Fight Night Winnipeg: Road to the Octagon – Lawler vs Dos Anjos

NARRATOR: As an explosive 2017 nears its conclusion… ♪ Is running out now ♪ …the UFC’s penultimate event seeks to end the year with a bang. ROBBIE LAWLER: Every fight’s very important. I got to go out there and try to kick somebody’s ass. RAFAEL DOS ANJOS: He’s a finisher. I’m a finisher, too. Gonna be a war. RICARDO LAMAS: I don’t give up in fights. I don’t get mentally defeated. I’m looking for blood in this fight. JOSH EMMETT: If I land one clean punch, that’ll be it.

Line:0% MIKE PERRY: When I swing this club, it’s lights out. NARRATOR: The blockbuster main event on Fox features ferocious former UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler, on the hunt for his 22nd career stoppage… MIKE: Robbie Lawler! …against former UFC lightweight titleholder Rafael dos Anjos… who, thus far, has been unstoppable at 170 pounds. ANIK: There’s the tap! NARRATOR: The thrilling co-main event stars Ricardo Lamas, as one of the greatest finishers the featherweight division has ever known… MIKE: Ricardo Lamas! …looks to close in on his second career title shot with a statement victory versus powerful wrestler and dangerous striker, Josh Emmett. ANNOUNCER: …Emmett! NARRATOR: In a third stellar bout, heavy-handed Argentinean welterweight Santiago Ponzinibbio– a winner of five straight, including three first round knockouts– takes on “Platinum” Mike Perry, one of the UFC’s most notorious fighters and finest finishers, whose 11 victories have all come via knockout. MIKE: It is all over! Mike Perry, third round TKO! ♪ ♪ This is UFC Road to the Octagon. In his 17 years as a professional fighter, Robbie Lawler has attained virtually every goal he has set out to achieve.

Yet his proudest accomplishments reside outside The Octagon. -Got one? -Yep. LAWLER: My son loves to go fishing on the dock in our neighborhood. He definitely reads up on his fish, he tells me what fish I’ve caught, what fish are in there– bluegill, catfish– so, he-he knows what he’s doing. -(water splashes) -A little guy. -What do you got? You got a different one than me.

Line:0% LAWLER: He’s a mix between my wife and I, so… a lot of her good stuff and a little bit of my good stuff. Daddy, you finally got that fish that took your line off. LAWLER: No. It’s just playing with me over here. I need to focus on myself. That’s what everyone in this world needs to do, is focus on themselves, try to be a better person, try to be a better fighter, and I don’t really care what everyone else is doing.

I’m trying to be a good dad, a good husband. That’s it. Daddy, I think we should get going. LAWLER: Okay. NARRATOR: Amongst active UFC welterweights, no fighter has landed more significant strikes than Robbie Lawler… -JOE: Vicious shot to the body. -MIKE: Big shot! And another! …whose 28 career wins, including 21 spectacular stoppages… JOE: Oh! Big punch. Oh! …as well as a reign atop his division that began with dismantling Johnny Hendricks… JOE: Oh! Vicious attack by Lawler. …and continued with title defenses against Rory MacDonald… MIKE: Look at how ferocious Lawler is. …and Carlos Condit… -JOE: Oh, tagged him! -MIKE: Oh, my goodness! …in two of the greatest fights to ever take place inside The Octagon. JOE: Oh, my God! What a fight! NARRATOR: In July of 2016, Lawler lost his belt to former training partner Tyron Woodley.

But one year later, Lawler returned to unleash his fury on Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone. JOE: Robbie Lawler just went right at Donald. And he’s landing some bombs. NARRATOR: A momentous win that once again put the world’s second-ranked welterweight within striking distance of his goal of returning to the top of his division. LAWLER: I enjoy the process of the fight. I enjoy getting better and-and coming back to the drawing board, and… trying to fine-tune my skills and bring out that kid who first started training full-time when I was 18. That’s-that’s who I’m trying to get back to. Enjoying myself and… and bringing that wealth of knowledge and that enthusiasm. NARRATOR: After nearly five years as one of the most high-profile members of American Top Team, in January, Lawler switched his training camp to join newly formed Hard Knocks 365. Also joining Lawler at Hard Knocks 365 is former Blackzilian striking coach, Henri Hooft. Keep going. Keep going.

Keep working. HOOFT: I’m so very happy that Robbie’s here, because he really shows the passion. Still wants to learn, still wants to get better. He’s not a guy who’s at the end of his career, “I want to do a couple of more fights.” No. He’s in here every day, he wants to get better. And that’s what we’re all about here. LAWLER: I feel like training’s going great. I’m getting young again. Enthusiasm. The coaches are doing a good job of getting me ready and-and pushing me to get better. It’s just fine-tuning and evolving and making sure that you’re not staying the same. BRIAN HARRIS: Robbie’s athletic, he’s a grinder. He’s tough, he’s strong, he’s a lot faster than people give him credit for. So, he’s a complete athlete. Four, five, six… LAWLER: The more you fight, the more you have to realize that you’ve learned a lot of stuff now. Let’s go back and bring everything with you. ♪ ♪ It’s not just the stuff you’ve been working on for this camp, it’s the stuff you’ve been working on for 17 years. You know, it’s just a lot of years of training, but now I need to bring it all and let it all hang out.

