Rory MacDonald (15-1) vs. Robbie Lawler (21-9)
Rory MacDonald will try to get closer to earning a title bout as he goes up against Robbie Lawler at UFC 167 on Saturday night.
Since losing to Carlos Condit in 2010, MacDonald has won five straight matches, looking dominant. During the win streak, he has beaten top-notch competition such as Nate Diaz and BJ Penn, showing he has the ability to defeat anybody. He won three of those fights by unanimous decision, while winning the other two with devastating knockout blows. MacDonald's biggest strength is his quickness, able to deliver a vicious blow at any moment. In that match against Condit, he went toe-to-toe with one of the best fighters in the welterweight class, proving he belongs among the true contenders. With an opportunity for a chance at the title within his grasp, he must be ready to go against a fighter with vicious knockout power as well. Lawler has won his first two matches in the UFC, including an impressive knockout victory over Bobby Voelker at UFC on FOX 8 in his most recent fight on July 27. In that match, he delivered a huge kick to the head, showing impressive ability.
MacDonald is a terrific fighter with the ability to win a match in any different way. Of his 15 victories, he has won six by knockout and six by submission, with seven of those being first-round finishes. The 24-year-old has also won three matches by decision. His quickness will play a huge role in this fight, as he lands 4.13 strikes per minute, a significant advantage over Lawler, who lands just 2.63 strikes per minute. His 51percent striking accuracy is also much better than Lawler's 42percent rate, as is his striking defense of 67percent (Lawler is 61percent). The Canadian-born MacDonald's biggest advantages in this match will be his athleticism and cardio. While "Ares" has shown the ability to win by way of knockout, he does not want to have this fight turn into a slugfest. If he comes out disciplined, he will be in great shape. However, if he tries to go punch-for-punch against Lawler, he could be in trouble.
Of Lawlers 21 career victories, 18 have come by way of knockout and 12 wins were first-round finishes. He also has two wins by decision, and one by submission. While the 31-year-old American does not land as many strikes as MacDonald, his punches do a lot more damage. During his two wins this year, "Ruthless" has been able to set the pace of the fight and turn it into more of a slugfest, where he is almost unbeatable in this class. In addition to being one inch smaller than MacDonald, Lawler is at a disadvantage when it comes to the takedown game, as MacDonald has a takedown defense of 86 percent, while Lawler's is just 63 percent. As long as Lawler is able to control the fight and keep it mostly on his feet, then he is in great shape. With two fighters with such different abilities, whoever is able to come out and dictate the fight will be leaving the octagon with a victory.