What to expect from Lawler v Woodley and the rest of UFC 201

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Three weeks removed from the landmark UFC 200 show, it’s time for 2010 in Atlanta, with Robbie Lawler’s UFC Welterweight Championship defence headlining. These are some of the attractions:

Robbie Lawler v Tyson Woodley

Lawler is the 4/6 favourite and has won a lot of admiration not only for his success but the quality of his fights, with three of the last four going the distance and the exception being won by TKO in the fifth and final round.

However, though he is on a five-bout winning streak, the suspicion is that rather than becoming stronger with each victory, the amount of damage that he endures in each long-distance battle makes him more vulnerable for the next.

Woodley is a fighter in similarly impressive form, winning four times in five contests, but without the wear and tear having closed two of those in the first round, suggesting that the welterweight champion could be in trouble.

Best bet: Back the fight to go the distance @ 2/1

Rose Namajunas v Karolina Kowalkiewicz

Neither of these two strawweight scrappers have box-office drawing power yet, but they do have the makings of box-office win-loss figures, with Namajunas winning all three of her fights since appearing on The Ultimate Fighter and Kowalkiewicz boasting a 9-0 career record.

Admittedly, the Pole hasn’t faced quite as stern competition, starting out in Polish MMA organisation KSW and only competing twice so far in UFC, beating mediocre foes by decision.

Namajunas’ recent triumphs have been more decisive, with a whopping seven of her eight across Invicta, Ultimate Fighter and mainstream UFC achieved via submission, so that looks like a wise wager again.

Best bet: Back Namajunas to win by submission @ 27/10

Francisco Rivera v Erik Perez

If the woman’s match appeals because it throws two adversaries in fine form together, the opposite is true of this one.

Perez has suffered two defeats in four appearances, both times to unremarkable opponents, but he has prevailed three times on main UFC cards and his recent results are still a lot better than Rivera’s. The Californian has lost four times in five outings, including three times in a row at numbered events.

Two of his latest three reverses were the result of a submission and, though Perez hasn’t leaned on that as heavily in UFC, it was a reliable win method for him in his earlier efforts, delivering for instance three of his five victories in 2011 courtesy of a rear-naked choke.

Best bet: Perez to win by submission @ 7/2

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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