Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight studs Robbie Lawler and Carlos Condit clashed last night (Jan. 2, 2016) at UFC 195 inside MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Lawler climbed to the top of the division on the strength of his punches and heart, and that's how he defended his title for the first time as well. If he could turn away Condit here, Lawler's control of the division would strengthen significantly.
To watch Robbie Lawler vs. Carlos Condit full fight video highlights from UFC 195 last night click here.
This was a massively important fight for Condit. Deep into his career, this was potentially Condit's last opportunity to claim the strap, something the fighter himself recognized prior to the fight.
Early on, Lawler pursued his opponent while Condit worked with long kicks. Lawler landed a nice combination, but he was then blasted with a hard counter strike that briefly sent him to the mat.
After rocking the champion, Condit switched it up and chased his opponent around for the rest of the round. He landed a fair number of clean strikes, but Lawler didn't throw a whole lot as he recovered.
It was definitely a strong opening round for the challenger.
Lawler landed a strong body kick to start the round, but Condit quickly returned to his high-volume kicking game. He was landing fairly well, while Lawler looked for powerful counter strikes.
At the halfway point, one landed clean.
A perfect counter strike cracked Condit on the jaw and sent him tumbling to the mat. He was badly hurt by the champion but recovered well, returning to his feet and looking good until the end of the round.
Still, Lawler evened up the score with his powerful right hook.
After a slow minute of Condit throwing lots of soft kicks, Lawler went after him with a big combination. He landed some heavy shots, but Condit stood his ground and threw as well. In these fiery exchanges, Lawler landed a hard elbow counter and nearly slammed home a high kick.
Unfortunately, Lawler's brief moments of extreme violence were few and far between. On the whole, he simply didn't throw enough, as Condit threw a ton of strikes and landed a decent amount. He didn't do a ton of damage, but he showed a lot more.
Because of Lawler's inactivity, the third was extremely close.
The fourth round was a huge round for Condit. He still kept his volume very high but was able to set down on a few kicks that landed hard. At the end of the round, Condit landed a clean left hook that shook his opponent and allowed Condit to swarm, landing more damaging shots.
Meanwhile, the champion threw fewer strikes than ever.
Luckily, Lawler brought the intensity.
The "Ruthless" striker did his best to push the pace, and he got hit with some hard strikes along the way. However, he never stopped coming forward and kept throwing heavy punches. Eventually, some started to connect, and the power clearly had an impact on the challenger.
For the final minute of the fight, Lawler swarmed his opponent and threw everything he had in him. He landed numerous punches and even a high kick, blasting his opponent with powerful blows. To his credit, Condit hung in there and absorbed some hellacious blows, and he returned a fair few of his own.
Ultimately, it all came down to the third round. It was a fantastic fight, and two of three judges awarded Lawler the victory.
Despite throwing half the amount of strikes as his opponent, Lawler won the split decision. That's really a testament to his power and efficiency, as Lawler made his strikes count. Each time Lawler landed, there was a clear impact, which undoubtedly influenced the judges.
That was the positive, but Lawler's main problem in this bout was that he hung around at range too much. He allowed Condit to hang out and kick without counter, and that allowed Condit to rack up points. Condit didn't do a ton of damage at this range, but it helped him keep the fight very close.
Regardless, this is the second time that Lawler's fifth round intensity has won him a title fight. If he can somehow keep that level of aggression and violence throughout the entire fight, no one will ever think of touching his strap.
Condit fought intelligently and very nearly secured the title. While the argument that Condit won could easily be made, "The Natural Born Killer" ultimately lost because he was not as effective with his strikes.
It's a delicate balance to strike, but Condit did too much showing at range. Rather than actively seek to hurt Lawler with kicks, Condit was content to simply throw them out there and keep Lawler on the defensive. That's not a bad thing by any means, but Condit did not capitalize enough on Lawler's passivity to earn the decision in the judges' eyes (see final scorecard pic here).
It's rough, but that's how it goes.
Now ... Let's run it back.
Last night, Robbie Lawler inched past Carlos Condit in a truly wild brawl. Just how long can Lawler hold onto his Welterweight crown?
For complete UFC 195 "Lawler vs Condit" results and play-by-play, click HERE!