Two of the most exciting Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight fighters ever, Robbie Lawler and Donald Cerrone, finally locked horns tonight (Sat., July 29, 2017) in a highly-anticipated showdown at UFC 214, which took place inside Honda Center in Anaheim, California.
And it was well worth waiting for, somehow living up to its lofty expectations. After three rounds of hectic back-and-forth action, though, only one man could leave the Octagon with his hand raised. And that man was Robbie Lawler.
Lawler came out of his corner like he was shot out of a cannon, drilling Cerrone with a barrage of shots that forced him try and tie up his arms. He nailed Cerrone with countless shots as “Cowboy” hung on for dear life, trying to weather the violent tornado of “Ruthless” limbs. Cerrone hung in there and was eventually able to slow the blistering pace as the two exchanged knees as they jockeyed for position. Lawler gave him zero space to work for the first half of the fight, but Cerrone was finally able to get some distance to uncork a head kick and then a nice short shot, which Lawler countered with a sharp elbow. Cerrone was able to get the fight to the floor where he eventually was able to pass his guard and get into a north-south position where he drilled Lawler with a knee before he scrambled to his feet. On the break Cerrone landed a solid elbow and then a partially-blocked head kick as a furiously-paced first round finally came to a close.
Cerrone was all smiles to start the second stanza as Lawler came out looking all business. Cerrone got the action started, drilling Lawler with several head shots as he was seemingle able to work from distance. Lawler waded in to dirty things up, but Cerrone welcomed him with a hard elbow to the temple. Cerrone kept Lawler at bat for the first half of the round with teeps and low kicks as “Ruthless” looked for an opening to exploit and explode. He unleashed a head kick, but Cerrone responded with a flurry that had him backtracking almost immediately. Cerrone faked a takedown then nailed Lawler with a knee as he ducked to protect, putting the former champion on the run once again. With 25 seconds to go, a brief firefight broke out, but nothing of significance landed besides a straight right hand for Cerrone as the round came to a close.
Third and final frame, and it was seemingly split one round apiece. Cerrone started with an uppercut, but then Lawler nailed him with a nice head kick moments later. Lawler was back to his first round form, chasing Cerrone around the cage and looking to ignite a brawl. Lawler’s corner called for liver shots, but their corner was more content to head hunt. Cerrone, perhaps fatigued, attempted a few takedowns to keep Lawler honest, but nothing materialized. Lawler landed a terrific combination at the two-minute mark that had Cerrone biting down on his mouthpiece. Cerrone fired back, but it didn’t seem as though he had much left at the end of his punches. Lawler continued to pour on the pressure with a mix of head and body shots. Cerrone tried to slow his advance, but Lawler kept charging. He landed a shot toward the end of the match that had Cerrone hurt, but it was an inadvertent eyepoke that did not require a referee stoppage.
Both fighters headed back to their corners after a very close final round. It was really a toss up as to who got the better of who — it was such an evenly-matched bout — but in the end the three judges sitting ringside all thought Lawler did more to get the nod, most likely because of his constant pressure in the first and seconds rounds. It was a great return to form for Lawler, who took a year off after his knockout loss to Tyron Woodley and turned in a classic “Ruthless” performance.
Welcome back, champ!
For complete UFC 214: “Cormier vs. Jones 2” results, including play-by-play updates, click here.