The UFC has added a welterweight clash between Robbie Lawler and Rory MacDonald to the November UFC 167 card headlined by Georges St Pierre’s welterweight title defense against Johny Hendricks. Nothing is certain until the final bell has rung on the GSP-Hendricks fights, but both Lawler and MacDonald are highly rated fighters who have strung together wins over high caliber opponents, so the winner of this fight could certainly be ‘up next’ for the title-holder. The Lawler-MacDonald matchup will be a tough one for the bookmakers to set a line on. Lawler has been a known entity in MMA for more than a decade, and his return to the UFC has apparently been the spark of a resurgence in his career. He competed at middleweight for years, and dropped down to welterweight where his KO power really shows. Remarkably, Lawler is still only 31 years old, having started in MMA at the age of 18. He appears to be in his prime now at welterweight, where he is physically able to matchup with just about anyone in the division. MacDonald is a guy people are all over the spectrum on. He has been christened the second coming of GSP, but a long lay off followed by a flat performance against Jake Ellenberger took a little bit of the shine off of his star. It may be a wrong impression, but MacDonald has had his head filled with so much talk about how good he is, that he seems confused. He is still very young, but his training and physical abilities are a lot further along than his mental side of the game. He seems lost when faced with criticism, as if years of hearing how great he is left him unprepared for a little bit of reality. MacDonald has some quality wins, but the only true firefight he has been in, against Carlos Condit, he lost. This is going to be Lawler’s big advantage for the fight. Lawler has a ton of MMA experience, and he has been in fights against top guys his whole career. MacDonald kept Ellenberger, a natural wrestler, at bay with his jab and did little else. Unless he is able to commit and throw with power to hurt Lawler, MacDonald will run the risk of having Lawler land his big punch. Lawler has fought far better strikers than MacDonald and Lawler has fared very well. Lawler will bide his time, as long as the fight is standing he will always have a chance and be in the game. MacDonald is going to feel the pressure in the build-up to this fight, and you will likely see a very focused and calm Robbie Lawler. Lawler’s takedown defense and big punching will force MacDonald to show different aspects of his game. Lawler has always had trouble with top notch grapplers (Jake Shields, Jacare Souza) but MacDonald for all his hype, has not shown that type of talent, so he is walking into Robbie Lawler’s parlor for this one.
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