Saturday night, the UFC returned to PPV with UFC 201: Lawler vs. Woodley. Featuring welterweight champion Robbie Lawler looking to make his third straight title defense against Tyron Woodley, the first event since the historic UFC 200 continued with the recent trend of being plagued by last minute line-up changes.

A planned co-headliner between Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson and Wilson Reis had to be pulled when flyweight champ Johnson fell to injury, while another key match-up at 125lbs fell through when Justin Scoggins was unable to make weight, resulting in his fight against the popular Ian “Uncle Creepy” McCall being called off just two days before the event.

In place of the Mighty Mouse fight, Rose Namajunas vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz was promoted to co-headliner, as it had the possibility to determine the next in line for a crack at Joanna Jedrzejczyk’s 115lb title. Elsewhere on the card, welterweight fan faves Matt Brown and Jake Ellenberger squared off in what promised to be an action-filled bout.

Tune in come fight time for a summary of the night’s action and full results!

Main Card Summary

Robbie Lawler (c) vs. Tyron Woodley

Round 1 — After some feeling out and a kick thrown by Lawler, Tyron Woodley showed some fast hands halfway through the round and moved in with a huge right hand that dropped Lawler! As Lawler struggled to get back to his feet Woodley followed up with a few shots, but anything past that first right was an afterthought. Just like that, we have another title change hands! Tyron Woodley is the new UFC welterweight champion of the world!

Tyron Woodley def. Robbie Lawler by knockout, Round 1, 2:12

Rose Namajunas vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz

Round 1 — Kowalkiewicz pushed the action early, Namajunas looked the counter. Kowalkiewicz landed a leg kick, but ate a counter right. Rose landed a leg kick of her own. Rose stepped in with a left hand. Kowalkiewicz continued to press forward while Namajunas used her movement to circle out of harm’s way. Namajunas landed a right. Rose landed a leg kick but slipped. Kowalkiewicz went for a high kick. Namajunas with a counter left. Kowalkiewicz using combos to set up her kicks. They clinched and Kowalkiewicz landed some knees. Rose with a trip to take her opponent down, but Kowalkiewicz managed to take the back. Rose turned things around and wound up on top just as the buzzer sounded.

Round 2 — A clinch early saw Kowalkiewicz land some nasty elbows and knees, while Rose tried in vain to take her opponent down. Namajunas pressed Kowalkiewicz against the cage, but wound up eating more elbows for her troubles. She continued to work for the takedown but couldn’t land it, so instead went to the body with a good punch. Kowalkiewicz then landed a number of elbows and knees. Namajunas attempted to for for an arm triangle while still standing. Kowalkiewicz got caught with a combo while her hands were down. Front kick by Rose pushed Kowalkiewicz to the ground. Kowalkiewicz stuffed a takedown, and landed another knee to the body. Rose pressed Kowalkiewicz up against the cage again; after the broke free Kowalkiewicz landed a right. Kowalkiewicz clinched and scored with several more knees to the body. Rose was taking deep breaths with a minute to go in the round. She ate another knee and countered with a right. Rose tried a jump knee and landed a jab towards the end of the round, but the knees and elbows of Kowalkiewicz were the story of round two.

Round 3 — Spinning back kick by Kowalkiewicz didn’t land clean, but indicated he was looking to continue attacking in the third. It very well could be tied a round a piece entering the third frame. Rose still looked to counter on the outside, but her movement had definitely slowed after the accumulated damage from Kowalkiewicz’s knees and elbows in the second. Kowalkiewicz rushed in and looked for the clinch, scoring another knee in the process. A leg kick landed by Rose. Kowalkiewicz was allowing her hands to drop, perhaps sensing a Namajunas takedown. Rose did in fact try to shoot in moments later. Kowalkiewicz scored with a big right after a clinch, and managed to take top control. Namajunas looked for an arm bar but couldn’t secure it. Same with a leg lock. Great transitions by Kowalkiewicz. Namajunas needed to get back up, or score a sub; Kowalkiewicz with all that top control was likely winning the round. Namajunas looked for a triangle but didn’t have it; she tried to escape but Kowalkiewicz was still on top. Namajunas looked for a omoplata but couldn’t secure it; she worked back to her feet and they traded until the bell sounded. Great co-main event fight from the strawweights.

Karolina Kowalkiewicz def. Rose Namajunas by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Matt Brown vs. Jake Ellenberger

Round 1 — The Juggernaut dropped Brown right off the opening bell with a huge right and swarmed in with strikes. Brown managed to defend and recover, but quickly ate another shot. Brown again survived, and Ellenberger seemed to have punched himself out a little. Brown sensed this and moved in, but Ellenberger landed a huge kick to the body, dropping Brown again and following up with strikes until the ref waved it off! Ellenberger with a huge win!

