Photo by Esther Lin via MMA Fighting
MMAmania's Brian Hemminger takes a look back at last night's UFC 154 main card bout between middleweights Francis Carmont and Tom Lawlor. What helped Carmont win a controversial decision? Find out below.
Carmont had quickly shot off to a 3-0 start to his UFC career, but he was facing a sturdy veteran who possessed over twice the amount of Octagon experience.
This fight ended with a pretty controversial decision, so we'll break it down below.
In the opening round, Carmont looked to score from the outside, landing occasional kicks and punches while Lawlor came up short. Lawlor got back into the bout by pressing the Tristar fighter into the fence, occasionally working for takedowns, but overall being unable to put the former French kickboxer on his back.
In the meantime, Carmont responded with short knees on the inside, landing a few of them significantly.
Round two was more of the same, except Carmont did a better job on the feet, being slightly more aggressive. Lawlor again worked for takedowns along the fence for a significant portion of the frame, but this time, he actually found success, turning the corner and putting Carmont on his back twice, although he couldn't do much with the position as the lengthy middleweight worked his way back to his feet relatively quickly both times.
In the third round, both men were tired, but this time, Carmont couldn't respond with much offense to counter Lawlor's offensive grappling attack as Lawlor's aggression was the deciding factor. The American even mixed it up and landed some decent strikes in the round, but he was a bit tired and they didn't do nearly as much damage as they would have done if he were fresh.
While most fans scored the bout for Lawlor due to his aggression hunting for takedowns, two of the judges decided with Carmont 29-28. UFC President Dana White wasn't impressed. His take on the controversy was "Who cares? They both lost that fight."
For Tom Lawlor, putting Carmont in the clinch and working for takedowns was a good strategy, but he should have been busier. Every time he failed a takedown, it made Carmont look stronger and he wasn't mixing up his attacks. If he had actually been throwing short strikes with his inside position along the fence, it would have looked much better, but he instead just held onto Carmont and allowed the kickboxer to strike back with knees. He finally wised up in the third round, landing some foot stomps while working for takedowns, but two of the judges had already ruled against him by that point.
For Francis Carmont, he definitely got a bit lucky here as the judges awarded his knees while his back was pressed against the cage and his kicks on the outside over Lawlor's ineffective clinch and takedown attempts. He simply didn't do much in this fight, not attacking nearly enough when they were separated despite having such a strong kickboxing background. He showcased pretty good takedown defense for most of the fight, and worked his way back to his feet when he actually was taken down. He will need to work on getting out of ugly positions better as Lawlor was walling and stalling for far too long in this bout.
Despite being 4-0 in the UFC, Carmont should keep getting the slow build as he's not ready for a major leap in competition. Potential opponents include Constantinos Philippou, Riki Fukuda or perhaps Brad Tavares.
So what did you think, Maniacs?
Was this fight as controversial as some made it out to be? After watching Carmont struggle, where do you think the 31-year old's ceiling is in the middleweight division?