Lawler returns for the first time in 12 months following his third consecutive loss, a decision setback against Colby Covington. He meets Magny, who’s on a two-fight winning streak and was originally slated to face Geoff Neal.
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Round 1: Magny stays mobile, fighting at distance with kicks as Lawler atempts to get inside. Left straight to body gets Magny’s attention, and the next exchange sees Lawler duck under for a takedown attempt against the fence. Magny sprawls and lowers his center of gravity, pushing the head and then setting up a D’Arce. On his hands and knees, Lawler tries to drive forward as Magny beats the body. Another submission setup, and Magny gets to the back. He hooks a leg as Lawler stands. Right hands from Magny against the fence. Lawler fights the hands and Magny tries to jump onto the back, securing the choke. Lawler gets on top after they hit the mat, and he fires off punches as Magny gets back up and turns them. Magny so far winning in close, firing punches, knees and elbows before a double-leg puts Lawler down. Magny works to advance position, and Lawler scrambles to his hands and knees. Another D’Arce setup, and then an Anaconda from Magny, who settles again for punching the body as Lawler pitches forward. Lawler stagnant as Magny ends the frame with more punches to the flanks.
MMA Fighting scores the frame 10-9 for Magny.
Round 2: Lawler takes the first chances to come forward with punches. Magny backs off and fires back at the legs. Lawler measuring, waiting patiently to explode. But when he does, Magny ducks under then fires a head kick before pressing in for the takedown. Soon, Lawler is flat on his back with four minutes left in the round. In half-guard, Magny works to mount and then takes the back in transition. Lawler fights the hands as Magny zeroes in, and they sit against the cage. Lawler tries to roll away and can’t get Magny off his back. Lawler tries to sit up and escape and winds up fighting a Twister setup. Lawler elbows sideways, and Magny drags him down when he tries to stand up. Lawler shrimps back to the fence and get to his hands and knees again. Magny is all over him. Magny tries to wrap the neck with one hook in against the fence. Lawler stands, and Magny lands elbows and knees in close. Lawler finally gets some space with short time. Magny with straight shots at distance. Jab diffuses Lawler’s approach, but he gets off an uppercut. It doesn’t land flush, and he runs out of time.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9 for Magny, who’s up 20-18.
Round 3: Magny goes back to work at distance, fighting long with his kicks. Lawler tries to explode in, and Magny goes to his back after an exchange of punches. Lawler’s on top in guard, and Magny attacks his base early before tying up. Lawler can’t do much with his fists, and referee Jason Herzog warns for action. Then, he stands them up. Lawler attacks the calf and then throws a heavy combo. He’s starting to explode, but Magny comes back with his straight right before driving for a leg. Lawler topples over after Magny scoops a leg, and Magny again ends up at Lawler’s back. When Lawler gets up, Magny is all over him. Knees inside and elbows before peeling off. Halfway through, and Lawler needs a knockout. Kicks are keeping him away, and when he sets up, Magny lands a step-in knee. Lawler is standing and waiting while Magny keeps active with punches. Magny wraps the clinch as soon as Lawler gets close, walking him over to the cage. Lawler’s nose is bleeding badly. Elbows in close from Magny, then knees, and Magny is working him against the fence. Lawler peekaboos with a head kick and then closes distance for one last flurry. He fires a couple of heavy punches, but they soon end up tied against the cage. Magny gets distance and peppers Lawler at distance, ducking a few head kicks in the process. The round ends, and Magny secures the win.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9 for Magny, who gets the 30-27 shutout.
OFFICIAL RESULT: Neil Magny def. Robbie Lawler via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)