Robbie Lawler
Ruthless

USA

To fight Ponzinibbio on Dec. 14
WelterweightUFC
September 16, 2019
Lawler will fight Santiago Ponzinibbio in a welterweight matchup at UFC 245 in Las Vegas on Dec. 14, MMAJunkie.com reports.
ANALYSIS
Though not reportedly official just yet, the former UFC champion appears to be on his way to Las Vegas in a showdown with rising contender Ponzinibbio at UFC 245. Lawler, who currently holds a 13-8 UFC record, will be coming off a loss to Colby Covington via unanimous decisions on Aug. 3. Lawler continues to take on challenging matchups even while on a three-fight losing streak, as Ponzinibbio is looking to add a well-respected veteran to his resume and grow his winning streak to eight. While Ponzinibbio is a few years younger, the two match up roughly equal from a physical standpoint. Ponzinibbio throws more volume, but Lawler is a bit more accurate with his striking. The winner here could easily be a fight or two away from the title, as UFC brass has had difficulties negotiating contracts with the current champion at 170 pounds.
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No answers for Colby Covington
WelterweightUFC
August 3, 2019
Lawler lost to Colby Covington via unanimous decision (44-50, 45-50, 45-50) at UFC on ESPN 5 on Saturday in Newark, New Jersey.
ANALYSIS
Lawler had zero answers for constant pace and pressure of Covington. It appeared as if Lawler was hoping Colby would slow down following a quick start, but the dip in activity he was seeking never materialized. He landed a couple nice shots when he was able to separate and create some distance, but those instances were few and far between. It became quite clear from the early going that the only way Lawler would be able to win here was by landing one big punch that led to a knockout, but he was never able to find it. Robbie entered with a more than respectable 69 percent takedown defense, and Covington was able to get him to the mat on 10 separate occasions. The 37-year-old Lawler has now lost three in a row and four of his last five. He clearly has plenty left in the tank, but his next move remains an open question.
Agrees to headline Newark card
WelterweightUFC
June 25, 2019
Lawler has agreed to face Colby Covington in a welterweight matchup in the main event of UFC Newark on August 3, Brett Okamoto of ESPN reports.
ANALYSIS
Lawler is the loser of back-to-back fights, but his status as former champion and welterweight legend will allow him to book a fight against arguably the division's top contender (and one that was awarded the interim belt just over one year ago). Covington is 14-1 as a pro and won his last six fights in the UFC, but hasn't competed since June of 2018 while awaiting his title shot. Covington was passed up in favor of Kamaru Usman, who took the belt from former champion Tyron Woodley and injured his knee in the process. With Usman on the shelf until November, Covington decided it's time to get back in the cage. Lawler will represent a stiff test, but at 37 years old and with a fight career spanning nearly two decades, it may not be the best version of Lawler standing across the Octagon from Covington. Lawler is the more accomplished striker and lands a higher volume, but this matchup will come down to his takedown defense, which sits at a mediocre mark of 69 percent. Covington averages more than five takedowns per 15 minutes of fight time, so staying off his back will be Lawler's key to victory. That's proven to be a difficult puzzle to figure out against Covington over the years, so look for Lawler to enter as a betting underdog.
Likely off Minneapolis card
WelterweightUFC
May 21, 2019
Lawler is no longer expected to fight at UFC Minneapolis on June 29, as a heavyweight matchup between Junior dos Santos and Francis Ngannou will take over the main event slot, Brett Okamoto of ESPN reports.
ANALYSIS
Lawler was left without an opponent for his main event spot following the withdrawal of Tyron Woodley (hand), but the original plan for the UFC was to get him a replacement fight. Prominent names that came up asking for this fight included Santiago Ponzinibbio and Darren Till, but nothing was ultimately able to materialize. Instead, Lawler will hold out for the next opportunity, whether that be Madison Square Garden in November, or a rescheduled matchup with Woodley down the road.
Needs new opponent in Minneapolis
WelterweightUFC
May 17, 2019
Lawler's opponent for UFC Fight Night in Minneapolis on June 29, Tyrone Woodley, withdrew Friday due to injury, Brett Okamoto of ESPN reports.
ANALYSIS
The specifics surrounding Woodley's injury are currently unknown, but the UFC is going to search for a new opponent in an effort to keep Lawler on the card in June. The fight with Woodley would have been a rematch of their 2016 title fight at UFC 201, which Woodley won via KO.
Tabbed for Fight Night in June
WelterweightUFC
March 27, 2019
UFC President Dana White told Brett Okamoto of ESPN.com that Lawler and Tyrone Woodley will headline UFC Fight Night at Minneapolis on June 29.
ANALYSIS
Lawler lost via controversial submission to Ben Askren at UFC 235, but will have a chance to redeem himself in June. Woodley handily lost the UFC Welterweight Championship to Kamaru Usman at the same event, so both fighters will have plenty to prove. The bout in Minneapolis is a rematch of the 2016 title fight at UFC 201 in which Woodley knocked out Lawler in the first round.