UFC on FOX 12: Robbie Lawler-Matt Brown Battle is Latest Chapter in Memorable Title Shot Runs
By Kelsey Mowatt
If you had told someone in July, 2013, that in twelve months time, Robbie Lawler and Matt Brown would be fighting for a crack at the UFC welterweight title, chances are your prediction would not have been deemed ‘prescient.’
While Lawler had scored a stoppage win over Bobby Voelker at UFC on FOX 8, the bout was just his second since returning to the UFC. At the time, no one had any idea that Georges St-Pierre would be exiting from the championship stage several months later, and that Lawler would face Johny Hendricks for the vacant title in March, 2014. Lawler came up short against Hendricks at UFC 171, however, and was decisioned by the now, reigning champ.
Brown, on the other hand, was a few months removed from a memorable, stoppage win over Jordan Mein. Although “The Immortal” was making waves, since it was his fifth straight win, it wasn’t until he knocked out Mike Pyle in August that title shot talk kicked into high gear.
Now, the two are set to battle in the main event of UFC on FOX 12, and the winner will move on face Hendricks next. It’s a compelling fight, particularly when you consider that not that long ago, neither one was within reach of UFC gold.
“I’ve got a lot more experience,” Lawler told FOX Sports 2’s “UFC Tonight” recently, when asked what’s behind his recent run, which also includes wins over Rory MacDonald and Josh Koscheck. “The training at American Top Team has helped. There’re a lot of good guys who have pushed me get better. The coaches put me in the positions I’d be in the fights, so I’ve been there a thousand times and know what to expect.”
“He’s looked unstoppable lately,” UFC middleweight and commentator Michael Bisping added. “It’s going to be a great fight. He was using his natural talent to get by, but now he’s really motivated to be the world champion. While Lawler has natural talent, Matt Brown doesn’t have all the talent, but he’s done it all with sheer hard work.”
Brown’s rise up the welterweight rankings has been even more captivating, since it’s come after a stretch in 2010 and 2011, where the vet lost three of four fights. Since 2012, however, the 33 year-old has won seven in a row.
“Every fight is the biggest fight,” Brown told FOX Sports 2, when asked about the pressure that’s tied to a title shot eliminator. “I’ve gotten in enough fights. I know what I’m doing in there, whether it’s a fight for the title or in a backyard. Once leather is thrown, then there’s just a flow.”
On paper, the fight itself appears to be something special, since both men are aggressive fighters and highlight reel finishers. While neither man is likely a household name in mainstream North America, there’s no denying that Lawler and Brown are fan favourites within the MMA world.
“I’ve got to just go out there, move my feet, dictate the pace, not let him get in my face and put a hurting on him,” Lawler relayed on “UFC Tonight”, while discussing Brown and his relentless approach.
“He doesn’t show a lot of weaknesses,” said Brown. “I watched the Hendricks fight and Hendricks and I are very different fighters, so I’ll fight him differently. I see what I see and I’m going to have my opportunities to put it on Lawler on Saturday.”
UFC on FOX 12 will be hosted by San Jose’s SAP Center.