“Ruthless” Robbie Lawler earned himself another shot at the Ultimate Fighting Championship welterweight title with a unanimous decision over Matt Brown on Saturday night.
The fight at the SAP Center in San Jose, California was absorbing throughout, although Lawler always seemed marginally ahead.
Sensing he needed a knockout, Brown found four straight punches that hurt Lawler with two minutes to go in the fifth round which signaled a tense finish.
Lawler replied with a knee to the stomach but had to absorb another big punch before securing a rematch with welterweight champ Johny Hendricks. Two judges scored it 49-46 and the third had it 48-47. Lawler (24-10) lost in a close decision for the vacant 170 pound title to Hendricks two months ago.
“I’m very excited,” said Lawler. “It’s time to go back to work and I’ll be waiting for him.”
Hendricks has an arm injury which may take until the end of the year to heal but busy Lawler, 32, is thankful for the wait because this was his fifth win in six tough bouts over the past year.
The bloodied Brown (21-12) suffered a hand injury and had to be taken to hospital for examination.
Brown was so relentless that UFC President Dana Brown said he would move up from his fifth place ranking despite the loss.
Lawler admitted, “He came toe-to-toe with me. Not many people will do that. He just kept coming.”
In the night’s quickest contest, Anthony Johnson won by technical knockout over Rogerio Nogueira after only 44 seconds of the first round. Johnson (18-4) got Nogueira (21-6) backed up against the cage then floored the 38-year-old with a series of hard uppercuts that opened a deep cut and led to the stoppage.