Tom Lawlor looked to continue his mixed martial arts (MMA) rebirth at Light Heavyweight earlier tonight (Sat., March 5, 2016) on the pay-per-view (PPV) main card of UFC 196, which took place inside MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. However, his opponent, Corey Anderson had other plans.
Indeed, The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 19 winner snapped the two-fight "Filthy" win streak in its tracks with a unanimous -- albeit very close (and unpopular) -- unanimous decision victory.
Lawlor, the more experienced fighter, was aggressive early, charging Anderson with in the first 30 seconds and landing a flurry of shots that appeared to wobble the larger fighter. Lawlor didn't swarm immediately, though, and eventually Anderson appeared to regain most of his cognitive faculties. Nonetheless, Lawlor kept the pressure on as Anderson circled away from danger and looked to keep "Filthy" at bay with inside leg kicks. Lawlor was undeterred, winging wild punches as Anderson pumped his jab and looked to counter strike. Anderson soon began to find a home for his straight right hand, gaining confidence and eventually hunting Lawlor -- who connected with a great left hand -- toward the end of the round.
Anderson opened the second stanza with a kick, which Lawlor caught and attempted to turn into a takedown, but it never materialized. Anderson landed a straight right hand and Lawlor countered with an equally impressive left cross. Both fighters began to open up a bit more midway through the bout, trading shots in the center of the cage, with neither man seemingly gaining the clear advantage. With one minute remaining, Lawlor looked to pick up the pace, jumping in with a straight right hand, which he followed up with a straight left along the cage. Lawlor got a little too bold and Anderson beat him back and then scored a quick takedown before it came to a close.
Third and final frame and both fighters exchanged stiff jabs to get the action started. Anderson dove in -- and secured -- a big takedown one minute into the round and then started to try and get something going from side control. Anderson landed a nice elbow as Lawlor squirmed underneath him to avoid additional punishment. Lawlor angled for a submission from underneath, which briefly halted Anderson's assault, which resumed shortly thereafter. With little more than one minute remaining in the match, the referee ordered a stand up, which Anderson used to land his inside leg kicks and jabs until the final buzzer blared.
In the end, "Beastin 25/8" was able to earn a unanimous decision victory, but it appeared a bit closer than perhaps the judges scorecards suggested. Regardless, it's a huge win for the young gun, who could now move up a a spot or two and a higher profile opponent in his next appearance.
For complete results from UFC 196: "McGregor vs. Diaz," including play-by-play updates, click here and here.