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Ex-collegians Woodley, Palmer claim MMA titles

Both Tyron Woodley and Lance Palmer won MMA titles over the weekened

It was a championship weekend for former NCAA All-American wrestlers Tyron Woodley and Lance Palmer each claimed MMA titles Saturday night.

Woodley, a two-time NCAA All-American for the University of Missouri, knocked out Robbie Lawler to win the Ultimate Fighting Championship welterweight crown at UFC 201 at Atlanta's Philips Arena ...while Palmer, an Ohio State wrestling alum, won back the World Series of Fighting featherweight title at WSOF 32 at XFINITY Arena in Everett, Wash.

Woodley made short work of Robbie Lawler, knocking out the champ with "one crushing right hand" (to quote ESPN.com) at 2:12 of the first round, making it the fastest finish in UFC welterweight title fight history.

Saturday marked the fifth knockout of Woodley's UFC career ...while, for Lawler, it was only the second time he had been knocked out in MMA competition (the first time being back in 2004).

"I was relaxed in the back," said Woodley, Mizzou's first Big 12 champ. "I was nervous that I wasn't nervous. I knew what Robbie brought to the table. He's a tough competitor. This is not the first fight I would have picked. He's a friend of mine, and I admire his career. Hats off to Robbie. Ever since I stepped in this Octagon, I've had this mission. It feels amazing."

"It is what it is," said Lawler, who had held the welterweight belt for a year-and-a-half. "He feinted me, my hand was down and he came over the top and caught me."

With the win, Woodley (16-3) becomes the seventh new UFC champ in as many months. Lawler drops to 27-11 overall, with one no-contest.

Meanwhile, at the opposite end of the country, Lance Palmer reclaimed the WSOF featherweight title with a majority decision win over Alexandre Almeida in a rematch of previous championship fight at WSOF 26 in December.

The judges' scores for the five-round bout were all over the map: 49-46, 48-48 and 50-45.

"Although Palmer carries a strong wrestling pedigree, he wasn't able to put it to use," MMAJunkie.com said of the four-time Ohio high school state champ and four-time NCAA All-American for the Buckeyes. "Almeida used his size and length well, similar to the first fight, keeping Palmer's takedowns at bay while throwing strikes from outside range."

"The real story of the fight comes from Palmer whose improved footwork and head movement could be seen as the most important aspect of this victory," the official WSOF website wrote . "The Team Alpha Male fighter controlled the octagon, kept a steady pace, picked his shots and kept Almedia at bay most of the fight."

Palmer not only gains the title, but improves to 11-2 overall, while Almeida is now 18-6.

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