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UFC Vegas 8, The Morning After: Robbie Lawler doesn’t have it anymore

Here’s what you may have missed!

UFC Fight Night: Lawler v Magny Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Who doesn’t love Robbie Lawler?

Presumably, at least some of the 20 men who Lawler has brutally separated from their senses are likely bitter towards the “Ruthless” legend, but otherwise, he’s one of the most beloved fighters in the sport. A 19-year professional, Lawler has always fought with an intense fire, a willingness to dig deep through exhaustion to chase the knockout.

Fans and fighters alike love and respect Lawler, who can shift from calm gentlemen to violent destroyer of worlds in an instant.

Few predicted Lawler’s run from 2013-2016, which saw Lawler win eight of nine bouts, capturing and defending the Welterweight title in the process. To be frank, it was amazing. There will never be a title reign that surpasses Lawler’s in terms of excitement; it can only be matched at best.

Lawler’s legacy, a lasting one of viciousness and eternal opportunism, only makes the current situation more unfortunate. Lawler is fast-approaching the end of his career, and many of the aspects we love about the former champion are being stripped from him. That’s not to say Lawler cannot win any more fights. There are certainly men on the Welterweight roster who “Ruthless” could send into the shadow realm, and Neil Magny does deserve credit for an excellent game plan and overall showing.

The truth, sadly, is that Lawler is losing several steps at a time. He’s now lost his last four bouts, only showing hints of vintage violence in the opening minute against Ben Askren. Otherwise, his performances have been simply lackluster.

First and foremost, Lawler has largely lost the ability to turn it up. There was a time when the final five minutes of a bout with Lawler were to terrifying. Without any far of exhausting himself, Lawler would let loose streams of punches and kicks, flowing forward with dozens of potential knockout strikes.

Thus, “Fifth Round Lawler” was born.

Nowadays, Lawler simply cannot replicate those feats. He tried to fix himself against Magny, tried to start the first round fast and end the fight strong. He did manage to land a few nice shots in the third opposite Magny, but there was no surge in momentum. Magny simply regrouped and recovered, then continued to implement his game plan.

It is perhaps equally important to note that Lawler is not making good decisions anymore. It took him 14 minutes to remember to throw high kicks against a much rangier striker — blasting left kicks should’ve been his opener. Of course, the standout questionable moment came when Lawler shot for a double leg in the first round, which ... why?!?

Physically, Lawler did not look particularly cut, and even his defensive reactions were not sharp. As a result, Lawler was ill-prepared to deal with any of the problems Magny presented, and there was no surge of violence that allowed him to turn the tides.

It was a painful, largely uneventful loss for Lawler. Unfortunately, it was also one that loudly signaled just how close the end of his professional career is approaching. All of this is the natural order of combat sports, but that doesn’t make it any easier to watch.

My advice for sad Lawler fans? Go rewatch any of those 2013-2016 bouts and remember the good times.