JANUARY 2, 2016
LIVE FROM LAS VEGAS, NEVADA
UFC 195 kicks off the UFC’s 2016 schedule tonight with what should be a highly entertaining card, capped off by a highly intriguing UFC Welterweight Championship fight between Robbie Lawler and Carlos Condit. As with every major event, we’ll have live round by round coverage of tonight’s televised fights on Fox Sports 1, with quick results and commentary on the UFC Fight Pass prelims as they kick off at 6:30 PM ET. Make sure to follow along with us all night tonight for full UFC 195 coverage!
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=====UFC Fight Pass Prelims Quick Results=====
-Sheldon Westcott def. Edgar Garcia via TKO at 3:12 of the first round
NOTE: Westcott took Garcia down pretty quickly, and it was fairly academic from there. He took Garcia’s back, flattened him out, and kept throwing punches until the referee finally stepped in. Easily could have been stopped earlier than it was.
-Michinori Tanaka def. Joe Soto via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
NOTE: Really rough loss from Soto, who did a hell of a lot more to try finishing the fight than did Tanaka, including in the third round where Tanaka just had nothing left. Soto attempted a gogoplata in the first round that nearly finished it, then a guillotine in the second that nearly finished it, but Tanaka was active in his striking and grappling to make both of those rounds real close. It’s a decision that could be defended, but I’m not sure it was really the right one here. Have to feel for Soto, that one probably should have been his.
-Dustin Poirier def. Joseph Duffy via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)
NOTE: Damn shame that was just a three round fight, and the results do not reflect how crazy and close that fight was. Duffy did a ton of damage to Poirier himself despite losing all three rounds, but Poirier scored takedowns and did tons of damage, specifically in the second round, with his ground and pound. They had some great striking exchanges in the first round, Duffy did some significant damage in the third, but got taken down twice. Duffy came close to scoring a triangle choke as time wore down, and it would have been great to see them with extra time as was originally planned for that fight. Really excellent three round matchup. (***+) level.
=====Fox Sports 1 Prelims=====
PRELIM FIGHT ONE: DREW DOBER VS. SCOTT HOLTZMAN (LIGHTWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Holtzman advanced early and landed a hard right hand. They traded body kicks. Dober landed a nice short combination before Holtzman grabbed a clinch on the cage. They jockeyed for position on the cage. Neither was really gaining an edge, and Holtzman finally broke briefly to land a hard elbow. He went right back to the clinch but Dober held off a takedown attempt. Dober tried to get some separation. He stuffed an attempt and reversed to wind up in half guard himself. Holtzman moved to his feet with Dober on his back, and got separation. Dober missed a kick and Holtzman clinched again. Dober this time scored a takedown he initiated. Holtzman landed a couple elbows from the bottom and tried to get his back to the cage. He worked back to his feet again but got dragged down. They separated again and Holtzman moved forward. He landed a front kick to the body. Dober scored a nice combination. He clipped Holtzman on the ear with a right hook, then landed a left kick. Holtzman got in a kick. They traded punches in the center. Dober landed a kick, then missed a spinning back fist just before the horn.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Dober. Close round, but Dober had some offensive success on the feet on top of his two takedowns.
ROUND TWO: Dober shot in early, but got stuffed and clinched at the cage. Dober landed a knee to the face in that position and pressed Holtzman’s back to the cage. He separated and landed a big counter-right. He landed another hard right hand. Dober shot in again, eventually getting Holtzman’s back standing after failing on the takedown attempt. He landed a big elbow to separate as Holtzman turned into him. Dober landed a hard body kick. He landed another counter combination as Holtzman tried to press in. Holtzman connected on a knee/kick to the head as Dober ducked in. They clinched in the center and Holtzman scored a quick trip takedown. He landed some punches from Dober’s guard. Dober escaped, but as he rolled to get free he wound up on his back again. Holtzman was cut open from an elbow and bleeding badly. Holtzman got in an elbow. Dober tried to free himself, but Holtzman kept him down. Dober got to the cage and finally back to his feet. Holtzman separated with an elbow and they traded strikes. They clinched again. Dober tried to force him down, but Holtzman wound up on top in half guard. Holtzman landed a few strikes. He scored some significant strikes from half guard in the final 25 seconds.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Holtzman. He stole it with the takedowns and final minute or so of offense. Dober was hurting him on the feet before it hit the ground that round.
