UFC on Fox 12: Is Matt Brown in over His Head Against Robbie Lawler?

Kristian IbarraFeatured ColumnistJuly 21, 2014

Matt Brown, left, during his UFC welterweight mixed martial art match against Chris Lytle Saturday, July 3, 2010 at The MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Eric Jamison)
Eric Jamison/Associated Press

Matt Brown once authored a 12-11 record as a professional mixed martial artist, leaving many questioning whether or not The Immortal had a place among the sport’s elite. 

He’s since capped off a seven-fight winning streak and thrust himself into the title conversation, silencing most of his doubters. 

“Cincinnati, Ohio, who do you want to see fight for the title next?” Brown asked the fans in attendance after his comeback performance against Erick Silva at UFC Fight Night in May. 

Though few men inside the Octagon’s welterweight division can attest to the same type of streak Brown’s held since 2012, The Immortal’s got one last task before he can get to the champ—his name is Robbie Lawler

Lawler’s victory streak is nowhere near as impressive as Brown’s currently is, but that hasn’t stopped many from wondering if the latter fighter is in over his head as he prepares for the UFC’s No. 1-ranked welterweight. 

Yes, Brown’s been victorious in his past seven—with six of those wins coming by way of knockout or TKO—but those numbers alone shouldn’t grant Brown an automatic nod against the former welterweight title contender. 

Dust off your magnifying glass, inspect Brown’s last five fights a little closer and see for yourself why his winning streak hasn’t already catapulted him into any title fights. 

Matt Brown's Last 5 Fights
EventOpponentOutcomeMethodOpponent's Current Ranking
UFC Fight Night 40Erick SilvaWinKO/TKO15
UFC Fight Night 26Mike PyleWinKO/TKON/R
UFC on Fox 7Jordan MeinWinKO/TKON/R
UFC on Fox 5Mike SwickWinKO/TKON/R
UFC on FX 4Luis RamosWinKO/TKON/R
UFC

It’s not his fault, though—the UFC just hasn’t given many opportunities against the division’s elite. He had his chance against the promotion’s No. 3-ranked contender, Carlos Condit, back in December before falling victim to two herniated discs in his back before the bout. 

He’ll get just what he needs to validate his winning streak this Saturday: a bout with a top-10 opponent

That top-10 opponent, while not undefeated in his last five bouts, has faced much, much stronger competition. 

Robbie Lawler's Last 5 Fights
EventOpponentOutcomeMethodOpponent's Current Ranking
UFC 173Jake EllenbergerWinKO/TKO7
UFC 171Johny HendricksLossUnanimous DecisionChampion
UFC 167Rory MacDonaldWinSplit Decision2
UFC on Fox 8Bobby VoelkerWinKO/TKON/R
UFC 157Josh KoscheckWinKO/TKON/R
UFC

Brown’s most recent victory was a few strikes away from being a loss, while Lawler’s most recent loss was a late takedown away from being a win. 

It’s worth noting that Brown’s near-loss stemmed from a body kick from an orthodox fighter that all but folded him like a lawn chair. Silva couldn’t capitalize and let a recovered Brown put a shiny bow on what Jon Anik called “one of the greatest performances in UFC history.” 

May 24, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Robbie Lawler (red) kicks Jake Ellenberger (blue) during their UFC 173 light heavyweight bout at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Lawler won his bout by way of TKO. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY Sports

He’ll naturally be at greater risk of facing that same type of strike against a southpaw Lawler on Saturday, and you can bet Ruthless will be ruthless if he sees Brown in any sort of visible distress during their No. 1 contender bout at UFC on Fox 12.

Ruthless and The Immortal have their eyes set on getting inside the Octagon with Johny Hendricks. A win against a resurgent Brown is all Lawler needs before he’s able to punch his ticket back to the dance. A win against a proven Lawler is the last piece of the puzzle before Brown can effectively silence all of the critics.

Whether or not you think Brown is in over his head is irrelevantfew excuses should prevent you from tuning in to this guaranteed barnburner.

 

Kristian Ibarra is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report. He also serves as the sports editor at San Diego State University's student-run newspaper, The Daily Aztec. Follow him on Twitter at @Kristian_Ibarra for all things MMA.