The UFC 157 card, scheduled for February 23rd, 2013 in Aneheim, California has added a main card welterweight bout between Robbie Lawler and Josh Koscheck. Koscheck has long been one of the UFC’s top welterweights, while Lawler is returning to the UFC after a long time in STRIKEFORCE, and he is also returning to the 170 lb weight class after what must be termed a long but inconsistent run at 185 lbs. The match will be on the main card of the first ever UFC Women’s match.
Lawler is the x-factor in this bout. Lawler is 4-3 in the UFC but has been gone from the ‘big show’ since 2004 and UFC 50. Despite that, Lawler has always maintained a high level of competition. In recent years he has been inconsistent, but he will always be a big puncher who retains his power into the later rounds. He went 3-5 in his last 8 fights, all for STRIKEFORCE, and all at 185 lbs. It will be interesting to see how he cuts the weight to 170 lbs, as he has not fought at welterweight in a long time. Despite a career that goes back more than 10 years, Lawler is still just 30 years old, so if he can adjust to the 170 lb class again, he could be a future factor at welterweight.
Koscheck has less time fighting and less fights, but he also haas competed at a high level throughout his career, so the experience factor is almost entirely a wash in the fight.
Koscheck is five years older, which may or may not be a factor. Koscheck cannot be knocked for his conditioning, but all Lawler will need to KO him is that splt second of slowness.
Koscheck is also coming off several negatives – he is coming off a back injury that caused him pull out of a scheduled fight this past September (against Jake Ellenberger) and he is coming off a loss to Johny Hendricks.
Now, Koscheck earned a split decision against the hard hitting Hendricks, losing but staying safe anwith moments of offense. but it is difficult to continue fighting guys who are trying to take your head off and staying safe(ask Randy Couture about chuck Lidell, or more recently, ask Manny Pacquiao).
Another factor will bethe motivation of both men. When the line comes out, Koscheck will almost certainly by a favorite, probably in the neighborhood of 2 to 1, but if he is facing a guys 5 years younger who is motivated by a return to the UFC and a shot at real money, then there will be value in Lawler as an underdog. This is one to watch!