Former UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler is set to return to action in Newark, New Jersey, when he takes on former interim champion Colby Covington. Lawler last controversially lost to Ben Askren at UFC 235, via bulldog choke. The #10 ranked contender was last scheduled to rematch the man to whom he lost his title to, Tyron Woodley.
In the lead up to Lawler’s return to the Octagon, Planet MMA will take a look at the greatest finishes of his career to date. See our list below:
5. Strikeforce: Miami – Melvin Manhoef (KO)
Following his Strikeforce debut loss to Jake Shields, Robbie Lawler entered a fight with Melvin Manhoef with the odds stacked heavily against him. Manhoef was known to be a knockout-artist in the middleweight division, and was expected to make quick work of Lawler. However, ‘Ruthless‘ didn’t want to stick to the oddsmakers’ script.
Manhoef began strong, landing heavy leg and body kicks. The majority of the kicks sent Lawler’s legs airborne. As Manhoef began to tee-off on Lawler, the then-Coconut Creek fighter landed a vicious right hand that put Manhoef to sleep.
4. Strikeforce: Rockhold vs Kennedy – Adlan Amagov (TKO)
‘Ruthless‘ was on a 2-fight losing-skid when he fought Adlan Amagov in Las Vegas. He had lost to ‘Jacare‘ Souza & Tim Kennedy in his previous two encounters. Lawler decided that third loss was not needed and snapped the losing streak.
Lawler charged forth early-on in the first round & connected with Amagov’s forehead with a flying knee. The Chechen dropped to the floor and the future champion followed up with strikes to get the finish.
3. UFC on Fox: Johnson vs Moraga – Bobby Voelker (KO)
Coming off the back of a very successful return to the UFC, Lawler looked to continue his momentum. Lawler came out all-guns-blazing at the beginning of the second round, connecting with a brutal head kick. The kick rendered Voelker unconscious before he hit the ground. Lawler followed up with heavy ground-and-pound to get the finish. His celebration after the fight is now known as a trademark of his.
2. UFC 189 – Rory MacDonald (TKO)
In what is widely regarded as the greatest fight in MMA history, Canadian prodigy Rory MacDonald got his first crack at UFC gold, when he took on newly crowned champion Robbie Lawler. The fight would be the co-main event of UFC 189, but was the main talking point amongst fans after the card had finished.
Heading into the 5th round, it was 2-2. Both fighters had lost incredible amounts of blood, with MacDonald’s nose being shattered & Lawler’s upper lip being split open. Having absorbed an extreme amount of strikes in the previous 4 rounds, MacDonald’s body could take no more. A straight left from Lawler sent the ‘Red King‘ to the mat. That moment is known as one of, if not the greatest, triumphs of Lawler’s career.
1. UFC 157 – Josh Koscheck (TKO)
Following the UFC’s acquisition of Strikeforce, the middleweight hopped back down to 170lbs for his return to the MMA Leader. Lawler was considered to be on a sharp decline, being 2-3 in his last 5. He was paired up with Josh Koscheck, a strong wrestler that could present problems for Lawler.
Koscheck started strong, quickly securing the takedown and bullying Lawler to the cage. Lawler looked to have no answer for the high-level wrestling of Koscheck, until a scuffle between the two. With 71 seconds to go in the round, Lawler connected with a knee that staggered his opponent for long enough to reverse the position. Lawler ended up on Koscheck’s back, raining down heavy shots. Koscheck was overwhelmed by the barrage and was left KO’d by the punches.
That KO is known as the starting point for one of the greatest career redemption stories that MMA has ever seen.
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