♪ ♪ HARRIS: Take a breather. NARRATOR: On the other side of the country, Lawler’s Brazilian opponent readies for their showdown in his adopted homeland of Orange Country, California, a homeland where he rose all the way from humble beginnings to become UFC lightweight champion. DOS ANJOS: Being the champ was great. I was the first Brazilian lightweight champion. The first non-American to win the title in that division. Which, I think, is one of the toughest divisions. I accomplish everything that I had to do on lightweight, now it’s time to move on. I have a picture by my bed of me and my family with the belt on fight night. Every day that I wake up, I look at that picture.

That’s what motivates me. As a welterweight, I just feel solid. Brazil never had a welterweight champion before. -(yells) -I’m sure that’s gonna happen again. And gonna be even nicer. (yells) ♪ ♪ NARRATOR: Between 2012 and 2016, Rafael dos Anjos set the lightweight division aflame, with ten victories, including wins over fellow top-contenders, Nate Diaz, a dismantling of Anthony Pettis… JOE: Oh! He tagged him again! …to win the 155 pound belt and a 66-second blitz of Donald Cerrone to defend the title. MIKE: It is all over! This June, dos Anjos transitioned to welterweight, and immediately looked impressive against longtime contender, Tarec Saffiedine. And just three months ago, dos Anjos followed up that performance by stunning sixth-ranked Neil Magny in the first round, a victory that ignited buzz about his prospects of becoming Brazil’s first-ever two division UFC champion. As he readies for his biggest test to date, in what he believes to be his natural weight class.

DOS ANJOS: When I was 16 years old, I was 178 pounds. With 16. Doesn’t make any sense, a man of 32 years old, 195 pounds, cut down to 155. At welterweight, I’m able to push even harder than I was pushing at lightweight. Nice and relaxed, yeah. Nice and relaxed. I can put 100% of my work just thinking about my technique. -(grunting) -Fast, fast, fast, fast. Speed. I don’t need to wake up in the morning and stress out about weight. Rest. Good, that’s it. He lives the lifestyle. There really is a lifestyle to this.

Line:0% Almost ready. Now, touch and jump. Day in, day out, putting your career first. Putting the fighting and your health first. Back, reverse, side-jump. And I think there’s something to that. I think when you have to earn something… Rest. Good. …you appreciate it more. Good stuff. Are you ready? Let’s go. Reverse. Reverse. Karaoke, quick. DOS ANJOS: So proud of Gustavo. He’s here just last year, um, high school.

So he can focus, like, 100% on the wrestling. (laughing) Bring here to train with me, to see a little bit of my hard work. All the process is good for his growth. Right when it touches your hand. Don’t hold it. There you go. -There, there! -GUSTAVO: He doesn’t really push me, like, “Get up, do this, go to practice.” But just the example he gives. Fast, good. I see how he’s strict with his diet, the way he practices.

Go all the way down. Always, like, something he’s trying to go harder and harder every time. Down this way, down this way more. DOS ANJOS: Just trying to show him how to be a good man. -Down. -Yeah! Whew. A man with character. (Dos Anjos grunts) That’s why I try to show him. Be humble, and act right with people. And it’s gonna pay off.

-(grunts) -Yeah. That’s what’s paying your bills, that sweat right there. You know? DOS ANJOS: Every fight is the fight of your life, you know? My first fight in UFC was the fight of my life. And this is not different, you know? When you have the fight coming up, it’s, you know, everything change. By the date that you sign the contract, I know that I have fight coming up, and everything change for me. The whole environment at my house change, you know? The whole energy.

RAFAEL JR.: Before, my dad’s sense of humor was… He didn’t want to, like, laugh a lot; he was just focused on training. Especially, uh, lunchtime, right? -Yeah. -No… -(laughs) DOS ANJOS: I always try to remind my kids about life, what me and my wife, we pass through. We had not much opportunities like they have. You basically grew up in Newport Beach, California.

So, taking advantage of it. -Dad’ll never win against you. -I am the toughie of the house. (laughs) Beginning of this year, we went Italy, London, Paris. So, they see, you know, “See? See the life that you guys have?” So, I’m just making sure they know, that, you know, they’d be in different places so they can have appreciation for what they have. RAFAEL JR.: Cool! NARRATOR: Robbie Lawler’s new team consists of fellow UFC standouts Kamaru Usman, Michael Johnson and former UFC middleweight champ Luke Rockhold. And while they may not always train together, they constantly compete.

