In Case You Missed It: Robbie Lawler & Matt Brown Didn’t Disappoint

The UFC giveth and the UFC taketh away.

Just weeks after the organization canceled the August 2 scheduled Pay-Per-View event, UFC 176, due to lack of a big-name bout to fill the Main Event on the card, the UFC staged possibly its most loaded national broadcast ever. 

If the Fight Gods were trying to make up for robbing us of the upcoming Jon Jones-Alexander Gustafsson rematch after Gustafsson tore his meniscus, it seems they’ve done a more than satisfactory job.

A critical title elimination bout between welterweights Robbie Lawler and Matt Brown headlined Saturday’s event, which was nicknamed UFC on Fox 12. The nationally broadcasted main card featured not only that fight to determine the top contender for the welterweight championship, but also several other fights between divisionally ranked opponents 

UFC commissioner Dana White had announced in late May that the winner of the Lawler-Brown fight would be rewarded with a fight against Johny Hendricks and the next shot at Bigg Rigg’s belt. With all that on the line, as well as two fighters with devastating striking ability, the fight had all the makings of a full-out war. It did not disappoint.

Lawler (24-10, 1 NC) was heavily favored entering the fight, which was understandable, considering he was coming off a decimation of top contender Jake Ellenberger at UFC 171. Brown (24-11) proved to be a worthy adversary, however, landing several big punches and pushing Ruthless Robbie for five full rounds.

“I told [Brown] there are two champions in this ring tonight,” Lawler said. “He’s a hell of a fighter. He came toe-to-toe with me. Not too many people would do that.”

In the end, however, Lawler’s wrestling proved too much for Brown, who was continually frustrated at not being able to get the takedown he wanted. The 32-year old Lawler won a unanimous decision 49-46, 49-46, 48-47, and will face Hendricks probably late this year or very early in 2015, as the champion recovers from a torn biceps.

“I’m very excited to get back to work and go after Hendricks,” the San Diego native said. “He’s nursing some injuries right now, but I’ll be the one waiting for him. 

Related: UFC 175 Reaction: What Did We Learn?

The headlining fight was not the only fight that provided fireworks, however. The fight preceding the bout between Lawler and Brown featured Anthony Johnson loudly announcing his return to the light heavyweight title picture.

Prior to a fight against Phil Davis in April, Johnson had not fought in the UFC since January of 2012, after missing weight multiple times and being released by the promotion. “Rumble” easily overcame top contender Davis in his return and then on Saturday defeated No. 14 Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in just 44 seconds.

Actually, to say that Johnson “defeated” Lil Nog is kind of like saying that Michael Jordan was a decent basketball player; it just doesn’t do it justice. Johnson knocked out the would-be contender with a series of vicious right uppercuts, the last of which came after Nogueira had completely dropped his guard. The punch that ended the fight was one of the most perfectly landed uppercuts this writer has seen in his time following the UFC.

“Hopefully I keep putting fear in everybody’s hearts,” Johnson said in the post-fight interview. “I have been down a pretty crazy road, the story of me is pretty out there. But I’m not afraid to admit my faults.”

Going into the fight, the consensus seemed to be that, after Daniel Cormier and Gustafsson, there weren’t many true challengers to Jones’ run of dominance in the 205-pound division. Well, you can add Johnson to that list. He might have punched his way to the top of the list with that resounding victory.

Although there won’t be another Pay-Per-View event for the UFC until August 30, the exciting card that the organization put together for Saturday’s event should keep fans talking for quite some time.

Dylan Sinn is a freelance contributor for CraveOnline Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSinn or “like” CraveOnline Sports on Facebook.

Photo Credit: Getty