-28).
Noad Lahat def. Steven Siler via unanimous decision (29-28 x3).