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Watch: Tyron Woodley Shocks Robbie Lawler And The World At UFC 201

In one punch, an amazing title reign can come to the most abrupt of ends.

In December 2014, Robbie Lawler became one of the greatest comeback stories in the history of MMA. He shocked the world when he emerged victorious with the welterweight belt of a prime “Big Rig” Johnny Hendricks at UFC 181.

Thereafter, the ‘Ruthless’ one’s star really began to shine.

His UFC 189 bout with Rory McDonald was easily the fight of 2015, and may very well be the best fight in UFC history. In another riveting war back in January, he limped to a controversial split decision victory over Carlos Condit.

But Saturday night was not his night.

Lawler met a beast from his own American Top Team gym by the name of Tyron Woodley. Woodley almost seems to be too muscular and chiseled to even be a fighter, defying the laws of oxygenation. However, his speed and power is as majestic as it is deadly.

Woodley’s coup de gras moved at such a frenetic pace that one could be forgiven for checking whether it was a straight right-hand or an overhand. He changed levels at warp speed as Lawler’s head moved in time with the instantaneous left faint of the challenger. Within milliseconds, Lawler’s legs were limp and he had no idea where he was.

Referee Dan Miragliotta gave Lawler every chance to wake up, but after Woodley put five more nails in his coffin, he had no choice but to end the title reign of the 34-year-old veteran. Desperate attempts to return to his feet and save the match were hopeless as Miragliotta was the only thing keeping the staggering Lawler upright.

The ruinous strike, which landed with 2:48 remaining in the first round, almost became anti-climatic as the realisation dawned that we would be denied another storybook five-round Lawler war.

Woodley’s shock win was made all the more impressive by the fact that he had not fought in the 547 days prior. The champion won’t be afforded such a rest now though, as the most stacked division in the UFC chases him down.

However, there is one person amidst that chasing pack with whom Woodley is keen to do battle.

Both Diaz brothers fighting on the same night is a tantalising prospect. However, it is also an unlikely one. If all things are equitable, Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson should get his shot at the belt next.

With a new champion comes a whole lot of new match making. This division will remain on fire for the foreseeable future.

Garbh Madigan, Pundit Arena

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team.