UFC on Fox 12: Robbie Lawler vs. Matt Brown Full Head-to-Toe Breakdown
This Saturday in San Jose, California, a highly anticipated fight finally takes place in the welterweight division between "Ruthless" Robbie Lawler and Matt Brown. Brown is on a highly impressive win streak and the best run of his career, while Lawler is itching to get another shot at the title and Johny Hendricks.
The fans have been excited for this fight since the moment it was announced, because these two are going to go out and have an absolute war.
The winner of this fight has been confirmed to get the next title shot, and while some people fight cautiously with a title shot on the line, don't expect that from these two.
Let's check out who has the edge going into their fight on Fox.
Lawler is known for his striking. Of his 23 career wins, he has scored 19 by (T)KO, and maybe more impressive is the fact that he was only stopped with strikes once, against Nick Diaz 10 years ago.
Lawler has scored knockouts over Jake Ellenberger, Josh Koscheck, Matt Lindland, Melvin Manhoef and the list just goes on and on. In addition to that, in Lawler's title fight against Hendricks, the two combined to land the most strikes ever in a UFC title fight.
Brown isn't exactly known for his striking the same way that Lawler is, but that doesn't mean his striking isn't dangerous. Of his 21 wins, he has scored 12 by knockout. Not as impressive a number as Lawler, but on Brown's current seven-fight win streak, he has scored six wins by (T)KO and his last five in a row.
While Brown has been impressive as of late, he is also more easily hurt with strikes than Lawler, and Lawler's overall stand-up game is better than Brown's.
Brown is more of a grappler than a striker. He likes to take his opponents down, beat them up and absolutely break them. Against Erick Silva, Brown went 5-5 on his takedowns, which played a huge part in his third-round TKO victory.
Against Stephen Thompson, Brown also used his grappling, scoring five out of 13 takedowns en route to a unanimous-decision victory.
Lawler is simply not much of a grappler. You're unlikely to see him go for a takedown unless he were to feel as though he was in serious danger. Against Johny Hendricks, in a five-round fight, Lawler attempted zero takedowns while defending eight out of the 10 that Hendricks attempted.
Lawler is more of a defensive grappler, while Brown is more offensive, and in this case, Brown's offense outweighs Lawler's defense.
Neither fighter is very submission-focused. Lawler has won one fight in his career by submission, and it came back in 2005 in the King of the Cage organization.
Most of the submissions on Lawler's record are losses, and of his 10 losses, five have come by submission—one of those was a submission to injury.
Brown is in a similar position to Lawler. Brown has just three of his 21 wins by submission, but nine of his 11 losses were by submission. At one point in 2010, he lost three fights in a row by second-round submission.
Brown is a brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, which makes you wonder about his past submission defense. He has attempted submissions in many of his past fights, but don't expect him to lock one up here.
Brown is known for his tenacity and grit when he's in the Octagon. He's like Chris Leben in the sense that when he's hurt, he's still incredibly dangerous. If he keeps the pressure on Lawler and makes sure to always move forward, he has a good chance of keeping Lawler on his heels and landing big strikes.
He should also be sure to protect his body. He was badly hurt to the body more than once in his fight against Silva, and if Lawler is able to hurt him the same way, he may not have time to recover.
Lawler's game plan isn't a secret. He goes out there to try to knock people out. That's easier said than done with a guy like Brown, who has never been stopped with strikes. Of course, Lawler has likely done his research and seen where and when Brown is vulnerable and how to capitalize.
Body shots will likely be a part of Lawler's game plan, as Silva nearly finished Brown after landing a few.
This could be another case of counting out Brown when you shouldn't, but Lawler looks poised to pick up the win on Saturday.
Lawler has been unstoppable since returning to the Octagon, picking up wins in four of his five fights and only losing a razor-thin decision to Hendricks with the vacant title on the line.
Lawler is going to try to be the first person to stop Brown with strikes, and he has a very good chance of accomplishing that. A few body shots to get Brown to drop his hands would open up an opportunity for a head kick, much like we saw Donald Cerrone do to Jim Miller recently.
Brown can absolutely win this fight—you simply can't count him out. Nevertheless, Lawler is on a mission to get back to that title fight and take the belt from Hendricks.
Prediction: Lawler wins by fourth-round TKO.