Dana White said before Saturday night's main event between Robbie Lawler and Matt Brown that he would walk back to Las Vegas if the thing went to a decision.
Guess what? It's 516 miles from San Jose's SAT Center to Las Vegas, where the UFC is headquartered. The promotion's president is going to need some comfortable shoes, because that's exactly what happened.
Lawler and Brown put on a bloody back-and-forth fight that, against all odds, made it the full five rounds. Ultimately Lawler controlled large portions of the welterweight title eliminator, outlasting Brown en-route to a unanimous decision. He won on the scorecards 49-46, 49-46, 48-47. Lawler is now the frontrunner to fight champion Johny Hendricks when he is healthy enough to compete against after labrum surgery.
More Coverage: UFC on FOX 12 Results | UFC news
Download MMA Fighting iPhone App
Afterwards, there was mutual respect between Lawler and the bloodied Brown, who took the brunt of the punishment. The two men shared a hug and some words in the center of the Octagon at the end.
"I said, 'there's two champions in this ring tonight,' he's a hell of a fighter," Lawler said. "We put on a great show for these guys. He came toe-to-toe with me and not too many people do that."
Both guys landed solid shots early. The 32-year old Lawler was relaxed and finding a home for his left hand, making Brown tentative to come forward. But then Brown came on later in the round anyway and wobbled Lawler with a right. That set the tempo for what would become a war of attrition.
The action slowed down a little in the second round, as Brown began to find his range and open up. At one point he took Lawler down, at least briefly, and he landed a couple of high kicks and was mixing up his shots.
By the third round Lawler began to take Brown apart, landing the cleaner shots, and really getting work done in the clinch with his dirty boxing and on breaks. Midway through the third, Lawler hurt Brown with a body shot but referee Big John McCarthy thought it went to the groin -- a perception Brown himself aided by grabbing his cup and wincing. That enabled Brown to survive the round.
In the fourth round Lawler took Brown down immediately and kept him there for a big portion. At that point, Brown was clearly gassing, and Lawler was being selective with his left hand. In the fifth, it appeared that Brown, who was turning up the volume and being the aggressor realizing he was down on the scorecards, hurt his right hand. He shook it out after a shot in close, and was reluctant to throw it the rest of the way.
"I'm very excited," the victorious Lawler said afterwards. "I want to get back to work and go after Hendricks. He's nursing some injuries but I'm going to be the one waiting for him."
The loss snapped a seven-fight winning streak for the 33-year old Matt Brown, who has resurrected his career after losing four of five fights beforehand. His record now stands at 19-12.
For the hard-hitting Lawler, the resurrection story goes on. He's now 5-1 in the UFC, with his only loss a narrow decision against Hendricks for the interim belt back at UFC 171. Now, he'll get his chance to avenge that loss.
Matt Brown, 33,