The second fight of the UFC on Fox 8 main card featured Robbie Lawler and Bobby Voelker, but the man nicknamed "Ruthless" was the one who stole the show.
Lawler looked fantastic early, getting the better of the striking game than his opponent. The Strikeforce veteran threw flying knees, head kicks and plenty of other strikes to keep Voelker on his toes.
The underdog would only survive one round.
Early in the second round, Lawler landed yet another head kick, sending Voelker crumbling to the mat. A few more strikes from Lawler ended the fight.
Here's what we learned from Lawler vs. Voelker.
What We Learned About Robbie Lawler
Lawler has been inconsistent over the past several years, failing to win consecutive fights since 2007. That, however, has changed now that Ruthless has won two straight as a UFC welterweight.
It's obvious at this point that he belongs at 170 pounds, not at middleweight. He looks quicker, sharper and more comfortable on the feet, and Voelker had no chance against him.
Against Voelker, we learned that Lawler is going to beat just about anyone outside the Top 10 in this division. After all, he had already knocked out Josh Koscheck since returning to the UFC.
And any questions about how his power would translate to the lighter weight class have been answered; he is lethal in his new division.
Unfortunately, we didn't learn exactly where his ceiling is in the division. He's in line to match up with a ranked man next, but we'll have to wait until that happens before gauging how far he could rise as a welterweight.
What We Learned About Bobby Voelker
Voelker finished out his Strikeforce career with three straight wins, but he just hasn't looked good since making the move to the UFC.
In his debut, he dropped a unanimous decision to Patrick Cote, and Lawler put him away with ease on Saturday night.
There's reason to believe that Voelker isn't capable of competing in the UFC.
Though he's fought 34 times as a professional, one would have difficulty finding a quality win on his record.
That's not to say he can't stick around by fighting guys who are less skilled than Cote or Lawler, but we know he can't hang with the Top-10 welterweights or anyone just outside the rankings.
If he gets another shot in the UFC, we also know that it will be must-win situation for him.
What's Next For Robbie Lawler?
Lawler got a Top-10 welterweight when he returned to the UFC, facing off against Koscheck and earning an improbable knockout. A matchup against Voelker was hardly the fight to vault Lawler into contention, but he should get a fairly high-profile matchup in his next go-around.
He and former Strikeforce champion Tarec Saffiedine were originally set to meet at UFC on Fox 8, but an injury forced the latter out of the bout. A re-booking of that fight makes the most sense, though Lawler could instead face the winner of Carlos Condit vs. Martin Kampmann II, which takes place at UFC Fight Night 27 on August 28. A meeting against the victor of that contest would be a major step up for Ruthless.
What's Next For Bobby Voelker?
If Voelker gets another opportunity in the UFC—he should since he was a late replacement against Lawler—it won't be against a guy coming off a win over Top-10 competition. Instead, he'll likely face another struggling welterweight.
Seth Baczynski is coming off a loss (his second in a row) at UFC 162, so a matchup between the two makes a lot of sense. It would almost certainly be a loser-goes-home kind of booking. And there are other fighters coming off losses who make sense as future opponents as well, including David Mitchell and fellow Strikeforce vet Tyron Woodley.
However, Voelker could also meet James Head, who meets Jason High at UFC Fight Night 27. Voelker and Head were originally scheduled to meet at that event before the former stepped in against Lawler.
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