ROUND THREE: They traded heavy strikes immediately, both connecting in the center. Dober grabbed a clinch and scored a brief takedown, but Holtzman got up against the cage. They traded, and Holtzman landed a spinning back fist. Dober landed another strike, then shot in for another takedown. Holtzman got to his feet briefly only to get taken down again. Dober worked from half guard, but nearly got swept. He held position and blocked attempts from Holtzman to escape. Dober got in some elbows from the top and continued to hold position. Holtzman escaped again and this time got to his feet, holding off another takedown attempt. Herb Dean stopped the action as they got to their feet to check a nasty cut on the inside of Holtzman’s right eyebrow, but he was allowed to continue. Dober landed a few strikes as Holtzman tried to walk him down. Dober blocked a head kick and landed a right hand. Dober landed another combination as he backed up. He landed two hard punches as Holtzman pressed forward. Dober shot in again. He ate a few elbows but got Holtzman’s back standing as he tried to get him back down. Holtzman turned into him, but Dober got his back again and scored another takedown. He looked to back-mount, but Holtzman got to his feet again. They traded strikes at the horn.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Dober. Did a lot of damage on the feet, did more on the ground, and should take this decision.
WINNER: Dober via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
STAR RATING: (**+) Entertaining fight. Didn’t mean much, but Dober fought a smart and effective fight to pick up the clear win.
PRELIM FIGHT TWO: JUSTINE KISH VS. NINA ANSAROFF (WOMEN’S STRAWWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Kish wasted not time closing distance, but she got tagged several times by Ansaroff. Kish continued to press forward, forcing Ansaroff back , but she got hit by several strikes prior to that. Ansaroff then got her eye poked. Great. On replay it was Kish’s thumb. Ansaroff was clearly wincing, but she was going to continue on. No point taken. Ansaroff landed several strikes in combination. She landed another as Kish continued to rush in aggressively. They clinched and Ansaroff went for the takedown. Kish stuffed it, and landed a couple right hands to break. They traded strikes, and Kish connected on a spinning back elbow. Kish landed a big right hand. Ansaroff fired back. They traded punches again in the center. Ansaroff landed a hard kick to the body as Kish stepped in. She countered another rush. Ansaroff landed a hard left. Kish came straight ahead and landed a couple of her own. She went for the spinning elbow again. They traded on the cage again. Kish caught a kick and tripped Ansaroff up. Ansaroff popped up and got tripped with a leg kick. Kish caught another kick and landed a right hand. They both connected on strikes. Ansaroff landed a hard kick to the body. Ansaroff again landed the kick to the body. They traded punches. Kish landed a kick. Just wild offense all off Kish’s rushes forward. Ansaroff landed some kicks, then some jabs as Kish pressed in. They traded once again just before the horn. Really hard round to score, as both connected on a lot.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Ansaroff. Kish certainly got her offense in, and she was pressing the pace, but she got countered consistently, and Ansaroff was effective with her kicks as well. Can see it going the other way, though.
ROUND TWO: Ansaroff landed some early leg kicks. She landed several strikes as Kish tried to grab a clinch. Kish shot in, got stuffed, and ate a right hand. Ansaroff pressed her off to separate again. Kish landed a solid high kick. Ansaroff landed a jab. Ansaroff landed some more kicks from the outside. Kish landed a hard jab. They traded strikes again. Kish landed a few kicks. Kish countered a kick with a right hand. They both connected in an exchange but Ansaroff landed the best of it with a right hand. She landed a head kick and Kish desperately tried to clinch. Ansaroff got free but didn’t come back forward. Kish recovered and landed a body kick. Kish got through with a right hand. Ansaroff landed a hard right hand. Kish rushed and Ansaroff got the better of their exchange. Kish circled around the cage a bit. Kish missed a strike and Ansaroff came back in with a nice counter. Kish grabbed a headlock and scored a throw into side control. Ansaroff scrambled, but Kish held top position back to half guard. Ansaroff tried to work herself free. Kish sprawled just before the horn.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Ansaroff. I don’t think Kish stole it with her takedown, though she might have. Ansaroff had a ton of offense that round, though.
