Robbie Lawler vs. Matt Brown:
Mike Drahota: Obviously this is one of the hard-hitting bouts the UFC could have put together on paper, and it promises to be a great showcase of MMA on national television. Lawler has looked the best he ever has since re-debuting at welterweight. He’s hell-bent on getting another shot at Johny Hendricks and his championship, and I think it would take the equivalent of a large truck full of dynamite to rip that goal away from him.
Brown has looked more than impressive during his recent run, showing incredible aggressiveness, power, and toughness. But he’s been cleaning up mid-level opponents and has yet to beat a Top 10-ranked opponent in that span. After re-watching Brown’s fights from the past few years, the major thing that tips the scales in Lawler’s favor is Brown’s weakness to body shots. Erick Silva nearly finished him on more than one occasion at UFC Fight Night 40, and Jordan Mein probably should have at UFC on FOX 7.
Lawler will know that thanks to his coaches at American Top Team, which may be the best camp in MMA right now. “Ruthless” via first round TKO is my pick.
Rory Kernaghan: The title contender match between brutal welterweights Robbie Lawler and Matt Brown has a lot of people talking, but I feel that this will be a rather one sided affair. ‘The Immortal’ may have won in his last outing against Erick Silva, but the Brazilian may just have exposed the blueprint to end Brown’s streak. ‘Ruthless’ is known for mixing his strikes up, but I feel that body shots will be the order of play in the main event of UFC on Fox 12. Lawler’s nasty boxing and big knees will find a home on fight night. I’m picking Lawler to end Brown’s night with a second round TKO.
Brian Cox: Lawler vs. Brown is a toss-up. Both have the skill set to not only win the fight but also stop it cold. This will be a war and I think Lawler will be looking to keep the match on the feet. In return, I think Brown might look to take the fight to the ground and give Lawler a gameplan that “Ruthless” may not be expecting.
For me, I think this is going to boil down to Octagon IQ. Lawler does, from time to time, fail to execute a solid fight strategy and is not known for mixing up his tactics much. He’s a come forward fighter that likes to bang. Additionally, he’s a fighter that can get sucked into the emotion of a fight and that’s rarely a positive thing.
On the other hand, Brown seems to be more dispassionate and tougher to move off of his focus. Further, he’s got a more well rounded fight strategy. For those reasons, I’m picking Matt Brown by way of third round (rear naked choke) submission.
Anthony Johnson vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira:
Mike Drahota: I’m still wondering why Nogueira, who hasn’t fought since UFC 156 in February 2013 and has pulled out of an astonishing five UFC bouts since signing with th promotion in 2009, was given another big fight with the surging “Rumble,” who’s won seven straight bouts at his new home of light heavyweight (and even heavyweight).
“Lil’ Nog” certainly hasn’t earned it, and I’m surprised he hasn’t pulled out yet. Regardless, this is not much more than a glorified squash match. “Rumble” has an insane amount of power, a great training camp, motivation, and finally, the focus to make a legitimate run towards the top of the UFC light heavyweight division.
The only chance Nogueira has will be on the ground, but he’ll have a hard time getting it there given that Johnson stopped all four of NCAA National Champion wrestler Phil Davis’ takedown attempts at UFC 172. “Rumble” via first round TKO is the easy pick for me.
Rory Kernaghan: Anthony Johnson and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira will throw down in the evening’s co-main, and I feel that another squash match is what will transpire. Johnson’s power and overall aggression is just too much for the aging veteran in my books, and will signify the beginning of the end for the Pride FC veteran.
Going to the ground with ‘Lil Nog’ would probably be a very bad idea, but my thoughts are that ‘Rumble’ will want to end this fight on the feet. You have to also take into account that the 38-year old Nogueira has been out of action since February 2013 due to multiple injuries. My prediction? Johnson by KO in the very first round.
Brian Cox: Anthony Johnson is a dynamic striker with a lot of power and he’s also tough to take down. In going up against, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira he’s facing a solid boxer, but not much of a kickboxer, and a guy that’s great on the ground, but not an outstanding wrestler.
In short, if it was a straight-up boxing or grappling match, Nogueira might have the advantage. However, in an MMA fight, he lacks the additional skills to be a real threat to the younger (by 8 years) Johnson. If Nogueira can get the fight to the ground he could be victorious.
However, if he can’t, I fail to see how he wins the bout. In my opinion, “Rumble” is just too quick, too explosive, and too dynamic on the feet, for Nogueira to deal with. As Phil Davis had no takedown answer for Johnson, I think Nogueira will be equally lost in trying to get “Rumble” to the mat. I’m picking Anthony Johnson by way of second round TKO.
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