By Niall Clarke
- Robbie Lawler edges Carlos Condit by split decision
- Retains the UFC Welterweight title
- Stipe Miocic defeats Andrei Arlovski by knockout
Las Vegas, Nevada- ‘Ruthless’ Robbie Lawler defended his UFC Welterweight title with a close split decision victory over Carlos Condit.
It took only two days into the new year for a ‘Fight of the year’ candidate, but then again we expected no less. Lawler always delivers entertainment and against Condit you had the perfect combination.
The pair battled all five rounds with the fifth being arguably the most exciting in UFC history. After seemingly being behind on the scorecards heading into the final stanza, the champion swung for the fences as he desperately attempted to keep his title.
The comeback was enough for Lawler to earn a split decision (47-48, 48-47, 48-47) and retain his title, but in truth there was more than one winner. The pair left it all out there and the picture of them both leaning against the fence after the final horn sounded summed it up perfectly.
“We battled it out,” Lawler said in his post fight interview on BT Sport. “There was two winners tonight, and still. Let’s do it again.
“Carlos is just so tough. Every time he fights, he proves people wrong. Hats off to him. He’s tough and technical as hell, and he’s in shape.”
This was Lawler’s second title defence with his previous bout being another instant classic. On that occasion the 33 year old managed to score a knockout win in the final round. Condit however proved tougher to finish.
“I thought there was a good chance I was ahead,” said Condit in his post fight interview.
“I knew he was going to come out guns-a-blazing. You have to come out and fight. I wasn’t hurt neurologically, but I was roughed up a little bit. I thought I had three rounds in the bag, but that happens.”
Analysis: Another instant classic involving the Welterweight champion, it is becoming quite the theme.
Both men came in with different game plans. Condit looked to circle around and throw a high volume of strikes, whilst Lawler was more patient and waiting to land some big punches.
Condit got the better of the early exchanges landing a knockdown with a lead uppercut. Lawler responded with a perfect counter of his own in the second round to send Condit to the mat, but he was unable to finish the fight as Condit tied the champion up in his guard.
It looked like Condit had edged the third and fourth rounds, his volume and diversity was proving troublesome for the champion. Lawler knew he needed a big fifth round and that is exactly what he got, rocking Condit a few times as the challenger tried to respond with a big shot of his own.
The decision was controversial. I scored round one, three, and four to Condit with the second and the fifth going to Lawler. It ultimately came down to how you scored the third. The champion controlled the centre of the octagon but landed less strikes than his opponent.
Next up for the champion will likely be Tyron Woodley who is currently riding a two fight win streak. Or it could very well be the winner of the upcoming Johny Hendricks vs Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson fight. And nobody will argue against a rematch between Lawler and Condit either, exciting times for the Welterweight division.
Miocic knocks out Arlovski: Calls for a title shot
In the co main event of the evening, Stipe Miocic made a huge statement with a first round knockout victory against former champion Andrei Arlovski.
With both men known for their knockout power it was never likely that this would go the distance. It has been a winter of quick finishes and 54 seconds into the first round a flurry of punches by the Croatian earned him a knockout victory.
A pumped up Miocic rushed over towards UFC President Dana White and Executive Producer Lorenzo Fertitta and called for a title shot. The belt will be on the line in the UFC’s next pay per view on the February 6th where Fabricio Werdum will defend against Cain Velasquez.
Analysis: 54 seconds is not much to go on but it was a big victory for the number three ranked Heavyweight in the world. Miocic is improving every fight and scoring a knockout victory against an Arlovski riding a seven fight winning streak is impressive stuff.
The UFC now has a dilemma with two men in line for a title shot. Do they grant Miocic his wish or do they go for the more high profile fight with Alistair Overeem getting the shot?
Elsewhere on the main card
The show opened with a Lightweight fight between Abel Trujillo and Tony Sims. In the opening few minutes Sims was seemingly in control on the feet using lateral movement to avoid the power of his opponent. However an unnecessary takedown attempt resulted in a guillotine choke submission for Trujillo who forced his opponent to tap out.
Brian Ortega was also a submission victor as he made Diego Brandao tap with a triangle choke. After a close opening two rounds on the feet the American showed his mat prowess with some beautiful submission transitions before locking in the triangle choke for victory.
In a close striking encounter between Albert Tumenov and Lorenz Larkin, the Russian managed to squeeze out a split decision victory. Tumenov opted for a more boxing approach whilst his opponent looked to incorporate more kicks to his attack. The opening two rounds were very close with both men landing some nice shots. Larkin clearly won the third with his leg kicks taking its toll. However the judges saw it in favour of the Russian.
Robbie Lawler def. Carlos Condit via split decision (48-47, 47-48, 48-47) – to retain welterweight title
Stipe Miocic def. Andrei Arlovski via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 0:54
Albert Tumenov def. Lorenz Larkin via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Brian Ortega def. Diego Brandao via submission (triangle choke) – Round 3, 1:37
Abel Trujillo def. Tony Sims via submission (guillotine choke) – Round 1, 3:18
Michael McDonald def. Masanori Kanehara via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 2:09
Alex Morono def. Kyle Noke via split decision (29-28, 27-30, 29-28)
Justine Kish def. Nina Ansaroff via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Drew Dober def. Scott Holtzman via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Dustin Poirier def. Joseph Duffy via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)
Michinori Tanaka def. Joe Soto via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Sheldon Westcott def. Edgar Garcia via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 3:12
The next UFC event will take place on January 17th with TJ Dillashaw defending the UFC Bantamweight title against Dominick Cruz.
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