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UFC to kick off ESPN era with Lawler vs. Thompson welterweight banger

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A welterweight battle between two of the most exciting fighters in the game has been targeted for the UFC’s ESPN debut next January.

Former 2-time defending world champion and knockout machine, ‘Ruthless’ Robbie Lawler (28-12), will face Karate wunderkind Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson (14-3-1) in a fight that on paper screams early fight of the year contender. MMAJunkie broke the news of this match up during the main card of UFC Fight Night 135 earlier tonight in Lincoln, Nebraska.

When Lawler enters the Octagon to face Thompson, it will be after taking a full calendar year off for the first time since he began his professional mixed martial arts career all the way back in 2001.

Lawler’s last outing took place in late 2017 at a UFC on FOX event in Winnipeg against Rafael dos Anjos where he would lose via unanimous decision in what would be the first fight to take place outside of the United States in his Hall of Fame career.

For Thompson, the 2-time title challenger will look to rebound from a unanimous decision loss against future title challenger Darren Till. Thompson has only been able to enter the win column just once over his last four bouts after reeling off seven straight before earning his first title shot.

The UFC’s debut on ESPN is expected to take place on January 18th with a location and venue to be announced in the near future.

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