This past Saturday on the main card of UFC 276 a legend and former champion made his 2022 debut. “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler (29-16) made the walk on Saturday night as he took on the tough Bryan “Bam Bam” Barberena (18-8).
Lawler looked great physically and the 40-year-old former UFC champion was looking to pick up his second straight win. The career outlook for Lawler looked pretty bleak in 2021 as the former champion was looking at a four-fight losing streak.
Then he had his rematch with Nick Diaz at UFC 266 and got back in the win column. From there, he had this fight booked with Bryan Barberena. In the first round, Robbie Lawler was looking great.
Barberena’s game plan was to use a ton of volume while Lawler was looking to use pressure and power. Throughout the first round, Lawler was getting the better of the exchanges because he was landing huge power shots that did more damage.
Entering the second round, both men were looking to do the same. However, Lawler was starting to slow down. The former UFC champion wasn’t throwing as much heat and he ended up getting caught himself later in the round.
Barberena poured it on him but Lawler was hanging tough. Eventually a few really clean shots came in and Lawler was essentially out on his feet. The referee stepped in and Barberena was awarded the TKO win at UFC 276.
What’s next for the former UFC champion?
Robbie Lawler is in a really tough spot after this latest loss. In 2016, Lawler was on top of the world as UFC welterweight champion. Then, he lost his title to Tyron Woodley by knockout. He quickly bounced back to beat Donald Cerrone after that.
However, after the Cerrone win, he would lose four straight in the UFC before the Nick Diaz win. Now, he’s back in the losing column with this TKO loss to Barberena. The former champion is just 2-6 in his last eight fights.
Now, it’s worth noting that it’s not like losses like Donald Cerrone was experiencing towards the end of his UFC run. RDA, Neil Magny, and Colby Covington outpaced and outworked him in their fights. Ben Askren’s submission win is still a point of controversy.
This was the first time he’s lost by strikes since UFC 201 against Woodley. Only his third TKO loss in his MMA career. At 40-years-old and having a recent stretch like this, what should the UFC do with Lawler next?
Personally, I would love to see a rematch with Matt Brown next. Both men are in very similar spots and both are coming off losses to Bryan Barberena. I think fans would love to see these two square off after their tremendous first fight back in 2014.