After Saturday night, you can make that 21, as Lawler dispatched Voelker, leveling the Kansas City native with a thudding head-kick knockout at the start of the second round.
Round one saw both fighters open with a purpose. Lawler stalked his opponent with a cocked right hand, as the 34-year-old Voelker looked to earn his first victory inside the Octagon after failing in his debut against Patrick Cote at UFC 158.
As Lawler pressured with a stiff jab, Voelker attempted to stymie the oncoming pressure of the former Miletich Fighting System product by using an array of leg kicks and lateral movement.
As the opening frame drew on, and as “Ruthless” got a taste of Voelker’s power, Lawler began to get more comfortable with his distance and began opening up. First came a glancing head kick that just missed Voelker’s temple. Next was a vicious set of punching combinations, followed with a lead standing elbow. As his confidence grew, Lawler even attempted a couple jumping knees that were only barely deflected by an ever-reddening Voelker.
With blood pouring from his face, Voelker ended the first round in a spot of trouble, as Lawler was pressuring, showing very little respect for his foe’s overall game.
It only took 24-seconds into the second round for Lawler to find his mark. The head kicks that so narrowly missed in the first frame, found their way to the side of Voelker’s head, leaving the two-time UFC combatant flat on his back in the middle of the Octagon.
Post-fight a visibly elated Lawler raised his hand in victory with a beaming smile sprawled across his face
That’s rather understandable. Debuting in the UFC in 2002, Lawler went 4-3 in his inaugural stint in the company before being released in 2004 after a loss to Evan Tanner at UFC 50.
Lawler went on to find success overseas for the next decade. And for many, the thought of him ever returning to the Octagon was a longshot.
Back in February at UFC 157, however, Lawler got the call to fight perennial top-ten welterweight Josh Koscheck. Heading into the bout with “Kos,” Lawler was almost a 3-to-1 underdog.
Not only did Lawler beat Koscheck on that winter evening, putting a stamp on his long awaited promotional return, but in the process he scored a vicious knockout that eventually earned him the Knockout of the Night honors.
With his victory over Voelker at UFC on FOX 8, not only does Lawler’s storybook return continue, he may very well be earning another bonus check to accompany his eighteenth knockout in 21 professional victories.
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