The main event of UFC on FOX 12 is a five-round welterweight bout between “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler and Matt “The Immortal” Brown. The current betting line for the fight at 5Dimes Sportsbook lists Lawler as a -355 favorite (bet $355 to win $100) while Brown is a +320 underdog (bet $100 to win $320). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas originally opened up Lawler at -260 and Brown at +180, and so far the action has come in on the favorite Lawler. Although I believe Lawler deserves to be the favorite, I believe the line is too high in his favor and I don’t see value in it, although I do lean him for the win, especially after Brown missed weight. Here’s why. Lawler (23-10, 1 NC) is one of the top contenders in the UFC welterweight division. The 32-year-old American is 4-1 since returning to the UFC with wins over Rory MacDonald, Josh Koscheck, Bobby Voelker and Jake Ellenberger and his only loss coming in a close decision defeat to Johny Hendricks for the vacant title. With 19 career wins coming by T/KO, Lawler is one of the most dangerous strikers to ever grace the cage. Although he has been inconsistent at times during his career, he is truly peaking right now and is one of the best fighters in the world. With an improved arsenal of strikes that includes head kicks, flying knees and of course his trademark punches, Lawler is a handful for anyone in the standup, and with great defensive wrestling skills he is able to keep most of his fights on the feet and hurt his opponents there. He is truly one of the elite fighters in the division and if he can get by Brown this weekend he will get another shot at Hendricks’ title. Brown (19-11) is one of the hottest fighters in the UFC. The 33-year-old American has won seven fights in a row including wins over Jordan Mein, Mike Swick, Luis Ramos, Erick Silva, Mike Pyle, Chris Cope, and Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson to earn his place in this title eliminator bout against Lawler. With 12 career knockout finishes, Brown is one of the most dangerous strikers in the entire division. He has a sick muay Thai attack and utilizes his elbows perhaps better than any fighter in the game, as well as his knees, punches and kicks. He always goes at a crazy pace which is hard for his opponents to deal with, he has an iron chin and his cardio is much improved. Although his submission defence is notoriously poor (nine career submission defeats) he has worked hard to improve that aspect of his game and his grappling in general. While before he was a poor grappler, he now has decent takedown ability and he even throws up submissions himself. He likely won’t have to worry about his sub D against Lawler as the fight likely stays standing, but the one thing he does have to worry about his protecting his body, as body shots have knocked him down in the past. But if he avoid the big shots from Lawler, he certainly has a chance to pull off this upset and complete one of the most remarkable turnarounds in UFC history. This fight will almost certainly stay standing, and that’s where both men excel. Both fighters have excellent chins but in a five-round fight and with so much on the line, I highly doubt this fight goes the full distance. Most believe that Lawler’s power will be too much for Brown to handle, especially if he connects to Brown’s body, but Brown has shown incredible toughness and durability his entire career and he won’t be easy to put away. Not only that, but he has tremendous finishing ability himself (most T/KO finishes in UFC welterweight division history) and he has a pace that is hard for anyone to keep up with. Although Lawler deserves to be the favorite, I believe this fight is a lot closer than the lines indicate and in a striking match where both men are going to land their shots, I think it’s a dog or pass situation, although I lean towards a pass after Brown missed weight. I was originally going to pick Brown outright but after he missed weight I will go with Lawler for the pick, although I do not see value in the line.
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