UFC on Fox 26: Lawler vs. Dos Anjos | Breakdown, Betting Tips, Odds

On December 16, the UFC will touch down in the Canadian city of Winnipeg, Manitoba, with an exciting FOX broadcast. Though this card will air for free on television, it is easily stacked enough to warrant a pay-per-view price tag.

Welterweight Main Event: Robbie Lawler vs. Rafael dos Anjos

The UFC’s return to Winnipeg will be headlined by a clash between former UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler (28-11) and former lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos (27-9). This bout is expected to produce the next UFC welterweight title challenger.

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Lawler will enter this fight having recently bested Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone with a controversial judges’ decision. This win over Cowboy marked Lawler’s first steps into the Octagon since he lost the welterweight title to Tyron Woodley, succumbing to first round punches back in July of 2016.

Dos Anjos, meanwhile, will step onto the canvas having gone 2-0 in his first two bouts as a UFC welterweight. In his first fight in this new division, he defeated form Strikeforce champion Tarec Saffiedine by decision. In his most recent fight, he truly announced himself as a welterweight contender, tapping top-10 fighter Neil Magny inside a round.

As two of the most consistently exciting and well-rounded fighters in MMA, Lawler and Dos Anjos are expected to put on a show. The likelihood of their capturing Fight of the Night honors as they battle for a title shot seems high.

Featherweight Co-Main Event: Jose Aldo vs. Ricardo Lamas

The co-main event of this UFC on Fox card will pit former UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo (26-3) against long-time contender Ricardo Lamas (18-5). This bout will be a rematch of a 2014 title fight, which Aldo won by unanimous decision.

Since their first fight, Aldo has been hot-and-cold, defeating top featherweight contenders in Chad Mendes and Frankie Edgar, and losing to Conor McGregor and most recently, Max Holloway, who now owns the featherweight belt.

Lamas, meanwhile, has gone 4-2 since he lost to Aldo, splitting wins over Hacran Dias, Dennis Bermudez, Diego Sanchez, Charles Oliveira and Jason Knight with losses to Chad Mendes and Max Holloway.

Though Aldo won the pair’s first fight quite handily, he has recently shown signs of decline, and perhaps more worryingly, faltering motivation, while Lamas has the look of a fighter on the rise. As such, the outcome of the pair’s first fight is likely to have little bearing on what happens in this rematch. They’re completely different fighters than they were when they first met. Bet accordingly.

Welterweight Bout: Santiago Ponzinibbio vs. Mike Perry

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One of the most compelling features of this UFC on Fox card is a welterweight clash between “Platinum” Mike Perry (11-1) and Santiago Ponzinibbio (25-3), the UFC’s 15th and 9th ranked welterweight contenders respectively, and two of the most violent finishers in the division.

Perry will enter this fight having gone 4-1 since joining the UFC in August of 2016. As a member of the UFC roster, he has authored violent knockouts of Hyun Gyu Lim, Danny Roberts, Jake Ellenberger, and most recently, Alex Reyes, who replaced Thiago Alves at the last minute. Perry’s lone Octagon hiccup came against the more experienced Alan Jouban.

Ponzinibbio, meanwhile, is trundling along on a five-fight win-streak. This streak is composed of TKO defeats of Andreas Ståhl and Court McGee, decision defeats of Zak Cummings and Nordine Taleb, and most recently, a career-changing knockout win over long-time contender and Conor McGregor training partner Gunnar Nelson.

This bout will likely thrust the winner to the pinnacle to the welterweight division – perhaps even into a fight with the loser of this card’s main event.

Light Heavyweight Bout: Glover Teixeira vs. Misha Cirkunov

Originally, light heavyweight contenders Glover Teixeira (26-6) and Misha Cirkunov (13-3) were expected to meet during the UFC’s October trip to Sao Paulo, Brazil. After a rescheduling, however, they landed on this Winnipeg card.

When we last saw Glover Teixeira in the cage, he was knocked out by fellow contender Alexander Gustafsson. This knockout loss marked his return to the loss column after a win over Jared Cannonier. In his next most recent fight, he was knocked out by Anthony “Rumble” Johnson.

Cirkunov, on the other hand, was also knocked out in his last fight, having been zapped by a first-round punch from surging Swiss contender Volkan Oezdemir. This loss marked the end of an eight-fight win-streak for the Latvian-Canadian, including a 4-0 stint in his first four UFC bouts.

Light Heavyweight Bout: Antonio Rogerio Nogueira vs. Jared Cannonier

Glover Teixeira and Misha Cirkunov aren’t the only light heavyweight contenders on the UFC Winnipeg bill. The card will also feature a showdown between PRIDE legend Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (22-8), and Alaska’s Jared Cannonier (10-2).

This fight will be Nogueira’s first in more than a year, as he has not been seen in action since he was knocked out by Ryan Bader in November of 2016. This loss to Bader pushed him to a tough 1-3 in his last four, as he has separated losses to Anthony “Rumble” Johnson, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Bader with a lone win over Patrick Cummins.

Cannonier, meanwhile, will step into the cage having recently picked up a first-round win over the debuting Nick Roehrick. This win thrust him back into the win column, as he came up short in a spirited effort opposite Glover Teixeira in his next most recent fight.

In this fight, we have as clear a “veteran vs. prospect” narrative as you can find in MMA. It’ll be interesting to see who prevails when the cage door closes.

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All images courtesy UFC.

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