HYDEN BLOG: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly from UFC 201 “Lawler vs. Woodley”

By Frank Hyden, MMATorch Contributor

UFC 201 was this past weekend and it featured some big upsets and another title change. Let’s get right to it.Staff08Hyden_150

UFC 201

BAD: Ryan Benoit vs. Fredy Serrano

This was an incredibly dull fight at times. Any good action in this fight was nullified by the all the lackluster moments. Benoit won the split decision in a very close fight, but neither guy looked all that comfortable during the fight.

BAD: Francisco Rivera vs. Erik Perez

The opening minute of the third round was crazy and wild, as things turned into a barroom brawl, but other than that things in this fight were also dull. Neither guy was doing much of anything. Perez won the decision.

GREAT: Jake Ellenberger stops Matt Brown

Ellenberger was 1-5 in his last six fights heading into this one, so saying he needed a win badly is a huge understatement. He delivered bigtime here. He dropped Brown right away, but Brown was able to recover as he’s a really tough guy. However, Ellenberger then completely decimated Brown with a kick to the body and that was it. That looked so incredibly painful. For a guy like Matt Brown to go down like this shows you the level of pain that was there. We’ve seen Brown take tremendous punishment and keep coming. To see him devastated like this really shows you how bad a body shot can be.

GOOD: Karolina Kowalkiewicz vs. Rose Namajunas

These fighters were going at it from start to finish for three full rounds. Kowalkiewicz pulled out the split decision and looks set to challenge UFC Strawweight Champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk for the title next. Namajunas was really tough, and she wasn’t going away in the least, but Kowalkiewicz pounded on her over and over again. And Namajunas returned that fire, it was a real battle of wills. They fought on the feet, in the clinch, on the ground, and everywhere else you can imagine. It was a real tug-o-war and Kowalkiewicz came out ahead. This was a good fight, and a big win for her.

GREAT: Tyron Woodley stops Robbie Lawler

Both guys came out tentatively early, but then they started engaging. Woodley caught Lawler with a beautiful right hand and that was it. Lawler went down in a heap, Woodley jumped on him with three quick strikes, and it was over. Just like that, we’ve got the seventh title change of 2016. That’s crazy. We just closed out the seventh month of the year, and we’ve already had seven title changes. Talk about upheaval.

Times like this really make you love the unpredictability of the sport and also really appreciate those who have been able to defend their titles successfully numerous times against multiple challengers.

Back to the fight, Woodley looked great. I didn’t think he’d look this good as quickly as he did. He hadn’t fought in a year and a half, and he looked like he hadn’t missed a beat. I thought it might take him a few rounds to really get going, but man, he showed great power by clobbering Lawler like he did. Now, it’s fully possible that the years of abuse and punishment that Lawler has endured over the years is catching up to him. That’s a matter of when and not if. However, It’s also fully possible that this was just a blip and Lawler will go right back to beating people up again.

We won’t know which it is for a while, but what we do know is that Woodley is going to be tough to beat. His combination of wrestling and power make him very dangerous. And I know all fighters are confident, it’s how they’re able to compete at the highest level, but this win has to give Woodley even more confidence and push him even further. This was a huge win for him, and a great way to cap this event. It seems change is the order of the day.

Comments and suggestions can be emailed to me at hydenfrank@gmail.com and you can follow me on Twitter at @hydenfrank

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