July’s UFC 213 card has been bolstered with a fight which has the potential to be Fight of the Year, as Donald Cerrone and Robbie Lawler will face off at Welterweight.
For Lawler (27-11 1NC), this will be his first trip back into the cage following his knockout loss to Tyron Woodley in July 2016. That loss to Woodley at UFC 201 saw Lawler lose his UFC Welterweight title, and despite taking the rest of the year off to recover, a win over Cerrone would put the 35-year-old back into contention.
When this fight was being considered for UFC 205 in November, a win for “Cowboy” Cerrone (32-8 1NC) would have likely been enough to earn the Colorado native a shot at the title, providing, of course, that he would be willing to wait for it. However a tough TKO loss to Jorge Masvidal in January has moved Cerrone down the pecking order. By the time Cerrone steps back into the cage in July, it will have been his longest layoff from active competition since turning pro in 2006 (excluding the suspension that he incurred after testing positive for a banned substance at WEC 30).
The stakes are undoubtedly high for both men. Both are coming off of losses, and knockout losses at that. Demian Maia, Jorge Masvidal and Neil Magny arguably have stronger claims to a title shot, discounting the wildcards that are Georges St-Pierre and Conor McGregor. A win for either man here is essential for them to remain relevant in the title picture.
Current UFC 213 card:
(Bout order TBC)
Heavyweight bout: Fabrício Werdum vs. Alistair Overeem
Welterweight bout: Robbie Lawler vs. Donald Cerrone[