UFC 271: Wild Fight Sees Ronnie Lawrence Come Out on Top Against Mana Martinez

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Mana Martinez and Ronnie Lawrence, UFC 271
Mana Martinez and Ronnie Lawrence, UFC 271 ceremonial weigh-in Credit: Dave Noseworthy/Cageside Press

Capping off the early preliminary card at UFC 271 were bantamweights Mana Martinez and Ronnie Lawrence. Both fighters had found success in their UFC debuts last year, and were looking to build on it.

Lawrence attacked the legs early, circling on the outside. Martinez looked to walk him down, but frankly couldn’t catch him. Lawrence then changed levels just over a minute in, landing the takedown. Martinez would get to one knee along the fence, Lawrence staying on him. Eventually Martinez escaped out, and the pair went back to center, only for Lawrence to suddenly close the distance and drop Martinez with a right hand! Martinez turtled up with Lawrence on him, then rolled into a heel hook that wasn’t there.

Ronnie Lawrence then settled into Martinez’s guard, which the latter kept closed, and high up the back. If nothing else, Martinez was buying some recovery time. He would run down the clock, and they’d head to round two.

In the second, Lawrence again circled on the outside, firing a low kick. Martinez, as he had in the opening round, chased him, more often than not finding air. Less than a minute into the round, Lawrence landed a 1-2 combo, body then head, dropping Mana Martinez for the second time in the fight. Again, Lawrence followed his opponent to the ground. He’d work at taking the back; when Martinez tried to power up, Lawrence dragged him back down. A second attempt saw Martinez get back to his feet, but by the midway point of the fight, he’d been knocked down again, eating a swarm of punches after a right hand dropped him.

From there, Lawrence took the back, locking in a body triangle. Martinez didn’t appear to know what zip code he was in. But he was cognizant enough to tuck his chin and fight hands, and even managed to reverse position and escape out — only for Lawrence to power through a double-leg takedown.

Martinez managed to turn the tables in the third round. After Lawrence had the edge through the first half of the round, Martinez came back in the second, rocking Lawrence, dropping and swarming him! Somehow, Lawrence survived in a mad scramble, only to nearly end up stuck in an arm-bar, then a triangle! Still, Ronnie Lawrence survived the comeback attempt. Lawrence would spend some time on top before Martinez escaped up. A final takedown for Lawrence in the last 10 seconds sealed the deal, but Martinez at least made things interesting at the end.

Official Result: Ronnie Lawrence def. Mana Martinez by unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27, 29-28)

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