UFC on Fox 12: Robbie Lawler vs. Matt Brown Review
Last night’s Fox main event between Robbie Lawler and Matt Brown was the big budget popcorn flick that you “didn’t like” because it fell short of your high expectations when, in reality, you just need to take a second to analyze how your brain works because it was still pretty great. This is what happens when you start promoting a fight as the “fight of the year” before it’s even taken place. Which isn’t to say that the UFC/Fox made a mistake promoting this fight as such, but the risk you take is a bunch of people acting butthurt because you didn’t deliver on what was promised.
OUT OF THE FOXHOLE
Lawler moves on to a rematch with Johny Hendricks at some undetermined date in the fall/winter. Hendricks has already opened as a -235 favorite. He opened as a -260 favorite for the first fight before closing around -400, though given the results of that fight and Lawler’s rebound, I don’t expect the line to move as much this time around.
Lawler’s schedule is an interesting variable heading into the rematch. He’s fought twice since the first fight with Hendricks, who has been rehabbing a surgically-repaired torn bicep in the interim. Since last July, Lawler’s fought five times to Hendricks’ two, and three of those five fights were tough wars of attrition. Hendricks has dealt with that in both of his fights this past year (and a third if you go back to March of 2013 against Condit), but his body’s been afforded time to recuperate
As for Brown, he may have lost his only shot at a title belt, but he acquitted himself against a legitimate top-three welterweight. A seven-fight winning streak in the UFC is impressive no matter the competition, but Brown’s run included no one inside the top ten. He proved he deserves his spot in the rankings despite the loss. There are a lot of great matchups for Brown with welterweight as wide open as it is, but a fight against Carlos Condit – a fight originally scheduled for UFC on Fox 9 – sounds right if Condit’s is on the fast track to recovery.
STUMBLING THEN RUMBLING
Guess what happens when you put a power-punching behemoth against a guy who is 38 going on 59? You wind up with a video game scenario where the old man takes an uppercut to the face as he falls to the floor.
Two-and-a-half years ago, the UFC cut Anthony Johnson after his third time failing to make weight (and coming it 11 pounds over for his middleweight debut) and a loss to Vitor Belfort. He then failed to make weight for his first fight, at middleweight, outside the UFC (though his opponent, Dave Branch, also failed). He won that fight, though, and, after moving up to light heavyweight, won the next five after that, including a decision over Andrei Arlovski at heavyweight in World Series of Fighting. The UFC came calling, and now he’s 2-0 over top competition and maybe a fight away from a title shot.
Noad Lahat took a close decision over Steven Siler in the opening bout on the card. That’s notable only because Lahat is Israeli and plans on flying home to fight in the long-running conflict with Palestinians. And that’s notable only because the UFC gave Lahat extended time in his post-fight interview to discuss his plans. (It’s also worth noting that two UFC-friendly media outlets wrote significant pieces about Lahat’s decision.)
You can read into this however you want. Maybe the UFC tacitly supports Israel. Maybe they think Lahat fighting for the Israeli Defense Forces is promotable in a way that Brian Stann’s service is. Maybe they didn’t want to face criticism for “stifling” Lahat’s views. Hell, maybe they’re that out of touch and didn’t think anything of it.
Whatever the reason, it’s not a great look for the UFC because you can read into it however you want. And with politics this touchy, you’re better off not touching it at all.
OTHER (BROADCASTING) STUFF
-When Joanna Jędrzejczyk entered the arena, Mike Goldberg let the audience know how historic this moment was as she and Juliana Lima would debut the women’s strawweight division in the UFC. Rogan touched on that fact twice more between the entrances and Bruce Buffer’s introductions. It wasn’t until the start of the first round that the production truck clued the broadcast team on the fact that Cláudia Gadelha and Tina Lähdemäki debuted the division ten days ago.
-Goldberg quit trying to pronounce Jędrzejczyk as the fight wore on (despite a confident pronunciation to start). Rogan not only made zero attempt, but even addressed it saying he didn’t want to try until he talked to her. Why didn’t you talk to her, Joe? That’s literally part of your job.
-During the Dennis Bermudez/Clay Guida fight, Rogan complained that the stat team counted Guida’s backward punches while Bermudez controlled his back, crying that we needed a way to differentiate between those sorts of strikes and meaningful strikes. The UFC has that stat, and Goldberg, in a rare instance of competence, cited the significant strike totals.
Mike Fagan is a weekly contributor to MMA Owl. He also hosts Untethered MMA every Thursday at 7 p.m. ET. Follow him on Twitter.