Woodley scores knockout win over Lawler

In an upset on Saturday night at UFC 201, Tyron Woodley defeated Robbie Lawler to become UFC Welterweight Champion by knocking him out in the first round in Atlanta, Georgia. 

The opening round started with both fighters circling each other then Woodley tried to throw a big hook but missed.

They then got in close against the fence not landing any shots and were separated by referee Dan Miragliotta. The two stayed away from each other trying to land a shot from distance neither looking like they wanted to engage yet.

Then out of nowhere Woodley stepped forward and landed a big right-handed punch that dropped Lawler to the mat and Woodley followed him landing more shots to finish the fight at 2:12 of the first round.

In an interview straight afterwards, Woodley said he respected Lawler as they were friends and he was proud to be the new champion.

“I knew what Robbie brought to the table. He’s a tough competitor," said Woodley. "This is not the first fight I would pick. He’s a friend of mine. I admire his career. 

"Hats off to Robbie, but I’ve been envisioning this belt being around my waist my entire life.”

For Lawler, the loss ended his five-fight winning streak and in an interview after his defeat acknowledged he was caught with a very good punch by Woodley.  

“It is what it is. My hand went down, he threw a punch over the top and he caught me," said Lawler. "I expected that kind of (speed and power). I was sitting back, not moving and he took advantage.”

In the other co-main event Karolina Kowalkiewicz got a hard-fought split-decision win over Rose Namajunas to set up a possible bout against UFC strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk.

Kowalkiewicz fought well-landing knee and counter shots to always look like she had the edge.

In the first round, Namajunas started well with two takedowns to grab the early momentum. But from the second round, Kowalkiewicz's close in fighting gave her the edge by the end of the round.

In the third Kowalkiewicz did more damage with her knees which was enough to get her the decision.

UFC 201 Results:

Damien Brown def. Cesar Arzamendia via first-round KO
Michael Graves def. Bojan Velickovic majority draw (30-28 Graves, 28-28 x2)
Wilson Reis def. Hector Sandoval via a first-round submission
Anthony Hamilton def. Damian Grabkowski via first-round KO
Jorge Masvidal def. Ross Pearson via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28×2)
Nikita Krylov def. Ed Herman via first-round KO
Ryan Benoit def. Fredy Serano via split decision (28-29, 29-28 x2)
Erik Perez def. Francisco Rivera via unanimous decision (30-26×2, 29-28)
Jake Ellenberger def. Matt Brown via first-round KO
Karolina Kowalkiewicz def. Rose Namajunas via split decision (29-28×2, 28-29)
Tyron Woodley def. Robbie Lawler via first-round TKO