Robbie Lawler has proven himself as a dominant UFC welterweight champion but he faces another difficult opponent in American Top Team teammate in Tyron Woodley tonight. at UFC 201.
The MMA math happens to favour Lawler: Rory MacDonald beat Woodley by unanimous decision in 2014 and Lawler beat MacDonald by TKO in an epic bout in 2015.
Who will rise tonight?
Welcome back to The Crossfire.
Kenai Andrews runs it down:
UFC FIGHT PASS PRELIMS (7PM ET/4PM PT)
CEZAR ARZAMENDIA (7-2-0) VS DAMIEN BROWN (15-9-0)
Andrews: Both fighters lost their UFC debuts but at the weigh-ins I thought Arzamendia had a sparkle in his eye and demeanour. The stats are also in his favour and as long as he can keep the fight standing, he should get the decision.
Andrews Prediction: Cezar Arzamendia via unanimous decision
MICHAEL GRAVES (6-0-0) VS BOJAN VELICKOVIC (14-3-0)
Andrews: Graves can get it done anywhere, but Velikovic isn’t a tomato can. It will be a close fight, but when the dust settles, Graves should be able to get the win.
Andrews Prediction: Michael Graves via unanimous decision
TSN 5 PRELIMS (8PM ET/5PM PT)
WILSON REIS (20-6-0) VS HECTOR SANDOVAL (12-2-0)
Andrews: Reis is welcoming Sandoval to the octagon. Sandoval looks capable of the upset but I don’t see him escaping the ground once Reis puts him there.
Andrews Prediction: Wilson Reis via unanimous decision
DAMIAN GRABOWKSI (20-3-0) VS ANTHONY HAMILTON (14-5-0)
Andrews: Both are susceptible to the big strike, but can Hamilton get off before Grabovski takes him down? Have to go with The Polish Pitbull.
Andrews Prediction: Damain Grabowski via unanimous decision
ROSS PEARSON (21-11-0, 1NC) VS JORGE MASVIDAL (29-11-0)
Andrews: Should be a good fight, with Masvidal enjoying a 5-inch reach advantage. Pearson is returning quick but the problem is his ground game. The crafty Masvidal can take him there anytime things get dangerous on the feet. It’s that craftiness that should get him the win.
Andrews Prediction: Jorge Masvidal via unanimous decision
#11 NIKITA KRYLOV (20-4-0) VS ED HERMAN (23-11-0)
Andrews: Interesting matchup as Krylov has a 100% finish rate. Herman has shown a flair for the upset lately, but I have to go with Krylov getting the tap.
Andrews Prediction: Nikita Krylov via submission
MAIN CARD (10PM ET/7PM PT)
RYAN BENOIT (8-4-0) VS FREDDY SERRANO (3-0-0)
Andrews: Should be a close fight, but I’m calling an upset here as Serrano lands the strike before Benoit can pile up enough points on the ground.
Andrews Prediction: Freddy Serrano via TKO
FRANCISCO RIVERA (11-6-0, 1NC) VS ERIK PEREZ (15-6-0)
Andrews: I like Rivera and his striking, but I think Perez will eventually get the takedown and pile up the points there. Should be a technical affair.
Andrews Prediction: Erik Perez via unanimous decision
#9 MATT BROWN (22-14-0) VS JAKE ELLENBERGER (30-11-0)
Andrews: Both fighters are a combined 2-8-0 in their last ten bouts. It’s hard to go against Matt Brown here should be able to avoid the takedown and make Ellenberger tentative on the feet.
Andrews Prediction: Matt Brown via unanimous decision
#3 ROSE NAMAJUNAS (6-2-0) VS #5 KAROLINA KOWALKIEWICZ (9-0-0)
Andrews: A real test for Karolina as I think she can hang with Rose on the feet but can she handle herself when the fight goes to the ground? She has good takedown defence, but we’ve never seen her fight anyone of Rose’s caliber. So I have to go with Namajunas.
Andrews Prediction: Rose Namajunas via unanimous decision
#3 ROBBIE LAWLER (26-10-0, 1NC) VS #4 TYRON WOODLEY (15-3-0)
Andrews: I felt Woodley was going to upset Lawler up until the weigh-ins. Lawler looked prime and ready to go. We’ll see the best Woodley yet and of course it will be a war but when the dust settles, Lawler will emerge the winner.
Andrews Prediction: Robbie Lawler via unanimous decision