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8/1/16: Top Five Takeaways From UFC 201 “Lawler vs. Woodley”
Following major UFC events, we run down the five lasting impressions from the fight card. Today we look back at Saturday’s UFC 201 event from Atlanta.
5. Jake Ellenberger earned himself another year in the Octagon at least: Jake Ellenberger was released earlier this year after his fifth loss in six fights, but he convinced the UFC to give him another opportunity and he took advantage of that with the upset over Matt Brown. It was his best performance in ages, and it’s probably bought him at least two more fights inside the Octagon. Even if he suffers a loss in his next fight, what he did here likely earned him enough good will to get some leeway with whatever happens in his next fight.
4. Wilson Reis is one unlucky man: Wilson Reis was supposed to fight for the UFC Flyweight Championship on this card. He lost out on that fight when Demetrious Johnson went down injured, and after yet another opponent change he made quick work of Hector Sandoval. Unfortunately, he now finds himself out of the title mix entirely because of the UFC’s decision to book the TUF 24 winner against Johnson this winter, while Joseph Benavidez may wind up back ahead of him as well if he beats Henry Cejudo.
3. Jedrzejczyk vs. Kowalkiewicz needs to happen next: The all-Polish Strawweight Championship fight is simply the right fight to make. Dana White hasn’t committed to it as the guaranteed next fight, and said he wants it to happen in Poland, but there are a number of cities in the U.S. they could bring that fight with a large enough Polish contingent to make it a sellable headliner. Kowalkiewicz looked impressive against Rose Namajunas, and though Jedrzejczyk is still likely the better fighter, she’ll make for a good challenger whenever that fight happens.
2. Would the UFC prefer Woodley vs. Diaz or GSP?: Tyron Woodley’s title win was stunning and a fantastic moment for him, and I can’t fault him one bit for the call out he made afterward of either Nick Diaz or Georges St-Pierre. Now, he’s in no position as a non-draw to make any demands on opponents, but it could very well be that the UFC wants something like that to sell rather than a fight between Woodley and Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson. “Wonderboy” has absolutely earned his shot, and that’s a good, competitive title fight, but if they think Diaz or GSP is the way to go from a monetary standpoint, that’s what they’re going to do.
1. Robbie Lawler’s chin couldn’t hold up forever: Now, onto the other half of that main event. Robbie Lawler had been in so many wars, and he’s absorbed so much damage, that it was impossible for him to keep going with that forever. Now, this doesn’t mean if they rematch down the line that Woodley’s going to win again. He landed the perfect strike, and it probably would have put just about anyone out in that spot. Still, Lawler’s recent past almost had to have had something to do with how it ended for him, and he’ll need to avoid shots like that moving forward if he’s going to get back.
[Photo (c) Butch Dill via USA Today Sports]
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