Rafael Dos Anjos picked up a statement win over Robbie Lawler via unanimous decision in the main event of UFC on Fox 26 from Bell MTS Place in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on Saturday.
The welterweight took the former champion to task for five rounds, picking up the clean sweep on all three judges' scorecards (50-45, 50-45, 50-45).
Dos Anjos began the first round impressively. RDA countered Lawler's pressure with leg kicks and scored points in the clinch, answering the early question of whether Lawler would be too strong for the former lightweight.
Sherdog scored the first frame for Dos Anjos based on the kicks:
The second round saw things heat up considerably as Dos Anjos had Lawler rocked in the early going. Even though the Brazilian unloaded his entire arsenal, he couldn't draw the finish, as Fox Sports UFC relayed:
It looked like Lawler might have been able to reverse his fortunes in the third round. Dos Anjos' cardio was in question after he appeared gassed at the end of the second round, but he responded with a takedown to open the frame.
Later, Ruthless scored points of his own in the clinch, but a standing elbow scored a knockdown for RDA. Dos Anjos finished the round in top position, and it appeared that another frame would be scored for him.
UFC Canada passed along some of the ground-and-pound from Dos Anjos:
The championship rounds proved to be no obstacle for Dos Anjos. The leg kicks piled up on Lawler as he struggled to put weight on his lead leg, and Dos Anjos took advantage. RDA finished the round with a flashy flying knee, looking for the highlight-reel knockout, courtesy of UFC Canada:
Dos Anjos couldn't draw the finish, but it was as comprehensive a win as one would expect against someone with Lawler's toughness. It was the kind of performance that should have plenty of people looking for him to get another shot at UFC gold—this time against Tyron Woodley.
E. Spencer Kyte of Sporting News was one of many who voiced that opinion after the bout:
Following the win, RDA wasn't shy about making his case, per MMA Fighting:
Overall, the fans in Winnipeg were treated to an exciting night of fights. Here's a look at the complete results from the card, which featured plenty of finishes:
- Robbie Lawler def. Rafael Dos Anjos via unanimous decision
- Josh Emmett def. Ricardo Lamas via first-round TKO (4:33)
- Santiago Ponzinibbio def. Mike Perry via unanimous decision
- Glover Teixeira def. Misha Cirkunov via first-round TKO (2:45)
- Jan Blachowicz def. Jared Cannonier via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Julian Marquez def. Darren Stewart via submission (RNC) (R2, 2:14)
- Chad Laprise def. Galore Bofando via first-round TKO (4:10)
- Nordine Taleb def. Danny Roberts via first-round KO (0:59)
- John Makdessi def. Abel Trujillo via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Alessio Di Chirico def. Oluwale Bamgbose via second-round KO (2:14)
- Jordan Mein def. Erick Silva via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)
Ricardo Lamas vs. Josh Emmett
UFC on Fox 26 was supposed to be Ricardo Lamas' opportunity to avenge a loss to Jose Aldo.
Then it was supposed to be a display of his skills against Josh Emmett.
Then it turned into the biggest moment of Emmett's career.
Emmett stepped in as a short-notice replacement when Aldo was called up to fill in for Frankie Edgar in a title fight against Max Holloway.
The 32-year-old Team Alpha Male product was aggressive in throwing heavy strikes at every opportunity, but Lamas' defense proved to be difficult to penetrate. Until it wasn't.
Emmett threw a right hook that Lamas evaded, but then he threw a left hook that put Lamas out instantly for the walk-off knockout. UFC on Fox passed along the highlight:
After the bout, Emmett spoke confidently about his intentions to beat the No. 3 featherweight, per MMA Fighting:
It's worth noting Emmett missed weight leading into the bout. However, if he can find a way to make 145 pounds on a consistent basis, this could be the kind of performance that puts him in contention.
Mike Perry vs. Santiago Ponzinibbio
The welterweight matchup between Mike Perry and Santiago Ponzinibbio promised action, and it delivered.
Platinum came out in the first round and applied the pressure he's known for. His looping punches and aggression gave him the initial frame as Ponzinibbio tried to combat Perry's assault. UFC Canada provided a look at the action:
In the second round, Ponzinibbio rallied, countering Perry's attack with sharp left hooks and leg kicks. Perry continued to fight back and landed shots of his own, but it was Ponzinibbio's frame. The UFC shared the excitement on Twitter:
That momentum carried the Argentinian through to the second round. He shocked Perry with a spinning back fist that introduced him to the floor, via UFC Canada:
Ponzinibbio later scored a takedown and owned the third round with advantageous position on the ground. It was a dangerous fight against an unranked opponent for the No. 10 Ponzinibbio, but it was one that showcased his diverse skill set against a powerful striker.
The win marks the sixth in a row for Ponzinibbio, and it wouldn't be shocking if his next bout is against a Top Five fighter in the division. He said he'd like to see the winner of the main event in a bout for the interim title in the welterweight division, per MMA Fighting's Ariel Helwani:
Glover Teixeira vs. Misha Cirkunov
Glover Teixeira wanted to put his name back in the mix for a title shot heading into his matchup with Misha Cirkunov. He did his best to do just that in a first-round TKO victory.
Cirkunov took the early lead. He looked to pressure initially, and it worked. Unfortunately for him, that forced Teixeira into a takedown attempt, which was the beginning of the end for Cirkunov.
The Brazilian tried a rear-naked choke before transitioning to mount, taking his opponent's back, flattening Cirkunov and finishing the fight with strikes. Teixeira wasted little time in going over to say a few things to light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier cageside, via the UFC:
This was a big win for Teixeira. He rebounded from a May 2017 loss in which Alexander Gustafsson knocked him out.
The fight exemplified why the light heavyweight rankings are littered with the same names we've seen for the last five years. Anytime a young talent earns an opportunity to get into the division's Top Five, someone such as Teixeira beats him.
This is now back-to-back losses for the 30-year-old. He's going to need a win his next time out to return to the division's Top 10 conversation.