Go, go, go, go! It’s always friendly competition, with a lot of trash talk. -Hey, Mike, look at… -That’s the slow car. -Let’s go! -(laughter) Let’s go, here we go! Let’s get it, let’s get it, let’s get it, let’s get it. -(shouting) -(laughter) Come on, dude. Are you kidding me? (laughs) Bro, this is ridiculous. LAWLER: I think Usman’s pretty competitive, and Michael Johnson has the biggest mouth. (laughs) Hey, you bumped me– I got whiplash from this dude. (grunts) That was fun. -Right? -Oh, my God, you keep stopping the karts.

Number one, baby! -The champ is here! -Third? Oh, I thought you got second. But I at least got, like, 50, 60 pounds on these guys, so, you know, knock off at least four seconds. Five seconds, and then, boom. (laughter) I am a featherweight. Fifth, are you kidding me? NARRATOR: While on this day, Lawler may not be the finest driver of the group, he is undisputedly one of the greatest UFC fighters in the world, a status he maintains by methodically approaching each fight with the same ruthless mentality. LAWLER: It doesn’t matter if it was my first fight of my career or my last fight of my career. Every fight is the fight of your life. Every fight’s very important. ♪ It’s my time to rise up now ♪ ♪ So follow me… ♪ I feel like I enjoy the process of fighting. I enjoy getting out there, training every day, and trying to be faster, a little bit stronger, a little bit more technical. ♪ I will take it all… ♪ -One, two. -I’m just going out there, being me. I’m not sugarcoating anything, I’m not running my mouth. I’m just going out there, having fun, fighting my hardest and-and giving it my all.

That’s all I can do, just be me. ♪ I will never fall ♪ ♪ Well, believe this ♪ ♪ A believer, I will take it all… ♪ HENRI HOOFT: I think that Rafael is a really, really good fighter. Like, he was a champion, he’s very explosive. He’s very good standing up, he’s good on the floor, he’s good everywhere. I think it’s gonna be a messy fight, because these people like to strike and bang, you know? But also, are technicians. They know what they’re doing, so I’m looking really forward to being in the corner, being front row for this fight.

♪ I’m a leader ♪ ♪ I will never fall ♪ ♪ Well, believe it ♪ ♪ A believer ♪ ♪ I will take it all… ♪ LAWLER: Rafael dos Anjos is gonna be a well-prepared fighter; he’s been doing this a long time. A high-level jiu-jitsu guy. A striker, he’s got good wrestling, and he’s strong. So, I got to go out there and try to kick somebody’s ass. ♪ I will take it all. ♪ NARRATOR: Like his opponent, Rafael dos Anjos recently switched training camps, leaving behind his longtime home of Kings MMA, to join Jason Parillo at the RVCA training facility.

Line:0% DOS ANJOS: I’ve been working my Muay Thai for a long time, my jiu-jitsu, but I feel that I need some improvement on my hands. After I left Kings, a friend introduced me to Jason, and we start training, and I see great results. ♪ ♪ JASON PARILLO: RDA, obviously, had lots of experience before he came over to me over here, but I get a little bit more pleasure off working guys that have that real grit that RDA has, that real mental toughness. -(shouting) -Push! Push. A little more extension with those shoulders. DOS ANJOS: He is really good, not only with the technique… Push, three. P-P-Push! …but also with the mind game. Push, inside. Push. This fight against Robbie, he’s gonna be on my corner, so I feel so confident. Bring it right back. Push! PARILLO: I see RDA going this direction, I see Robbie Lawler going this direction.

This is the fight that RDA puts himself on the map at the 170-pound weight class, and has him campaigning and in a position to fight for a title. DOS ANJOS: Lawler, Georges St-Pierre, Tyron Woodley– if I’m doing things right, when I step on The Octagon at Fight Night– I know I can beat all of them. PARILLO: Good work, man. Get a little rest. (laughs) ♪ Talk a big game… ♪ NARRATOR: Dos Anjos’s confidence speaks volumes. And day after day, the man who has already reached the summit of one division becomes certain he will reach the top of another. ♪ With all that I got ♪ ♪ I’m coming at you, at you ♪ ♪ Ready or not ♪ ♪ On… ♪ DOS ANJOS: Robbie, he comes strong, he got heavy hands. He’s a finisher. I’m a finisher, too. He’s a very hard guy to take down, but… it’s a fight. You never know. ♪ Coming at you with all that I got… ♪ I got to use my speed, in and out, mix up my techniques, take advantage of the mistakes he’s gonna make, and try to finish. ♪ I’m coming at you with all that I got ♪ If everything goes as I plan, December 16, I’ll beat Robbie, and next year, get my title shot.

♪ ‘Cause legends never fall ♪ ♪ They only get stronger ♪ Robbie, you’re a great guy, but you had your time, and I want it more than you want. Feel like a truck downhill with no brakes. I’m coming for that second belt. ♪ And there ain’t nothing you can do to stop me, no ♪ ♪ Stop me. ♪ And I’m gonna get it..

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