I got to thinking just how bizarre this matchup is, mainly because the two fighters are practically clones of each other.
consider the following:
-Both were hyped pretty heavily coming into the UFC and in their first couple fights. Both have since lost most if not all of that hype.
-Both guys have proven to be very inconsistent. Similar to Randleman or Vitor, you just never know which fighter is going to show up, the one that is capable of beating anyone on any given night, or the one who just doesn't seem like he wants to be in there.
-Both guys have solid power, questionable ground game, and a questionable chin. The Diaz KO punch on Lawler is perhaps the weakest looking KO punch I've seen, though looks can be deceiving. Lawler was also dropped by Lytle. Baroni I've seen rocked by talentless toughman guys several times. On the flipside, both guys have shown tremendous one punch power, so this one should end in a KO.
All in all I am very intrigued and interested in the fight. I think it's do or die for both guys. They really need this one.
Another strange thing about this one is that I think the gameplan should be the same for both fighters. If I was the trainer for either fighter I'd tell him the same thing (try to keep it standing, and try to knock him out.) Which makes it pretty much a tossup.
I feel that overall, Lawler is a more skilled fighter. But I am going to go with Baroni here, and the clincher is that I think Baroni is more aggressive. He certainly wasn't in his last fight, but Lawler hasn't been aggressive since fighting Tiki, and Baroni usually comes out aggressive. So I see Baroni coming out faster and stronger, and putting Lawler on the defensive. Lawler still has a chance to catch him with a counterpunch, but I see the aggressor of the fight winning this one.
The only real difference between the two guys is in their attitude, Baroni is a bad boy and Lawler is not.
This fight could be fight of the night material if both guys show up to fight. Otherwise one fighter will show up and make it a walkover. Or, heaven forbid, neither guy shows up and we get a shadowboxing snoozefest with neither guy initiating (Shamrock-Severn style?)