ROUND THREE: Kish shot in and got stuffed, then threw a few strikes. Ansaroff wound up scoring a takedown, popping easily out of a guillotine attempt. Kish landed some elbows from her back. Kish held some control from the bottom and tried to set up an armbar attempt. Ansaroff avoided it and held onto top position. She postured up for a strike. Ansaroff avoided another attempt, but after trying to pass Kish escaped and got to her feet. Kish stepped in with a knee to the body. She shot in this time, but Ansaroff held it off. Kish landed a hard right hand against the cage and clinched. Ansaroff landed an uppercut. Kish got in a few strikes. Kish ducked in again and this time scored the takedown. Kish got right into half guard and landed a few punches. She easily passed to mount. She got in a few strikes and Ansaroff gave up her back. Kish landed some strikes and tried to pull her back. Ansaroff turned into Kish and got on top with 25 seconds left. She almost got out to side control just before the horn. Close round.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Kish? Ansaroff had top position twice for a bit longer, but didn’t do much with it, while Kish scored some of her best strikes. It’s close. I think Ansaroff won the fight itself, but judging round by round could certainly bring it to Kish depending on how the first two were scored. Reasoning to score either way right now.
WINNER: Kish via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
STAR RATING: (**) There were arguments for the first two going Kish’s way, but really surprised two judges had it a clean sweep. Kish was landing much more effectively through the first ten minutes. Not a massive robbery or anything, but those scorecards are a bit odd.
PRELIM FIGHT THREE: KYLE NOKE VS. ALEX MORONO (WELTERWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Noke landed a kick and ducked under a strike. Morono missed a spinning kick, and Noke stayed out of the way as he rushed in. Noke landed a hard kick. He connected on a right hand up against the cage, then the front kick to the body. Noke landed a jab. Morono threw a spinning heel kick and it got through. Noke landed a hard right hand on Morono. Noke landed to the body, then landed a right, and a left. Morono swung wildly but missed every one. He clinched and Noke held off the attempt on the cage. Noke got himself free and separated. Noke landed another big right hand after avoiding a strike. Noke landed a nice side kick to the body. He got in another one. Morono popped in with a right hand and they both swung wildly at one another at the cage. Neither landed. Noke landed a jab, then backed away. Both missed again in the center. Noke tossed in a side kick to the leg. Morono landed a spinning back kick to the body. Noke got in a knee late and avoided Morono before the horn.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Noke. Easy round to score. Morono in the fight, but he wasn’t able to connect on much at all.
ROUND TWO: Morono landed an early jab and Noke’s nose was bloodied. Most of that damage was done from the big right hand in the first round. Noke missed a few strikes as Morono circled around. Morono landed a kick to the body. Noke landed a couple of kicks. Morono popped him with the jab. His nose was clearly busted badly. Neither landed much of consequence in the second minute. Noke slipped on a high kick and Morono came in with a wild flurry. Noke covered up and fired back before circling out. Morono scored a couple strikes as he came in but Noke clinched. He got his back standing and jumped for back mount. Morono shook him off and got on top. He tried to get back mount himself, but he was too high. He landed some elbows, but instead of shaking him off, Noke escaped and took top position, transitioning to the mount. Morono escaped mount with a heel hook attempt. They traded punches, but Noke held top position. Morono pulled him to guard. Noke landed a few elbows. He passed to half guard and did some more damage. Noke got in a nice knee to the body as Morono tried to turn into him. He ended the round on top in half guard throwing strikes.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Noke? Tough round to score, as Morono did some damage and had solid offense early, while Noke had some positional advantages late with some ground and pound work as well.
