On Saturday night, UFC welterweight champion “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler will put his belt on the line against Tyron Woodley on the main event of UFC 201 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Lawler spent six of his 37 professional MMA bouts in Hawaii in the mid 2000s, acquiring the ICON sport middleweight title and Elite XC middleweight belt during his popular tenure in the 50th state.
One of Lawler’s ICON championship bouts came against UFC Hall-of-Famer Frank Trigg, a memory the KHON2 MMA analyst would like to forget.
“Thanks for that. I appreciate bringing up that nightmare,” Trigg quipped.
Though Lawler has gone through a reinvention of his game during his latest run back in the UFC, one important staple remains: his superhuman late-round heart.
In Lawler’s 2007 win over Trigg, the ruthless one emptied his seemingly endless gas tank in the fourth round, knocking Trigg out after the fighters traded relentless barbs over near 17 minutes of action.
“It’s his fourth-quarter comeback,” Trigg said. “You talk about any one of his fights, especially his last couple, he’s coming back in the end to win the fight. It’s tough to train for a guy like that, because you have to have enough in your tank to be able to battle back at the same time he’s battling. It’s gonna be an interesting match-up.”
Despite Lawler’s advantage in the five-round championship bout, Trigg thinks that Saturday could be the end of the UFC’s second-longest running champion’s reign.
“Unfortunately, I think Lawler might lose this one,” Trigg said.
Las Vegas lists Lawler as a -175 favorite, but Trigg likes Woodley’s wrestling and explosiveness early in the fight.
“I think Woodley can win the first three rounds,” he said. “My personal prediction is that Woodley is gonna finish the fight in the third round because Lawler will get over confident and drop his hands.”
Tigg’s prediction doesn’t come from bad blood from their former bout. He enjoys seeing Lawler continue the generation of fighters that pioneered MMA into a mainstream sport.
Lawler fought in the UFC for the first time back in May of 2002 at UFC 37.
“Make no mistake about it, I want Lawler to pull this off, because he is one of us, but he’s also one of us in my era,” Trigg said. “He’s the last guy that started fighting when I started fighting and has still continued to fight. He’s it. Lawler had no plans of retiring any time soon. He will continue our era on into however long, four or five more years.”
UFC 201’s main card begins at 4 p.m. HST Saturday on Pay-Per-View.