Welcome to Keys to Victory, the amateur analyst series that takes a look at big upcoming UFC bouts and tries to figure out fighter game plans. In this edition, the main event of UFC 201, a welterweight title clash between champ “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler and Tyron “The Chosen One” Woodley.
Wrestle, Woodley, Wrestle
Tyron has decent power in his hands, but I don’t think his overall striking skills are good enough to place solid shots on Robbie Lawler’s chin. At least, not without taking a lot of damage in the process. Woodley’s best option is to neutralize Lawler’s striking all together and get the fight to the ground.
Robbie does have good take down defense, though, so Tyron can’t just shoot a double from across the cage. He’ll have to work his way in, cautiously, and then look to go for doubles or clinch Lawler against the cage before dragging him down. Woodley can also look to duck punches and blast forward, utilizing his speed advantage.
Avoid the Right Hand
On paper, Woodley presents a slightly new wrinkle for Lawler. He’s a very good wrestler and he’s pretty quick on his feet when it comes to striking. His general gameplan is to allow his opponents to come forward and then move in for either a take-down attempt or a stinging right hand. Woodley probably isn’t as good as a wrestler as Hendricks and his striking might not be on par with Rory MacDonald, but he’s quicker than Hendricks and his wrestling is more of a threat than MacDonald.
Lawler’s defense is probably a little underrated. He’s thought of as a wild brawler, but he’s got good skills at rolling with punches and picking off strikes with his arms. If he can keep Woodley’s rights from landing, and if Robbie can nail some counters, he should be able to put Tyron away.
You can see if Woodley and Lawler try to implement these plans or something else entirely in the main event of UFC 201. The pay per view portion of the card starts at 10 p.m. ET.