ROUND THREE: Noke landed several kicks to the legs and body early. Morono landed a left. They traded punches in the center. Noke landed a body kick. Noke landed a nice step-in forearm. Morono landed a right hand. The pace slowed considerably, but both were getting in with single strikes at a time. Noke’s face was swelling up badly despite him likely being up two rounds to none. Morono rushed in and got in an elbow. Noke came back ahead with a hard body kick. Morono swung wildly and landed to the body. He looked up for the clock with two minutes left. Noke landed a few hard body punches after getting in with a clinch. He landed a spinning back elbow. Front kick from Noke. Noke circled out. Noke landed an inside leg kick. Both were exhausted with a minute left. Noke landed the body kick. He shot in late and scored the takedown. Morono landed elbows off his back and attacked for an armbar from the bottom. It looked on tight initially, but Noke used the cage to circle out. They traded strikes with Noke in Morono’s guard late.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Noke. Nice sub attempt late, but Morono didn’t do a ton much more in that round.
WINNER: Morono via split decision (29-28, 27-30, 29-28)
STAR RATING: (**-) Solid fight, but I don’t agree with that decision at all. I’m not sure the sub attempt was enough to take the third, and I don’t think Morono won the second. Good for him on eleven days notice, but I don’t think that was an earned victory.
PRELIM FIGHT FOUR: MICHAEL MCDONALD VS. MASANORI KANEHARA (BANTAMWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: McDonald scored an early left, then a nice counter right as Kanehara threw a kick. McDonald stepped in with a short combo. Kanehara rushed in and shot for a takedown. McDonald locked on a guillotine choke on the way down and snuck his other arm in to try to tighten it. He lost the grip but held a body triangle for the guard. Kanehara threw some elbows to the body. Kanaehara tried to pass out to half guard, slowing the pace down a bit. He tried to work a pass to full mount and McDonald still held onto the choke attempt. Kanehara got his head free with a few strikes, but lost the mount. McDonald tried to attack slowly from the bottom, but instead just got back to guard. Kanehara trapped an arm behind McDonald’s back and tried to land some strikes. He got in a few strikes from that position, but didn’t do a ton. McDonald went for one more guillotine at the horn. Odd round to score.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Kanehara. The first choke attempt was fairly close, but from there McDonald gave up position trying to lock it on, and Kanehara scored with a bunch of strikes to the body and some to the head.
ROUND TWO: Kanehara pressed forward, and they traded strikes on the cage. Kanehara timed a takedown and got McDonald easily to the ground. McDonald again went for the choke, but gave up side control. Kanehara landed some knees to the body. He passed over briefly to mount, but McDonald got him to half guard. Kanehara tried to set up an arm triangle and passed to mount. Kanehara slowly worked to the arm triangle. McDonald somehow popped out of it and took Kanehara’s back! He locked on the rear naked choke and had it tight! Kanehara tapped! Holy hell what a sequence. That was insanity.
WINNER: McDonald via submission (rear naked choke) at 2:09 of the second round
STAR RATING: (***) All for the finishing sequence. I can’t remember ever seeing anything like that. Kanehara had the arm triangle tight from mount and passed to side control where that’s normally finished, but McDonald somehow got just enough space by turning into him and exploding to make space, and he immediately took Kanehara’s back for the RNC. Just absolutely insane. Upon replay, and of note, he managed to get a little more leverage with his toes in the cage to pull out of that hold. Went uncalled, but credit to his desperation when nearly finished there.
=====Pay-Per-View Main Card=====
MAIN CARD FIGHT ONE: ABEL TRUJILLO VS. TONY SIMS (LIGHTWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Sims stuck to the outside and circled around. Trujillo missed early. Sims landed a short strike as he feinted a shot. Trujillo landed a right hand but nearly tripped himself up. They both fired out heavy strikes that missed. Sims landed a right hand as Trujillo overextended. He landed the right hand again behind the head as Trujillo stepped in. Trujillo missed another left and ate two counter-punches. Trujillo finally closed the distance and went for a takedown. Sims held it off well on the cage. He covered up and Trujillo backed off with a right hand. Sims landed a couple of punches as he engaged. Sims ducked under a strike and scored a takedown. Trujillo went for the guillotine choke on the way down. He used a butterfly to push Sims off of him, and then he locked on the hold even tighter. Reminiscent of Urijah Faber’s guillotine over Jens Pulver in their rematch.
