You can take away his outlandish outfits and entrances and replace them with drab Reebok attire, but you can’t take away Tom Lawlor’s toughness.

For the entire first round of his meeting with Gian Villante at tonight’s UFC on FOX, “Filthy” looked as if the two-year layoff was going to be too much. Of course, Villante’s advantage in reach, and kicks that were utterly cracking against Lawlor’s thighs, weren’t helping things either. Lawlor was getting beaten on.

Then came Round Two, and in an instant, fortunes changed. Caught with his hands down will stepping in to deliver more punishment, Villante walked face-first into a Lawlor right hand, and that was all she wrote. The referee jumped in at :27 of the round, and a stunned Villante wobbled around on jelly legs protesting. Lawlor, meanwhile, had made the most of his return to the cage.

It’s not clear what should be next for Filthy, but at least he’s back in action.