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UFC on Fox: Lawler vs. Brown

The Ultimate Fighting Championship returns to San Jose, Calif., Saturday as UFC on Fox: Lawler vs. Brown comes live from the SAP Center.

The main card is scheduled to start at 8:00 p.m. ET and will air live on Fox.

The preliminary card kicks off at 5:00 p.m. ET, with early preliminaries – to be broadcast on UFC Fight Pass – commencing at 4:00 p.m. ET.

The main event sees a welterweight title eliminator between top-ranked Robbie Lawler and Matt Brown, the No. 5-ranked fighter in the division.

Lawler vs. Brown

After losing to Johnny Hendrix in a battle for the vacant welterweight title at UFC 171, No. 1 Robbie Lawler (23-10-0, 1NC, 8-4-0 UFC) might have been forgiven for taking it easy and reassessing his path to the top of the mountain. The lawless one had other ideas though.

Lawler bounded back from that defeat quickly, earning a TKO victory over Jake Ellenberger at UFC 173 in May. The result made a clear statement: Lawler wants another shot at the gold.

Since returning to the UFC in 2013, Lawler has produced a 4-1 record, no mean feat considering he’s been battling at a rate of one fight every 3.6 months. It’s this willingness to bang that has endeared the 32-year-old to fans and UFC brass alike. It’s this willingness to bang that will also make Saturday’s main event a surefire hit.

When Lawler, who grew up in San Diego, steps foot in the Octagon in San Jose on Saturday, he’ll know that anything less than a win will seriously delay, or even permanently delay, his next shot at the title. That simply won’t do.

Standing across the Octagon from Lawler will be No. 5 Matt Brown (21-11-0, 12-5-0 UFC).

Since coming to the attention of the world during season seven of The Ultimate Fighter back in 2008, Brown has slowly but surely ascended up the ranks.

A 4-1 start to his UFC career quickly became 5-5 before things really started to click. Since his last loss (UFC 139, Nov. 2011), Brown has reeled off seven straight victories, and in impressive fashion. The Xenia, Ohio, native has won his last five bouts by knockout, decimating opponents on the way to the biggest fight of his career.

A win over Lawler would not only serve as a high water mark in a lengthy career, it would also set up an even bigger opportunity. But can the heavy hitter secure the victory in San Jose?

Lawler and Brown have combined for a whopping 31 knockouts between them, which suggests this one is going to see some bombs dropping. Brown has also secured five submission victories to Lawler’s one, which means he may hold the advantage if this one goes to the ground.

Odds: Lawler (-370) is the favorite over Brown (+280) on the moneyline.

Johnson vs. Nogueira

In the co-main event of the evening, No. 5 Anthony “Rumble” Johnson will square-off against the returning Antônio Rogério Nogueira.

After a two year hiatus from the company, Johnson (17-4-0, 8-4-0 UFC) returned to the UFC in April, earning a unanimous decision victory over Phil Davis at UFC 172. Johnson hopes the victory will be the start of a prosperous second stint in mixed martial arts’ top promotion.

The 30-year-old began his first stint with the UFC back in 2007. After starting out 2-2 he went on to win five of his next seven. But after failing to make weight in three of his nine bouts, he left the organization following a submission defeat at the hands of Vitor Belfort.

While away, Johnson racked up six straight wins, a streak he took to seven with April’s triumphant return. Now he’ll look to make is eight when he steps in the Octagon to face an MMA legend.

Nogueira (21-5-0, 4-2-0 UFC) will enter the cage for the first time in 14 months, and just the second time in nearly three years, on Saturday.

Constant back complaints and injuries have forced the 38-year-old Brazilian out of action, and fights with Shogun Rua and Alex Gustafsson have previously fallen by the wayside. How “Little Nog” will fair in the Octagon after such a layoff remains to be seen, but we’re hoping for a performance that’s a million miles from that of B.J. Penn last month.

Nogueira’s last fight came at UFC 156 in February 2013, a unanimous decision victory over Rashad Evans.

This bout will see two contrasting styles, as “Rumble” looks to brawl his way to victory while “Little Nog” will look for the submission. Johnson has nine knockout victories in his career, while Nogueira has recorded six submissions. It’s worth pointing out that the Brazilian has also finished six fights via KO, so he’ll be happy to bang, at least for a while.

Odds: Johnson (-600) is a heavy favorite over the returning Nogueira (+400).

Bet on UFC on Fox: Lawler vs. Brown

With the cancellation of UFC 176, originally scheduled to take place at Staples Center in Los Angeles on August 2, your next dose of UFC action comes on Saturday, August 16, as UFC Fight Night: Bader vs. St. Preux comes live from the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor, Maine.

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