After over two years away from the UFC, fan favorite “Filthy” Tom Lawlor will finally return to the Octagon at July 25’s UFC on FOX 16 from the United Center in Chicago, Illinois.
And he’ll have no easy return bout, as Ariel Helwani reported on UFC Tonight that Lawlor will face rising light heavyweight Gan Villante on the growing major television network card.
Lawlor was last seen submitting Michael Kuiper with a second round guillotine choke at April 2013’s UFC on Fuel TV 9, going out on a rare high note. He spent the last year pro-wrestling under the Ring of Honor (ROH) banner. Lawlor is a decorated wrestler who won three consecutive NCWA wrestling championships at University of Central Florida.
He’s currently the owner of a decent-but-not-spectacular 5-4 record with the UFC.
Villante, on the other hand, has won three out of his five total UFC bouts. The teammate of middleweight champion Chris Weidman, Villante was last seen defeating The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 19 winner Corey Anderson in a “Fight of the Night”-winning bout at April 18’s UFC on FOX 15, his second such post-fight bonus.
His only UFC Losses came to ranked contenders Ovince St. Preux and Fabio Maldonado, and the 29-year-old will hold the advantage of having the blueprint to defeat “Filthy” after Weidman put him away with a vicious d’arce choke back at UFC 139.
Lawlor fought all of his UFC bouts but one at middleweight, signifying that Villante should hold a size advantage.
UFC on FOX 16 features the awaited rematch between champion T.J. Dillashaw and longtime rival Renan Barao in the main event, while former lightweight champion Anthony “Showtime” Pettis will return to the cage against Myles Jury in the co-main event.