WINNER: Trujillo via submission (guillotine choke) 3:18 of the first round
STAR RATING: (**+) Entirely unexpected finish. Sims was landing counter strikes every time Trujillo pressed in, but then went for that takedown and left his neck open to that. Trujillo worked the hold well once it hit the ground to score his first submission win in the UFC.
-We get a really awkward sit-down with T.J. Dillashaw and Dominick Cruz exchanging words about their Jan. 17 title fight, with Cruz talking circles around the champ while Dillashaw fails to add much in the way of return fire.
MAIN CARD FIGHT TWO: DIEGO BRANDAO VS. BRIAN ORTEGA (FEATHERWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Brandao landed a hard leg kick but stumbled on it. He came back in with a big overhand right that connected, but Ortega shrugged it off. Brandao bull-rushed Ortega, picked him up, and slammed him down. He avoided a triangle/armbar and got to side control, though he let him back up. Ortega barely missed a knee. Brandao landed a few hard strikes and Ortega clinched. Brandao scored another takedown on the cage. Ortega tried to control Brandao’s posture, though the Brazilian got through with a couple elbows. He finally decided to stand up and let Ortega to his feet midway through the round. Brandao got in with a grazing right hand. Ortega landed a hard kick to the body, then covered up as the counter strikes came in. He landed a jab, then Brandao threw a body kick. Brandao landed a left hand. Brandao blocked some strikes, then fired off with a right hand. Ortega popped in at some point with a left that opened a cut under Brandao’s right eye. Brandao landed a short combination ending in a leg kick. Ortega connected on a hard kick to the body. Ortega landed a nice jab late. Both missed strikes just before the horn.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Brandao. Good opening round for the Brazilian, but Ortega’s very much alive in this fight, and he looked a lot more comfortable late than in the first half of the round.
ROUND TWO: Brandao pressed forward, but Ortega worked well at avoiding strikes. Almost a minute in Brandao landed a few strikes in combination. He missed a strike and tried to shoot in, but got stuffed. Ortega landed a jab and blocked the counter. Ortega went for a body kick that didn’t quite get in. Brandao landed one of his own, then a counter right. Ortega landed a solid right hand. He landed a left. Ortega got eye-poked but McCarthy missed it and had them reset quickly. Brandao landed a two punch combo to the body and head. Ortega landed a short right hand. He landed a straight left and bobbed away from the counter. Brandao then blocked two strikes and countered with a big right hand. Brandao missed a right hand. He landed one as Ortega tried to chase him down. Ortega landed a grazing left and avoided a counter. Brandao connected on a few strikes after that. Brandao landed another right hand. The pace was significantly slower in the second. Brandao landed a few punches. He ran to his corner at the horn.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Brandao. Was a bit more effective in a slower paced, closer round. Ortega’s got to find a way to finish this more than likely.
ROUND THREE: Brandao came forward swinging, and they traded strikes before Ortega shot in. Brandao countered and got on top. He didn’t want to be there and made Ortega stand. He scored a second takedown, then landed some punches as ortega stood up. Brandao missed a strike. Ortega grabbed for a standing choke and mounted Brandao. He lost the choke but transitioned immediately to a triangle choke as they circled out and he forced a quick tap! Wow. What a sequence. He went for the anaconda, mounted and switched to a guillotine, then set up the triangle from the top and let Brandao sweep to the top to lock on the hold. Beautiful work to steal the fight back.
WINNER: Ortega via submission (triangle choke) at 1:37 of the third round
STAR RATING: (***-) Elevated by the finish. Fantastic finishing sequence from Ortega.
