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Round 1: Herb Dean on hand to officiate the main event. Dos Anjos gets things started with a leg kick. Lawler throws a 1-2 that dos Anjos avoids. They exchange and Lawler appears to get the better of it. Dos Anjos getting backed up, but he’s staying close to Lawler. Leg kick by dos Anjos briefly trips up Lawler. The former welterweight champ still pushing forward and he connects on a trio of punches that backs dos Anjos against the cage. Thai plum by dos Anjos and he is blasting Lawler’s body with knees. Lawler pushes him back and they separate. Counter right by dos Anjos. Lawler head hunting. Dos Anjos having success with the leg kicks. They’re clinched up against the fence, Lawler trying to land short punches, dos Anjos throwing knees. Knees to the body by Lawler now. Dos Anjos holding onto a Muay Thai clinch. Both fighters in tight, working the body. Lawler keeping dos Anjos pressed up against the cage. Knee to the body by Lawler and they separate.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9, dos Anjos.
Round 2: Lawler coming out swinging now, he’s throwing both hands with malicious intent. Dos Anjos backed up against the fence now, but he’s answering with punches of his own. Both fighters manage to avoid absorbing a heavy shot. Body kick by dos Anjos. Lawler approaches with the jab. Dos Anjos doubles up on the jab to poke Lawler. The former lightweight champ mixes up clinch work with punches up top and it looks like Lawler is hurt. Dos Anjos has Lawler up against the fence and he is just unloading on him. It looks like he may have landed at least two dozen unanswered punches, but Lawler avoided the worst of it and he’s staying alive. He clinches up to ease the pressure, then gets his back off the fence. Back to the center of the cage, Lawler getting back on the offense. Dos Anjos catches a Lawler kick and lands a straight left. Body work by dos Anjos, Lawler still looking for that kill shot. Good jabs by Lawler and once he cuts off the cage he opens up with a brief flurry. He’s landing consistently with a minute to go in the round. Dos Anjos clinches up, and hits Lawler with knees to the body. Lawler responds with a knee of his own.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9, dos Anjos. Overall, 20-18 dos Anjos.
Round 3: Leg kick by dos Anjos followed by a winging left. Lawler pushes him back against the cage and lands a few punches to the body. Dos Anjos with the takedown, Lawler slides on the mat to get his back against the cage. Dos Anjos manages to get past Lawler’s legs into partial half guard though he’s in no position to throw any punches. It’s Lawler connecting with short punches to dos Anjos’s body. Lawler gets back to the feet and spins them around to get dos Anjos against the cage once more. More body work from both sides, knees by dos Anjos, punches by Lawler. Dos Anjos reverses the position. They continue to rip at each other’s mid-sections. Dos Anjos sneaks in an elbow. More body shots from Lawler. They separate and exchange, Lawler falls back after taking what looked to be an elbow by dos Anjos. Dos Anjos jumps down into half guard. Heavy elbows from the top by dos Anjos. He’s going to take the round with the late ground and pound.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9, dos Anjos. Overall, 30-27 dos Anjos.
Round 4: In between rounds, Lawler’s corner was talking to him about a possible issue with his knee. Regardless, he comes forward. Dos Anjos kicks the lead leg. Lawler pushes dos Anjos up against the fence again. Dos Anjos looks happy to fight in the clinch, scoring with an elbow and a knee. Back to the center of the cage and dos Anjos is taking the lead now. Body shot and then a punch over the top from dos Anjos. Big knees to the body by dos Anjos in the clinch, then an elbow. They separate again, dos Anjos throwing freely now, but Lawler showing good head movement. It’s dos Anjos with all the pressure now. Dos Anjos connecting with punching combinations again, then another leg kick. Lawler backs dos Anjos up with a right hand, but dos Anjos gets right back in there. Short punches and elbows by the Brazilian. Cracking overhand left by dos Anjos. A 1-2 connects, then another. Leg kick by dos Anjos. Lawler’s leg clearly giving him problems and he tries a couple of punches that hit nothing but air. Flying knee by dos Anjos puts the cap on a dominant round.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9, dos Anjos. Overall, 40-36 dos Anjos.
Round 5: Dos Anjos tossing out power punches now and Lawler can only back up against the cage. Takedown by dos Anjos. Lawler hanging on, looking for a standup and Dean acknowledges the request. They’re back up and dos Anjos quickly ducks in for a takedown again, but Lawler defends it. Pitter-patter body shots from Lawler in the clinch, dos Anjos looks happy to keep Lawler neutralized in this position. Dos Anjos steps back briefly to land punches, then clinches up again. 90 seconds to go and dos Anjos is in complete control. Lawler with a couple of big hooks that dos Anjos dodges. Exchange of jabs. Another flying knee by dos Anjos, then back to the clinch. Knees to the body by dos Anjos, then a short uppercut. Body punches by Lawler. Elbow from dos Anjos. They show each other respect before the final buzzer and they both know who is going to get their hand raised after this one.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9, dos Anjos. Overall, 50-45 dos Anjos.
Official result: Rafael dos Anjos def. Robbie Lawler via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45)