Robbie Lawler is the archetype of a young OG. Even though he’s only 37 years of age, “Ruthless” began his pro MMA career back in 2001. By 2002 the phenom had made it to the UFC.
Since then, he’s fought all over the world in many major global organizations, has one world championship reign under his belt and is campaigning for another title shot. He headlines Saturday’s UFC on ESPN 5 out of Newark, New Jersey, against former teammate Colby Covington, so we decided to review five of his nastiest career knockouts.
5. Robbie Lawler vs. Frank Trigg, March 31, 2007 - Icon Sport, 1:40 of R4
By the fourth round of this engagement between UFC veterans had become a war of attrition. As a fatigued Trigg gamely continued to throw offense, Lawler covered nicely, absorbed the shots and then fired back with short crosses and lead uppercuts to the head. After momentarily being backed against the ropes, Lawler worked out and reversed positions.
From there, he used good head position and wrist control with his left hand. He released his left hand’s grip and separated head position only to replace it with a left punch. Trigg stumbled backward and Lawler continued his attack with a barrage of punches, knocking Trigg unconscious and sitting him down in the corner.
Lawler stared down at Trigg for a moment before throwing a big uppercut to the head of his prone, seated opponent before the referee successfully stopped the fight. Later, Lawler would say his follow-up ground strike was just a bit of hanging on the rim after a dunk.
4. Robbie Lawler vs. Matt Lindland Dec. 4, 2010 - Strikeforce, :50 of R1
Lawler made shockingly fast work of one of the sport’s most durable fighters in this middleweight contest. Lindland lunged in with a left cross that Lawler slipped and countered with his own punch to the head.
Moments later, Lawler slipped another left cross from Lindland and then countered with a lead uppercut to the chin, left cross to the face, and left hook to the temple punch combination that sent Lindland falling to the floor. Lawler followed up by diving onto Lindland with an overhand right punch to the face of the unconscious opponent, before raising his hands up in victory while kneeling on top of him.
3. Robbie Lawler vs. Melvin Manhoef, Jan. 30, 2010 - Strikeforce, 3:33 of R1
So much happened in just a few minutes in this fight. For most of it, Lawler was on the wrong end, as the expert Dutch kickboxer Manhoef nearly disabled him completely with inside roundhouse kicks to the lefty’s lead leg.
Limping, bruised, but yet focused, Lawler ate kick after kick until he managed to get the timing down of his opponent and counter with an overhand punch that knocked Manhoef out on contact.
2. Robbie Lawler vs. Joey Villasenor, Oct. 21, 2006 - Pride, :22 of R1
The southpaw Lawler looked to batter his orthodox opponent’s open side, early with a roundhouse kick that mostly missed. Just moments later, however, Lawler took advantage of Villasenor’s relatively squared-up stance and a slight level change to land a flying rear knee strike to the head that knocked the veteran out, cold.
1. Robbie Lawler vs. Rory MacDonald 2, July 11, 2015 - UFC, 1:00 of R5
In this fight, Lawler’s finish was particularly devastating and hard to watch because it came after a full, even fight, where both he and MacDonald absorbed hellacious amounts of damage to the head.
Neither man was willing to give up as they traded big shots in skilled exchanges. As the fourth round came to a close, the left-handed Lawler kept his lead foot to the outside of MacDonald’s own lead foot and connected with several straight left crosses to the smashed and bleeding face of the stoic Canadian.
At the end of the round both men stayed in the center of the cage, staring at one another before being separated by officials. Lawler came out for the final round with his mouth sliced open and bleeding, and MacDonald confronted him with his own mangled and crimson visage, refusing to bow.
MacDonald continued to move quickly and throw punches and kicks, but Lawler avoided most of them and continued to land his cross down the middle on the right-handed MacDonald’s face. After absorbing one final one, MacDonald’s body refused to let him fight on and he collapsed in a delayed reaction.
With that, one of the most brutal and skilled fights in MMA history was complete, with Lawler the victor.
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