Robbie Lawler‘s first stint in the UFC in 2002 was marked with brutal knockouts. Over a decade later in his second run in the organization, nothing has changed. He has two wins over Josh Koscheck and Bobby Voelker, both devastating finishes via strikes. Now he runs into another wrecking machine in Canadian welterweight Rory MacDonald, as the two are set to tangle on November 16 at UFC 167.
Here’s a look into how this very intriguing 170-pound tilt will unfold.
Most people were disappointed by the way the fight between MacDonald and Jake Ellenberger unfolded. I was one of those people. The letdown was due to very high expectations based on how dynamic and exciting both fighters have been in the past.
However, one thing which was highly impressive about MacDonald in this fight was the way he nullified an extremely dangerous striker in Ellenberger. Using his jab to perfection, MacDonald thwarted the strong pugilistic skills of Ellenberger and pretty much rendered his striking attack useless for the contest.
That is something that I feel will help MacDonald against Lawler. The power edge definitely is in Lawler’s hands and if there is finish on the feet, it will likely be for “Ruthless” in this bout. However, I feel Tristar’s head coach, Firas Zahabi, will be able to put together a good game plan to avoid the killer striking blows of Lawler.
If someone’s going for takedowns in this fight, it’s probably MacDonald, and he has the snap in his shots and athleticism to get it done. Lawler is content to throw bombs and knock his opponents out as opposed to using wrestling, and it’s a good strategy which has worked for him. There will be no takedown attempts for Lawler, but some from MacDonald, and he will land some good ones.
If the fight goes to the floor, Lawler will be looking to get back to his feet. He isn’t going to be going for creative submission attacks from his back. His game plan is generally pretty simple: strike with his fists and get the knockout. So Lawler won’t be going for subs, but MacDonald might try a couple if they end up on the floor.
However, the BJJ of MacDonald will be largely used to set up further striking damage on the ground. He’ll try and advance position to hurt his opponent with greater force from fists and elbows. MacDonald’s ground-and-pound is arguably the best at 170.
This is a 15-minute fight and since these guys are so experienced at this point, I doubt either will fade even in the latter stages of the third round, should it even make it that far.
If this fight is a finish, it will more than likely be Lawler getting a knockout in the first round. However, MacDonald has shown that he can stifle the striking attack of powerful kickboxers, and that tool will be very handy in this fight against Lawler. Expect MacDonald to use his jab, avoid the big consciousness-removing punches from Lawler, get the fight the floor and win via mostly ground-and-pound attack.
Winner: MacDonald, Decision