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A pair of veterans in the Welterweight division clash, as Robbie Lawler takes on Bryan Barberena. Returning to the octagon for the first time in 2022, Lawler comes into this fight off a victory. A rarity, as Lawler had not won since 2017. Now with an opportunity to win two straight for the first time since 2015-2016, perhaps the former champion can put retirement talk on the backburner once and for all. Meanwhile, Barberena has enjoyed a career resurgence. A winner of two straight and three of the last four, Barberena is awarded with a chance to knock off a former champion. Still only 33 years old, Barberena still has time to make a run.

This pairing of veterans is solid matchmaking at it’s finest. Lawler may be long in the tooth, but he always brings the same tenacity to every fight. A striker, with power and durability on his side, Lawler can knock anyone out. However, he can often be a mixed bag. At Lawler’s best, he is letting his hands go and pressuring his opponent. At his worst, he is hesitant and a punching bag. Luckily though, Lawler won’t have to worry about wrestling. Something in which has plagued him, seeing that he’s been taken down eighteen times in the last six fights. A bonus hunter, Barberena is usually involved in wild fights. Known for his ability to absorb punishment, Barberena is in the mindset that you have to eat a punch to give one back. Not always the smartest of strategies, but thus far a relatively successful one.

This could be a “Fight of the Night” contender, as both men aren’t the quickest of strikers anymore and are known for their durability. Ingredients in which make for a long and entertaining scrap. While I’d like to side with Lawler, given his disruptive power and ability to box, I just can’t trust Lawler to be at his best. There is too much Jekyll and Hyde to his game at this stage of his career. On the other hand, I know what I’m going to get with Barberena. A guy who will rack up strikes, maintain a hard pace for three rounds and continue plodding forward throughout the fight. So with that said, I predict that Barberena wins via decision.

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