Jake Ellenberger def. Matt Brown by TKO, Round 1, 1:46

Francisco Rivera vs. Érik Pérez

Round 1 — Perez came out in his luchador mask. Rivera missed with a combo early. Couple of high kicks by Perez were blocked. Both fighters started to open up and throw more kicks. Rivera, then Perez, landed kicks to the body. Perez caught a kick by Rivera and walked him to the fence. Knee attempt by Perez came close, and he appeared to be the more active fighter in the first round. Rivera did manage to land a solid counter left hook. Towards the end of the round, Rivera slipped just after Perez connected with an inside leg kick. Rivera flashed some kicks of his own in response but couldn’t land them.

Round 2 — An inside leg kick looked to hurt Rivera early in the second. Perez remained the fresher fighter to start the round. Rivera landed a leg kick of his own. Spinning back fist attempt by Perez missed. Perez looked very light on his feet, but shot in with a sloppy takedown attempt and just avoided taking some serious damage. A spinning elbow opened up Rivera. Perez worked his opponent’s body from the outside, displaying great movement. Perez looked to land a single leg takedown but Rivera recovered nicely. Perez continued to get the better of the exchanges, and scored a takedown up against the cage with thirty seconds left in the round. Perez managed to land some solid body shots as the round wound down.

Round 3 — Both fighters were swinging for the fences to start the third. Perez and Rivera both connected repeatedly; Rivera punched himself out to the point he could barely stand up. Total spin cycle, with both fighters agreeing to just stand and trade. Rivera wound up under Perez with a pool of blood under his head. Perez scored from the top with Rivera pinned against the fence, unable to free himself. Rivera looked to the ref to stand things up, but Perez has been active for the most part. Lots of body shots and short punches to the head, with a guillotine available if Perez got in the right position. He didn’t, and Rivera eventually got back up for one last exchange, but it was all Perez in the third. Entertaining, bloody, but ultimately one-sided.

Érik Pérez def. Francisco Rivera by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 29-28)

Ryan Benoit vs. Fredy Serrano

Round 1 — The fighters traded simultaneous leg kicks early leading to a slip; Serrano tried out an axe kick while Benoit patiently stalked him down. Serrano caught a kick moments later and slammed Benoit to the mat, landing in side control. Benoit looked to secure a choke before they worked their way back to the feet, where moments later Serrano was clipped by a punch and dropped. He survived, but Benoit was able to look for a guillotine but a scramble saw the fight move back to the feet. Benoit pressed his opponent against the cage and landed a couple of good rights before his opponent could escape. A solid kick followed. A low shoot in by Serrano went nowhere. Another axe kick attempt by Serrano missed. Benoit landed a punch just after the bell, and Serrano threw a push after in frustration.

Round 2 — Benoit displayed some good takedown defense early in the second as Serrano drove in. Serrano, as in the first, stuck his neck out leaving himself open to a potential choke. He escaped, and later slammed Benoit, who tried to move for a guillotine but couldn’t hold onto it after the same. Serrano managed to maintain top position and passed to half guard but was bucked off, and the fighters moved back to the feet. Serrano was opened up, possibly from the slam earlier. Serrano with another questionably low takedown attempt, and Benoit fought it off. A rush in by Serrano went nowhere, but he subsequently managed to slam his opponent again and land in side control. A north south position followed where Serrano attempted to drop his hip/thigh onto Benoit’s head. They made it back to the feet just as the rounded ended.

Round 3 — Serrano scored a takedown right off the bell, landing in Benoit’s guard. Unable to make much progress over 90 seconds, the ref stood them up, and Serrano shot in low again, almost eating a knee in the process. That allowed Benoit to get top position and look to take the back, but Serrano fought his foe off and worked back to his feet. Serrano’s offense in the third was, frankly, even more bizarre, with sloppy strikes coming off rushes in and very low shots for the takedown. Benoit managed to land a spinning kick and actually jumped over a takedown attempt at one point. Benoit began landing more leg kicks, then tied Serrano up against the cage, connecting with a right on the break that may have stunned Serrano. He couldn’t follow up, and they went the distance.

Ryan Benoit def. Fredy Serrano by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Full Results

Tyron Woodley def. Robbie Lawler by knockout, Round 1, 2:12
Karolina Kowalkiewicz def. Rose Namajunas by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Jake Ellenberger def. Matt Brown by TKO, Round 1, 1:46
Érik Pérez def. Francisco Rivera by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 29-28)
Ryan Benoit def. Fredy Serrano by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Preliminary Card (Fox Sports 2)

Nikita Krylov def. Ed Herman by knockout, Round 2,  0:40
Jorge Masvidal def. Ross Pearson by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Anthony Hamilton def. Damian Grabowski by knockout, Round 1, 0:14
Wilson Reis def. Hector Sandoval by submission (rear-naked choke), Round 1, 1:49

Fight Pass Prelims

Michael Graves vs. Bojan Veličković ends in a majority draw (30-27, 28-28, 28-28)
Damien Brown def. César Arzamendia by knockout, Round 1, 2:27

About The Author

Senior Staff Writer

Covering the sport of MMA from Ontario, Canada, Jay Anderson has been writing for various publications covering sports, technology, and pop culture since 2001. Jay holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Guelph, and a Certificate in Leadership Skills from Humber College under the Ontario Management Development Program. When not slaving at the keyboard, he can be found in the company of his dog, a good book, or getting lost in the woods.