When you think think about this fight you think about one thing...fireworks. Both fighters have incredible knockout power and both fighters love to stand and bang it out on the feet.
Robbie Lawler is coming off a pretty substantial layoff in that he hasn't fought since losing to Jake Shields(via guillotine choke) in June of last year. He was supposed to fight Trevor Prangley last month, but that fight got pulled at the last minute and Strikeforce was unable to find a replacement in time. Due to that occurance we are now treated to this fight. Lawler has a career record of (18-5) with 15 wins via TKO/KO and 1 win via submission. Lawler has some ground skills(more than Manhoef for sure) but just prefers to stand and strike. In fact, in his last five wins he's stopped his opponents via TKO/KO.
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Manhoef is a K-1 veteran with an pretty impressive MMA record of (24-6) with an incredible 23 TKO/KO victories. However, his achilles heel is his submission defense as 4 of his 6 losses have come via that method. He knows that his submission defense is suspect and will tell it is. He knows exactly what he wants to do and that's take your head off before you can get him to the ground. Manhoef has a lot of miles on him with over 45 kickboxing fights to go with his 30+ MMA bouts. He's also been knocked out quite a few times on the K-1 circuit, whereas Lawler has only been knocked out once in his carrer. Which was the KO loss to Nick Diaz many moons ago.
This fight will depend on what Lawler wants to do for the most part. If he wants to stand up and bang, then Manhoef will gladly oblige and whoever lands that punch on the button will likely be the winner. Manhoef has been the more active of the two fighting wise, so that could be a factor if Lawler experiences some cage rust. If Lawler chooses to clinch at some point and take the fight to the ground, then he'll be in a very advantageous position. Lawler has said that he will stand up and bang with Manhoef, which would be very smart when the path to victory is pretty clear cut for him. If that holds true and I had to pick a winner, I'd say I'm leaning toward Manhoef because he will probably be the more sharper of the two because of Lawler's inactivity since last year. Either way, it's doubtful this one will go the distance.