Welterweight champion Robbie Lawler put his belt on the line for the third time, going against contender Tyron Woodley at UFC 201. Lawler fought in the UFC briefly over a decade ago before leavingonly to return in 2013 and has been on a tear ever since, winning the welterweight title at UFC 181 when he defeated Johny Hendricks.
Woodley came into the bout looking for his first world title, facing a man who has seemed to be indestructible. The storyline between the two was an in-house rivalry, both representing the American Top Team gym. Woodley came up in ATT before starting his own branch of the gym back in Missouri, while Lawler’s resurgence has been credited to joining the original South Florida ATT late in his career.
The fight was slow to start, with Woodley getting an early pin against the cage that was broken up quickly, adding to a dragging pace.
As soon as the action picked up, however, the fight came to a sudden end: Woodley closed the distance and threw an overhand right that landed flush on Lawler's chin, dropping the champion. He pounced and got a couple more punches in to force the stoppage and get the win just over two minutes into the first round, crowning himself the new UFC welterweight champ in the world in the process. It was only the second time Lawler has been knocked out in his career.
Woodley becomes the ninth welterweight beltholder in UFC history, ending Lawler's tenure as the second-longest tenured UFC champion (in terms of days holding the belt) coming into the fight and it the fight marks the seventh time a UFC belt has changed hands this year. It was also the fastest welterweight title bout in UFC history.