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Robbie Lawler wins slugfest with Matt Brown to earn UFC welterweight title shot

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Jeff Chiu / AP

Robbie Lawler, top, punches Matt Brown during the fourth round of a welterweight mixed martial arts bout at a UFC event in San Jose, Calif., Saturday, July 26, 2014. Lawler won by unanimous decision. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Robbie Lawler will get the rematch he so desperately wanted.

Lawler went the distance today against Matt Brown at UFC on Fox 12 in San Jose, Calif., winning the slugfest by unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 48-47) in the welterweight elimination fight.

Lawler will face champion Johny Hendricks next for the welterweight title, looking to avenge a closely contested loss to Hendricks in March at UFC 171 for the belt.

“I am very excited. I want to get back to work and get back to Hendricks,” Lawler said during his post-fight interview in the octagon.

UFC on Fox 12

Tim Means, right, punches Hernani Perpetuo during the third round of a welterweight mixed martial arts bout at a UFC event in San Jose, Calif., Saturday, July 26, 2014. Means won by unanimous decision. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu) Launch slideshow »

Both Lawler and Brown were bloodied after today’s back-and-forth affair featuring two of the UFC’s best finishers. Lawler has 19 career wins by knockout and an 87 percent finish rate, and Brown had 13 wins by knockout — including six of his past seven wins. And while both landed plenty of significant strikes, the fight surprisingly went to the judges’ scorecards.

“There is two champions in this ring tonight,” Lawlor said he told Brown after the fight. “He came toe-to-toe with me. Not too many people will do that.”

It was the first time in Brown’s 17-fight career that he fought into the fourth round. And Lawler was fighting for the third time in fourth months. Still, both put on a show in easily the night’s best fight.

Lawler should get ample time to prepare for Hendricks, who just returned to training after having surgery to repair torn biceps suffered against Lawler at UFC 171. No date was immediately announced for the rematch.

Main card results:

In a featherweight fight, Dennis Bermudez finished Clay Guida at the 2:57 mark of the second round for his seventh straight win, forcing him to tap out because of a rear naked choke hold. Bermudez’s winning streak is the third-best in the UFC.

“I’m stoked to the max,” Bermudez said during his post-fight interview. “Clay is an awesome fighter. Really tough to beat him. (This) is something else.”

Anthony Johnson followed by finishing Antonio Rogerio Nogueira by TKO just 44 seconds into their light heavyweight fight.

“I just wanted to finish the guy. I wanted to destroy him — that’s it,” Johnson after the fight.

In the first main-card fight, Bobby Green took a split-decision victory (29-28, 28-29, 29-28) against hometown favorite Josh Thomson in a lightweight fight. Green was a +200 betting underdog.

Preliminary card results:

• Lightweight Jorge Masvidal nearly submitted Daron Cruickshank in multiple rounds with chokes but had to settle for a unanimous decision victory (29-28, 29-28, 29-27).

Patrick Cummins used 11 takedowns in a light heavyweight fight against Kyle Kingsbury, posting a convincing unanimous decision victory (30-27, 30-25, 30-24) for his first UFC win. After the fight, the 32-year-old Kingsbury announced his retirement. “I told everyone I didn’t want to be a .500 fighter. Enough is enough,” Kingsbury, whose UFC record fell to 4-5, told reporters.

Tim Means won by unanimous decision against Hermani Perpetuo in a welterweight fight, winning 29-28 on all three scorecards. Perpetuo broke his elbow in the second round but continued.

Brian Ortega, in his UFC debut, choked out Mike De La Torre at 1:39 in the first round of a featherweight fight.

Other winners included Tiago dos Santos by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27) against Akbarh Arreola in a lightweight fight, Gilbert Berns by unanimous decision (29-28 by all three judges) over Andreas Stahl, and featherweight Noad Lahat also by the unanimous decision of 29-28 on all three scorecards.

Ray Brewer can be reached at 990-2662 or [email protected]. Follow Ray on Twitter at twitter.com/raybrewer21.

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