The highly anticipated rematch between two former welterweight champions has been cancelled due to injury. Robbie Lawler (28-13 1 NC) was scheduled to meet Tyron Woodley (19-4-1) at UFC on ESPN 3 on June 29, 2019.
It has been announced that Woodley is withdrawing from the match due to a nagging hand injury that he has fought through in the past. He took to social media to explain his decision;
“… I got to make sure I protect my hand. That’s where I make the money with. I have to be confident throwing my moneymaker, my right hand. I toughed it through the last fight, guys, a lot of (expletive) tape. This time around I’ve got to be honest with myself. The gripping, the grabbing, the posting, the pushing off, the strength, the snapping – all of the above was a little bit more difficult.”
Woodley defeated Lawler at UFC 201 on July 30, 2016 to capture the UFC Welterweight title as a result of a first round knockout. He would defend the title four times, including a win and draw against Stephen Thompson, a unanimous decision win over Demian Maia and a submission win over then undefeated British fighter Darren Till.
He lost the title to Kamaru Usman at UFC 235 on March 2, 2019 via unanimous decision.
The anticipated rematch was the headlining fight of UFC on ESPN 3 but its not yet clear if the UFC plans to reschedule the bout or find a new opponent for Lawler.
There has been no shortage of volunteers to step in to fight “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler. Social media has been active with fighters lobbying for the spot including Mike Perry, Tony Rocco Martin, Belal Muhammad and Darren Till, who offered to meet Lawler at a 175 lb catchweight.
Lawler last competed at UFC 235, losing to the debuting Ben Askren in rather controversial fashion. Askren had applied a bulldog choke on Lawler and the referee thought Lawler was out. He stopped the match and awarded a submission win to Askren as Lawler popped right back up protesting he wasn’t out.
In the early part of the match Lawler had given some heavy damage to Askren after picking him up and slamming him to the mat. Askren was able to compose himself and methodically got himself back into the match.
Askren is already scheduled in a match against Jorge Masvidal at UFC 239 so a possible rematch between himself and Lawler would have to wait.
UFC on ESPN 3 takes place on June 29, 2019 and will be broadcast live from the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota.