This Saturday is going to mark one of the most highly anticipated top-contender bouts of the year.
As two of the very best welterweight brawlers on the planet, Robbie Lawler and Matt Brown are going to wage war for what can end up being five death-defying rounds.
But considering each threat to the title encompasses his own stockpile of finishing ability, don't count on this one ending up in the judges' hands.
With their own game plans in check and their respective win streaks on the line, Lawler and Brown are going to go all out when the cage door closes this weekend.
Here are keys to victory for each 170-pound beast as the winner at UFC on Fox 12 will get a shot at champion Johny Hendricks.
Keys to victory for Lawler
Keep a steady pace
Lawler has a knack for hanging around in fights when maybe he shouldn't be.
Now while that's an awesome attribute to possess, one that has fueled come-from-behind victories in the past (e.g., Rory MacDonald), it isn't a game Lawler will want to play against a menacing madman like Brown.
With one of the highest motors in the division and arguably the best at capitalizing on split-second opportunities, Brown isn't the type of fighter you want to gas out on.
That's why Lawler needs to pace himself early and often.
Not to the effect of holding punches or disengaging in close-knit exchanges, but more in the sense of knowing when to pull back, regain his composure, catch his breath and go back in for the kill.
Don't shy away from a takedown
Yes, most of Brown's success spanning his last seven fights has come at the destruction of his penetrating fists.
But that doesn't mean his striking deserves all the credit.
No. Behind his overwhelming pressure and persistence on the feet is Brown's recent evolution as a fighter who knows how to stay off the ground.
He has only been taken down once throughout his illustrious winning streak, spanning a total of 15 rounds, suggesting that his wrestling these days is just as potent as his ferocious striking.
That said, Lawler has to be willing to get his hands dirty to defeat a potent finisher like Brown.
The opportunity to buckle Brown on his feet might not come as easy as he thinks, so Lawler must be capable of securing a takedown and taking his opponent away from his bread and butter.
Keys to victory for Brown
Lawler isn't easy to hurt, but Brown sure knows how to inflict pain in bunches.
So if The Immortal wants to do the most damage and take Lawler out of his element early, then he should land early.
It's as simple as that.
But with juggernaut hands returning in his direction, Brown needs to play his cards right and remain patient.
One false attempt to catch Lawler off guard could spell disaster for a fighter who has never been finished by strikes.
This is a huge fight for Brown.
Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, he has not only redefined his professional career over the last few years, but his life.
For him to truly cash in on this second chance to do what he was born and bred to do, Brown must understand the magnitude of the task at hand.
Lawler is as tough as they come. He's a guy who went toe-to-toe with Hendricks, powered his way past MacDonald and made Jake Ellenberger's striking look like that of Jake Shields.
Taking all of that into consideration, Brown's best recipe for success is to stay loose.
He must maintain a sense of zen, even though that's completely unrealistic for a fighter of his style, in order to push a welterweight like Lawler to the brink.
But just because he needs to remain unpredictable, confident, versatile and controlling doesn't mean the 33-year-old can't incorporate the same skin-splitting violence he's used to producing.
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