The fight that MMA fans have been waiting for is finally happening.

Former UFC welterweight champion ‘Ruthless’ Robbie Lawler makes his long awaited octagon return against the fan-favorite Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone on July 29th, 2017 at UFC 214 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.

Look, this fight isn’t the main event. It’s not even the co-main event. That’s because there are three title fights at UFC 214. This one’s not one of them. But it could steal the show, no doubt about it.

Ruthless Returns

The bout marks Lawler’s first fight since losing the UFC welterweight title to Tyron Woodley at UFC 201 last July 30th, 2016. Prior to the loss, Lawler won five fights in a row, including three title fights. During his ruthless reign, Lawler battled and battered some of the division’s best fighters on his way to becoming the UFC’s welterweight king.

Lawler is known as one of the toughest fighters on the planet. He loves to go to war and he doesn’t mind eating some to deliver his powerful blows. Lawler has excellent hand speed and one punch knockout power. Six of his last ten victories have been by knockout.

Cowboy Tries Again

Like Robbie Lawler, Donald Cerrone is coming off a loss. The former lightweight title contender suffered his first defeat as a welterweight this past January. Cerrone was already at #5 in the rankings when he lost to #12 Jorge Masvidal. It also pushes Cerrone’s title ambitions backwards. Cerrone has produced many exciting wins but has come up short in big fights. He’s looking to change that against Robbie Lawler.

Cowboy is an excellent striker because of his Muay Thai background. He also has excellent submission skills with half of his 32 wins by submission. In short, Cerrone is a very versatile offensive fighter whether be it on his feet or on the ground. He’s one hell of a fighter who simply loves to take challenging fights like this one.

The Odds

Lawler is the slight favorite here at -150 and Cerrone the underdog at +130. This is as close as it gets and this is why many fans are excited to see these two exciting fighters finally square off inside the UFC octagon.

At first look, you’d think that Lawler would be the much bigger man here as Cerrone originally fought at lightweight. But if you look at the tale of the tape, Ruthless only has a once inch reach advantage and Cowboy Cerrone is two inches taller. Physically, Lawler’s main edge over Cerrone is his punching power. And that may be all that matters here.

Difference in Punching Power

We’ve seen Cerrone rack up four straight KO wins at welterweight but we also saw how he was knocked out by a come-forward fighter in Jorge Masvidal. During that fight, Cerrone started out well but after Masvidal found a home for his jab, Gamebred started pushing Cerrone backwards. Uncomfortable backing up, Cerrone would get caught by a combination at the end of the round. He never recovered. If Cerrone had problems backing up against an good striker like Masvidal, then he could be in trouble against Robbie Lawler.

On the average, Cerrone lands more significant strikes per minute at 4.18 against Lawler’s 3.49. But most of Cerrone’s numbers were against lightweights while Lawler has been punching welterweights all his life. With his punching power, all Robbie Lawler needs is just one punch. Look make no mistake here. Lawler too was knocked out by Tyron Woodley in his last bout but Cowboy’s no Woodley and so is his punching power.

The Prediction

We’re thinking that Cerrone would prefer this fight to go on the ground, where he has the more definite advantage. Cowboy averages 1.6 submission attempts per 15 minutes while Ruthless’ submission game is almost non-existent. Problem here is Cerrone can put Lawler on the ground given Lawler’s 67% takedown defense.

Having said all those, i think the fight stays on the feet most of the time. Lawler has the advantage here with a little more reach and a lot more punching power. One fight could end it for Ruthless while Cerrone may need his ‘Super Saiyan combos’ to put Robbie down. Either way, it’s going to be an exciting fight. But we’re going to pick Robbie Lawler here because of better punching power. Robbie Lawler by stoppage!

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