UFC Winnipeg Recap: RDA Next for Woodley

Rafael dos Anjos was completely dominant in the main event of the UFC on FOX event on Dec. 16 at the Bell MTS Place in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Dos Anjos defeated Robbie Lawler in the main event of their welterweight title eliminator bout, likely becoming next in line for a shot at UFC Welterweight Champion Tyron Woodley.

The two felt each other out for the first 45 seconds before getting into a brief exchange. Lawler moved forward, trying to set traps, while dos Anjos moved around the Octagon. Lawler got a combination that forced dos Anjos’ back against the cage, which led to a clinch. Dos Anjos landed a few knees in the clinch before the two separated, and then the two clinched up again with about 90 seconds remaining in the round. The clinch battle went up against the cage wall again for most of the opening round.

With some hesitation from each man, the two started to brawl around in the first part of the second. Dos Anjos landed a big left hand that rocked Lawler, and dos Anjos threw a flurry of punches against Lawler, who was rocked against the cage. But Lawler survived and managed to clinch up with the former lightweight champ with about two-and-a-half minutes to go. The two went back to the cage walls with about two minutes left in the round. Lawler then controlled the pace, always ready to let his hands go. Dos Anjos appeared to be tired from the flurry he let on against Lawler earlier.

Lawler seemed to be in control of the pace at the start of the third, but Dos Anjos managed to get his first takedown of the fight. Most of the round was then spent in the clinch against the cage. With about a minute left, Dos Anjos landed an elbow that hurt Lawler and knocked him down. Dos Anjos got on top and landed some hard elbows in the top position.

While he couldn’t get the finish, it was clear dos Anjos was running away with the fight. After taking 15 leg kicks from dos Anjos throughout this fight, Lawler’s legs were not in good shape. Lawler’s aggressiveness had gone down since the opening round, which is something uncharacteristic of him. Dos Anjos had taken complete control of the fight and its pace, and he emphasized that with a flying knee and elbow before the end of the round.

After an early takedown and not much else action in the fifth, the fight went to the judges’ cards, with all three giving the former lightweight champion 50-45 sweeps.

UFC Winnipeg Main Card Results (8 p.m. ET, FOX):
Welterweight Title Eliminator: Rafael dos Anjos def. Robbie Lawler via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45)
Catchweight (148.5 lbs): Josh Emmett def. Ricardo Lamas via KO (Rd. 1, 4:33)
Welterweight: Santiago Ponzinibbio def. Mike Perry via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Light Heavyweight: Glover Teixeira def. Misha Cirkunov via TKO (Rd. 1, 2:45)

UFC Winnipeg Preliminary Card Results (5 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1):
Light Heavyweight: Jan Blachowicz vs. Jared Cannonier
Middleweight: Julian Marquez def. Darren Stewart via submission (guillotine) (Rd. 2, 2:42)
Welterweight: Chad Laprise def. Galore Bofando via TKO (Rd. 1, 4:10)
Welterweight: Nordine Taleb def. Danny Roberts via KO (Rd. 1, 0:59)
Lightweight: John Makdessi def. Abel Trujillo via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Middleweight: Alessio Di Chirico def. Oluwale Bamgbose via KO (Rd. 2, 2:14)

UFC Winnipeg Preliminary Card Results (4:30 p.m. ET, UFC Fight Pass):
Welterweight: Jordan Mein def. Erick Silva via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)

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