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Fight Archives: Robbie Lawler shuts off Melvin Manhoef to come back from slow beating

The “Ruthless” one lives up to his nickname.

Melvin Manhoef was laying a beating on Robbie Lawler... until he wasn’t.
Melvin Manhoef was laying a beating on Robbie Lawler... until he wasn’t.

If there was one fighter who perfectly lived up to the hype behind his nickname, it would be Robbie Lawler. Especially during his prime years, it was difficult not to have mad respect for the man and the unmatched tenacity he brought into every fight.

The “Ruthless” made 170 pounds his home for the majority of his career, decimating several elite names in the division. But long-time fans would vividly remember his short stint at middleweight, particularly his fight against the menacing Melvin Manhoef at Strikeforce: Miami in 2010.

We knew what Manhoef brought to the table. The man was a known finisher on the feet, which also made him very deserving of the “No Mercy” monicker. He entered the Lawler fight with a 24-6-1 record; 23 of those wins ended via knockout or TKO.

Right off the jump, Manhoef made his intentions known. He was punishing Lawler with thudding kicks to the leg and body. And when he got close enough, he’d let his hammer hands do the work.

Lawler had no choice but to cover up and be in a standing fetal position. Manhoef appeared to be on the brink of another dominant finish… until it all changed in a snap.

Upon absorbing another devastating inside leg kick, Lawler counters with a right hand that cleanly lands on the button. Seconds later, Manhoef is laid on his back, staring at the ceiling lights glassy-eyed as the ref puts a stop to the action.

I will go out on a limb and say that this is probably Lawler’s most spectacular finish. We may or may not see this kind of ending from him again, but at least we’ll always have this fight to look back on.

(action starts at 3:38)

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