UFC 201 is a few days away, and though it has not received as much press as it deserves, MMA fans still have a lot to look forward to with surging UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler taking on NCAA Division I All American wrestler Tyron Woodley. Initial odds and predictions for the Lawler-Woodley fight put Lawler as a 3-1 favorite over Woodley.
Lawler (27-10-0, 1NC), who has won five straight, looks to continue his streak after returning to the UFC and going 8 for 1 in the last three years. Since grabbing the belt from Johny Hendricks, Ruthless has defended his title against challengers Rory MacDonald and Carlos Condit. Woodley (15-3-0), who comes from an almost believable decision over Kelvin Gastelum, will attempt succeed where the last two fighters failed.
After winning four of his last five fights, the Chosen One’s chances of grabbing the belt may lie mostly on his stand-up game. According to FightMetric, Woodley lands 50 percent of his shots compared to Lawler, who lands 44.
Though defensively, Lawler still has an edge, avoiding 62 percent of attacks versus Woodley’s 58 percent. Their ground-game tells a slightly different story, with Lawler and Woodley having a 68 percent and 44 percent take-down accuracy, respectively. Defense on the other hand shows Woodley with the bigger edge with a 91 percent take-down defense to Lawler’s 67 percent.
Though it may seem that both fighters are somehow evenly matched, predictions for the Lawler-Woodley fight point to a Lawler victory. Bleacherreport broke down the fight and came up with a round three TKO win for Lawler, IF he survives the first five minutes of the fight.
As an explosive fighter, Woodley is 8-0 in first round victories and 2-0 in round two finishes. Fights that go to round 3, he is 5-3. MMAJunkie’s Ben Fowlkes also hinted a Lawler win, who thought that the fight is simply a “necessary” chore for the current welterweight champ.
In an interview with CBS sports, Tyron Woodley also weighed in on his prediction for the fight.
“I just think I win by overwhelming and outworking Robbie and being a more well-rounded fighter than Robbie. I can honestly stand in front of Robbie and I have just as good a chance of knocking him the hell out, and he knows that, but what is a better strategy? To mix it up.” he said.
Will it work? MMA fans will just have to wait a few more days to find out. UFC 201 is scheduled July 30 at Philips Arena, Atlanta.
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