Tyron Woodley took the designation from UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler on Saturday night, stopping him with 2:12 left in the first round
It very well could have happened another time over the last year and a half. A loss. An inch here, a missed breather there and Robbie Lawler might not have owned the UFC welterweight belt as he stepped into the octagon on Saturday night. But there it was, in the seemingly safe self-possession of one of MMAs most game fighters who appeared to be touching his step as champion.
As Ruthless Robbie stood across the octagon from his latest challenger in the 170 lb separation, it was on Tyron Woodley to do what Rory MacDonald and Carlos Condit could not.
That moment came early, at 2:12 of round one, with the most wonderful finish in UFC welterweight title fight biography. Woodley, thick-witted in the thighs and chest, feinted to get Lawler to descend his justifications. A smart fighter who made a vocation of releasing blaze after a bit of guile was done in by familiar makes. Before the bout Lawler said Woodleys technique and rapidity were nice, but to do what he did the key was get down and dirty.
Woodley didnt hesitate when he had the chance. In a blink the new endorse detonation forward, unleashing a right hand over the top that cracked Lawler on the kuki-chin and sent him sprawling to the canvas. A short bombardment followed before the umpire, Dan Miragliotta, plunge in to point the assault.
We exactly is aware of the fact that Robbie would be well prepared for a takedown, that he would make me with knees and uppercuts to represent it, said Woodley, from Ferguson, Missouri. We moved with the offensive. Something “ve told me” he would be open for the right hand and I get for it.
Four years ago Woodley failed in a bid to prevail his first major MMA belt after veteran Nate Marquardt exposed pits in his competition to score a impressive fourth-round stoppage. The last-place bout of Woodleys career outside the UFC was his first loss in MMA. Twice more Woodley savor win during six bouts inside the octagon, as he exposed twinkles of splendour alongside annoying a few examples of underused talent.
While Lawlers last-place 18 months standout as the best stretching of his memorable job, Woodley was lodged revolving his rotations. A matchup against Johnny Hendricks, whom Lawler captured the title from in December 2014, was cast aside last October due to a weight-cutting snafu that wasnt Woodleys fault. He ended he wouldnt fight until he had what he craved right in front of him.
Despite the close calls and widespread evidence of the difficulty of retaining a UFC championship, Lawler appeared so natural with the loop that it began to feel like he was able to support it for an extended reign. Like Matt Hughes or his successor, the all-time enormous welterweight, Georges St-Pierre, Lawler appeared to thrive as champion, contacting brand-new statures in and out of the cage.
A willingness to give it all, to make pure opposing trump anything else, established Lawler a deserved reputation for provoking famed tournaments against steadfast challengers. Lawler represented recognise and flourishing potential.
Woodley had none of it. Originating up in Ferguson, a lot of people said I wasnt going to be anything, he observed. Ive proved them wrong.
Lawler and Woodley came into the world a few months apart in 1982. The 34 -year-old pair grew up playing sports and spent much of their teenager devoted to amateur grappling. Later, in their own channels, they discovered mixed martial arts. Lawler in 2001 at the very beginning of his adult life. Woodley in 2009, after graduation from the University of Missouri, began contemplating events like starting and corroborating a family.
Their vocations eventually intersected a few years ago at the Coconut Creek, Florida-based MMA clique American Top Team. Woodley( 16 -3) announced Lawler( 27 -1 1, 1 NC) a sidekick and explained how he long admired him. I knew what Robbie brings to the table, Woodley said. This was not the fight I would have picked because Robbie is my team-mate.
The former champion proposed he deserved a rematch, but to be recognised that in no way was he guaranteed to get one. Im a mean individual, Lawler said. This is what I do for a life and I would have had no problem doing the same to him.
The welterweight split has long been among the UFCs most interesting. Numerous commentators felt in place of Woodley, Stephen Wonderboy Thompson deserved the next shot at Lawler. Thompson himself seemed to dismiss Woodleys possibilities this week when he said he hoped to meet Lawler next, though Thompson quickly announced out Woodley after UFC 201 shut out with a bang.
Claiming agreement leading up to a fight against a husband reputed to bring conflict, Woodley suggested the one thing that reached him apprehensive on Saturday at the Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia, was how pacify he felt. Something “ve told me” I should just enjoy this moment, Woodley said after growing the ninth welterweight champ in UFC history.
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