UFC on FOX 12 delivered a main event as advertised, which was a full five rounds between two of the top welterweights in the world–Matt Brown and Robbie Lawler–with the same identical fighting mentality and toughness. A 44 second knockout came in the co-main event, and a rather huge upset occurred in the lightweight division.
Honorable mentions: Dennis Bermudez, Brian Ortega, Joanna Jedrzejczyk
3rd Star – Robbie Lawler (and to a lesser extent Matt Brown)
The two top 5 welterweights fought for a full 25 minutes to determine who would become the next contender to champion Johny Hendrick’s title. Both Robbie Lawler and Matt Brown did not back down from striking exchanges on the feet. But it was Robbie Lawler that got the better of the striking, when it was all said and done–hurting Matt Brown several times during the fight. The most notable moment in the 3rd round, a body kick that landed clean forced to retreat–but in a moment of brilliance, Brown grabbed his cup and this led to the referee giving him a moment to recover from a perceived groin shot.
Robbie Lawler won the unanimous decision, his 2nd fight in 3 months, over another top 10 opponent. And now sets himself up in line for the rematch against Johny Hendricks. Lawler compliment Brown on his toughness by saying there was two champions, two winners in the cage tonight.
2nd Star – Anthony Johnson
When this fight was first announced, many thought Antonio Rogerio Nogueira would not make it into the Octagon against Anthony “Rumble” Johnson, but he did–and maybe it may have been a poor decision in hindsight. The 38 year Nogueira returned from an 18-month hiatus in which he had to deal with several back injuries, but it only took Anthony Johnson 44 seconds to send him out of the Octagon–so to speak.
The younger, stronger, quicker, light heavyweight–“Rumble” landed a series of uppercuts that put Lil’ Nog down and out. As tough as the Nogueira’s are–notoriously known for their chin and ability sustain punishment–with age and time spent competing, it begins to fade. This was only the second time Rogerio Nogueira had been finished in his career in 27 fights.
If Anthony Johnson didn’t get the attention of fans with his upset victory over Phil Davis in his return, this knockout certainly captured their attention.
1st Star – Bobby Green
However controversial the decision may be in a close contested fight, Bobby Green took on 12-days notice–replacing Josh Thomson’s original opponent, Michael Johnson. Add to the fact that he was dealing with emotional distress, having lost his younger brother a month earlier. And Bobby Green’s split decision win over the 3rd ranked lightweight in the UFC, was that much more impressive. Coming in as a 3-to-1 underdog against the former Strikeforce lightweight champion.
His constant talking and acknowledgment in between exchanges whenever Thomson missed with his strikes were part of Green’s gameplan. His boxing and high risk stance–with hands down–utilized proved to be advantageous, as Green was able to out-strike Josh Thomson in all 3 rounds in the fight (according to FightMetric).
Bobby Green won his 4th straight fight in the UFC, and 8th straight overall–dating back to Strikeforce. Previously ranked 13th, Green now finds himself into the top contenders in the division and may be only one more win away from a coveted title shot.