Rafael dos Anjos did his part. The ball now sits in Ultimate Fighting Championship welterweight titleholder Tyron Woodley’s court.
Dos Anjos on Saturday improved to 3-0 at 170 pounds and did so in sublime fashion, as he picked apart Robbie Lawler across five rounds in the UFC on Fox 26 headliner at Bell MTS Place in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The Brazilian was awarded 50-45 scores by all three judges in what had long been labeled as a welterweight title eliminator.
Lawler (28-12, 13-6 UFC) struggled to answer his tormentor’s multi-pronged offensive attack. With methodical zeal, dos Anjos took out the Pat Miletich protégé’s base using a sustained barrage of kicks to the upper and lower leg; and by the time the championship rounds arrived, Lawler had widened his stance in an attempt to find some stability. He was unsuccessful. Even in the clinch, normally a Lawler wheelhouse, dos Anjos (28-9, 17-7 UFC) was superior. There, he assaulted the Hard Knocks 365 representative with knees to the body, short punches and elbows.
Quietly building a hall-of-fame resume, dos Anjos now finds himself tied with Jim Miller and Anderson Silva for sixth on the promotion’s all-time list for victories.
Related » UFC on Fox 26 Round-by-Round Scoring
Emmett KOs Lamas in Stunning Upset
Team Alpha Male standout Josh Emmett knocked out perennial top-10 contender Ricardo Lamas in the first round of their featherweight co-main event. A replacement for the repurposed Jose Aldo, Emmett (13-1, 4-1 UFC) brought it to a close 4:33 into Round 1 and announced his arrival as a major player at 145 pounds.
Faced with a size and strength disadvantage, Lamas (18-6, 9-4 UFC) employed low and high kicks with both legs in a bid to keep the powerful Californian at bay. The upset-minded Emmett had other ideas. He countered a leg kick from Lamas with an errant overhand right and then sent a picture-perfect left hook sweeping behind it. The Chicago native was out cold upon impact, his head bouncing violently off the canvas to add insult to injury.
The loss snapped a two-fight winning streak for Lamas.
Surging Ponzinibbio Outlasts Perry
American Top Team’s Santiago Ponzinibbio had a little more in the gas tank and needed every ounce of it, as he took a unanimous decision from Mike Perry in a hotly anticipated welterweight battle that no one expected to go the distance. Ponzinibbio (26-3, 8-2 UFC) swept the scorecards with 29-28 marks from all three judges.
Ponzinibbio operated behind a sharp jab and a steady stream of low kicks that eventually wore down his rugged counterpart. Perry (11-2, 4-2 UFC) wobbled the Argentine with an overhand right in the first round and never stopped pursuing the finish. However, Ponzinibbio turned the corner in the middle stanza, where he tagged the Flint, Michigan, native with a crackling left hook on more than one occasion. Perry’s chin and warrior spirit kept him in the fight when many others might have bowed out on the basis of self-preservation alone. Ponzinibbio stepped up his attack in the third round, as he dropped “Platinum Mike” with a spinning backfist and conserved energy with a series of tactical takedowns.
His stock on the rise at 170 pounds, the 31-year-old Ponzinibbio has rattled off six consecutive victories since his June 2015 defeat to Lorenz Larkin.
Underdog Teixeira Stops Cirkunov
Former Shooto Americas champion Glover Teixeira disposed of Misha Cirkunov with punches in the first round of their light heavyweight showcase. Cirkunov (13-4, 4-2 UFC) succumbed to blows 2:45 into Round 1, as the promising Latvian lost for the second time in as many appearances.
Teixeira (27-6, 10-4 UFC) navigated some early danger, weathering the efforts of the Xtreme Couture export. Cirkunov appeared to have the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt rattled, firing off two, three and four punches at a time. Teixeira leaned on his experience, took down the prospect and immediately moved to his back. He set his hooks and threatened with a rear-naked choke before flattening out Cirkunov and smashing away with punches, forcing referee Dan Miragliotta to intervene.
Finish Reading » UFC on Fox 26 Prelims: UFC on Fox 26 Prelims: Marquez Guillotine Submits Stewart