September 20, 2005

H. Niko Motiee
Lawler Just Wants to Compete

On Saturday evening, UFC veteran Robbie Lawler made his King of the Cage debut in style. Lawler, who was coming off a knockout victory over Falaniko Vitale, displayed his arsenal of weapons in his first round victory over Jeremy Brown. Lawler attempted to impose his will early by aggressively stalking Brown. Lawler drew first blood in the stand-up war by landing a left high kick, which sent the capacity Indianapolis crowd into a frenzy. However, Brown was able to withstand the kick (partially because Lawler did not catch him with his shin) and even attempted to go on the offensive by throwing several combinations back at the Miletich fighter.

Lawler’s physical strength, especially in the clinch, eventually overwhelmed Brown. Lawler landed two knees from the clinch to Brown’s head, which sent Brown to the mat. Lawler immediately pounced on Brown and began reigning down hammerfists and punches. To Brown’s credit, he was able to withstand the punishment, but left his arm in a precarious position, which allowed Lawler to secure the straight armbar at 2:40 of the first round.

Overall, Lawler looked quite impressive. He showed he has the sheer physical strength to compete at a high level at 185 pounds. After the fight, Lawler commented that he was uncertain what his future plans hold, but that he simply wants to continue to fight, irregardless of the venue. Lawler also squashed any suggestion of a return to the welterweight division, by citing his physical comfort level at 185 pounds.

When one analyzes Lawler’s situation, it is clear he has several options. The UFC Middleweight division presents potentially intriguing fights with Nate Quarry, David Terrell and David Loiseau. A rematch with Evan Tanner would also be interesting. If Lawler could get through a couple of the aforementioned fighters, there might be a very marketable fight with Rich Franklin waiting.

Then again, if Lawler gets the opportunity to compete in Pride, he could potentially be matched up with Phil Baroni, Murilo Bustamante, Daniel Acacio, or Paulo Filho (all intriguing fights). Acacio’s ultra-aggressive fighting style could produce an incredible fight with Lawler.

Nevertheless, DSE has always had a preference for matching up first-time gaijin fighters with native Japanese fighters. Ryo Chonan and Ikuhisa Minowa could provide interesting match-ups (especially Chonan), as could Akihiro Gono. Nevertheless, Pride’s rules and emphasis on persistent action could fit Lawler well.

Whether Lawler decides to continue fighting Stateside or fighting in Japan, he certainly has plenty of explosive fights waiting for him. However, when asked about whether he had a desire to fight any one individual, Lawler responded with a simple “no.”

Other important news coming from the successful KOTC event co-promoted by Monte Cox and Chas Bowling includes Jens Pulver’s preparation for the upcoming Pride Grand Prix Lightweight Tournament. According to Cox, Pulver currently weighs 168 pounds, meaning a perceived massive size advantage for Hayato “Mach” Sakurai (who has been dieting heavily [as of September 1st, Sakurai weighed 161 pounds] for some time in order to not have to cut a large amount of weight pre-fight) may not exist.