Date: Sunday 17th December, 1am (UK)
Location: Winnipeg, Canada
Venue: Bell MTS Place
Winnipeg, Canada will stage UFC on Fox 26 and the fans will be treated to an electrifying main event in the welterweight division. Robbie Lawler and Rafael dos Anjos will go toe-to-toe in what should be a title eliminator but with the current champion Tyron Woodley weighing up ‘big money fights’ and surgery on an injured shoulder, they may be in for a wait.
Lawler is the man who lost the belt to Woodley along with several brain cells after an explosion of strikes to the dome back at UFC 201. Since this loss, Lawler wisely took some time off as this vicious knockout capped off an active streak involving brutal wars with the likes of Carlos Condit, Rory MacDonald and Johny Hendricks. The veteran returned to the octagon a year later with the rest certainly paying dividends with a hard-earned decision win over Donald Cerrone.
He will have no choice but to be on song again as he welcomes another beast to the cage who also looks rejuvenated after moving up from lightweight. Dos Anjos put on an array of vicious displays to earn the lightweight title but clearly struggled with the weight cut to 155 lbs and succumbed to Eddie Alvarez and Tony Ferguson.
The energized Brazilian looks a real threat in this division with championship calibre skills and power to match his new 170 lb foes. He won both scraps against Tarec Saffiedine and Neil Magny with his submission win over Magny really catching the eye. He was giving up a 10-inch reach advantage but negated it brilliantly, chopping down the lanky American with leg kicks and going on to finish him with an arm-triangle.
Two violent southpaws will provide a thrilling contest but unsurprisingly, Dos Anjos gives up the height and reach advantage again and this is highlighted as the key stat. Dos Anjos struggled fighting the taller opponent in Tony Ferguson but adapted superbly against Magny. However, Lawler is a different kind of hazard. Combining the reach advantage with ferocious knockout power reduces the Brazilian’s margin for error drastically so it would be wise to adopt a similar game plan and use his weapons to get Lawler to the ground.
Striking and grappling stats sourced via FightMetric.