Sunday, February 24, 2013

#Section131: Ruthlessness Returns to UFC

By Bradley Damron | Senior Sports Contributor


UFC 157 was a historic event. Obviously, the main event which featured Ronda Rousey and Liz Carmouche for the women’s bantamweight title was the first fight featuring females in UFC history. While many fight fans are talking about Rousey’s submission victory via armbar, the fight card featured something that intrigued me more – the UFC return of ‘Ruthless’ Robbie Lawler.


Lawler, who was moving down from middleweight to welterweight, is admittedly one of my favorite fighters to watch. He’s definitely not the top fighter in the sport, but he’s one of the most exciting. In a sport filled with many fighters looking to simply win on points, Lawler is a throwback to the days when those who entered the octagon tried their hardest to end fights and not try to win on points.

While Lawler’s record is good, it’s not the greatest in the fight game. He’s currently 20-9 with one no contest. Among those 20 victories are 17 knockouts and one submission. In his nine defeats, he has been submitted 5 times and knocked out once. In all, Lawler has only been in four matches that have gone the distance. You know that when he steps inside the cage that you’re going to see something exciting.

At one point, Lawler was one of the brightest young stars in the sport. After knocking out Steve Berger in 0:27 of the second round during the first mixed martial arts fight ever aired in US cable television history, the then 20-year-old’s popularity soared. It seemed like the sky was the limit. Of course, the fight game is fickle. Lawler lost three times in his next five appearances and was subsequently released from the UFC at the age of 22.

While his career had taken a downward turn, Lawler kept fighting in other promotions. He kept using his same style that made him a fan favorite and reeled off more brutal knockout victories, including a couple of gems against Frank Trigg and Murilo ‘Ninja’ Rua. He was the EliteXC Middleweight Champion before that promotion ceased its operations.

Lawler then moved to Strikeforce where he wasn’t as successful. He still picked up three first round knockout victories, including a classic against Melvin Manhoef. In fact, if you haven’t seen this event, go and find it online right now. You won’t be disappointed. Unfortunately, Lawler also lost five fights during that same span. While an exciting fighter, his style hasn’t always translated into wins. Still, when Strikeforce shut down, UFC President Dana White wanted to bring back Lawler. If nothing else, Lawler could give the UFC an exciting fight or two.

Lawler makes masterful use of "The Great Equalizer: Overhand Right" at Strikeforce: Miami on January 30, 2010.  (c) 2010 Zuffa, LLC

So, there he was on Saturday night facing off with Josh Koscheck more than eight years after he last graced a UFC cage. Koscheck was the favorite to win the fight. After all, Koscheck is a vastly superior wrestler who has been more impressive in recent years. Many fight fans, including myself, expected Koscheck to take Lawler down to the mat and either submit him or grind out a decision victory.

As the fight began, Koscheck was controlling the pace with his wrestling ability. He had Lawler pinned against the cage. Then, Lawler, now a 30-year-old, connected with a knee to the body. A few seconds later, he hit Koscheck with a knee to the head. Koscheck crumbled to the mat and Lawler went to work as punch after punch started finding its mark. After a moment, Koscheck was defenseless against the cage while Lawler dropped blow after blow to his head. Veteran referee Herb Dean stepped in to stop the fight. Koscheck thought the stoppage was early, but replays seemed to indicate that Dean saved him from suffering any unnecessary damage.

Source: Bleacher Report

There Lawler was, celebrating yet another knockout victory and re-establishing himself as a draw in the promotion that had previously discarded him. For his efforts, Lawler was awarded a bonus for Knockout of the Night.

Source: Yahoo! Sports

While we don’t know what the future holds for the ‘Ruthless’ one, the UFC needs more fighters like Lawler. The organization needs guys who go out there and try to finish each and every fight instead of just trying to impress the judges to gain a victory via decision. All fight fans like to be entertained and few entertain like Lawler. I am thrilled to see him showcasing his talents on the sport’s biggest stage once again.

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