MAIN CARD FIGHT THREE: LORENZ LARKIN VS. ALBERT TUMENOV (WELTERWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE:Larkin pawed out an early jab as they circled around one another. Larkin landed a hard leg kick and avoided the right hand thrown by Tumenov. Larkin continued to work the lead jab, even as he wasn’t fully connecting. Larkin landed another hard inside leg kick, with Tumenov countering with a right hand. Larkin again landed the hard leg kick and avoided the counter. He missed a winging left and ate a jab. Larkin landed another leg kick. Larkin landed another hard kick to the lead leg. He caught a body kick and backed Tumenov off. Tumenov continued firing, but Larkin was blocking a lot of it. Tumenov landed a big combination, cracked Larkin with a head kick, and fired off a couple more on the cage. Larkin missed and Tumenov landed a hard right hand to counter it. Larkin landed another leg kick to the lead leg. Tumenov went high on a kick that partially got through. Larkin landed a nice straight kick to the body. Tumenov got in a few strikes by the cage. Larkin landed a hard leg kick and avoided counter damage. He landed another hard leg kick to the lead leg. Tumenov’s left leg was bright red in spots. Larkin landed another hard leg kick. Tumenov connected on a right hand, and Larkin got in the oblique kick to the body at the horn.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Tumenov. Close round, very good round, but Tumenov’s power was the difference, albeit slightly. Larkin’s very much in this, though.
ROUND TWO: Larkin landed a leg kick. Tumenov threw out a few jabs. He landed a counter as Larkin rushed in. Larkin landed the leg kick again. Tumenov connected on a right hand. Larkin went back to the lead leg. He connected inside on the lead leg. Larkin circled out as Tumenov nearly backed him to the cage. He landed another hard leg kick and avoided the counter. Tumenov came forward with a short combination. He landed the uppercut again in another combination. Larkin missed a left hand and barely avoided the counter. Larkin landed another hard leg kick, then a right hand behind it. Tumenov landed a few strikes in combination. Larkin landed another hard leg kick. He got in a short left hook as Tumenov backed him up. Tumenov connected to the body with a kick and two body shots. He got in a left hook to the body. Larkin missed an elbow. He landed a hard leg kick and Tumenov switched stances. Larkin went back to the leg. Tumenov landed several hard body strikes. He backed Larkin up and landed a few strikes. Larkin circled out again. He landed a big right hand. Tumenov checked a kick and Larkin barely missed an uppercut. Tumenov landed one of his own to the body. Tumenov checked a couple kicks. Larkin landed a jab. Tumenov landed a hard left hand. Larkin landed another hard leg kick and Tumenov shot in. Tumenov got in to the body. They traded shots late.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Tumenov. He’s winning the rounds, but Larkin’s doing tons of damage to that lead leg. He needs to pick up the rest of his offense if he hopes to find a finish here.
ROUND THREE: They traded early leg kicks. Larkin landed the oblique kick, then went back inside. He continued to target the leg. Tumenov threw a head kick but it was blocked. Larkin missed an overhand right, but landed another hard leg kick to force the stance switch. Larkin landed a spinning kick to that lead leg. He did it again, and again. And again. He continued throwing kicks as Tumenov labored forward. Larkin landed a nice left hand. He landed another hard leg kick, then got it inside, then landed a strike. Tumenov landed a left hand. Larkin landed a jab. He got in the spinning heel kick to the leg. Tumenov landed a kick with a punch behind it. Larkin landed more leg kicks. Tumenov landed to the body. Larkin barely missed an uppercut. Tumenov threw a couple punches that were blocked. Tumenov landed a left to the body. Tumenov landed a few strikes. Larkin landed a couple more kicks. Tumenov landed another combination. Larkin landed a step in elbow but ate a counter. He landed another hard leg kick. Larkin shot in late for a takedown, but Tumenov stuffed it on the cage. Tumenov turned him around. Larkin landed a few late right hands before the horn. This one will come down to how the second round was scored.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Larkin. The damage to the leg, especially with those spinning kicks to the thighs, were the difference here, and if they were the difference for judges in the second he could potentially steal this.
WINNER: Tumenov via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
STAR RATING: (***-) Lot of skill in that fight, and it was close and competitive throughout. Larkin absolutely had an argument for it, but Tumenov’s power striking and body work wound up being the difference. Imagine he’s in for some miserable days and weeks ahead with that leg, though.
-UFC 196 preview time, previewing the Heavyweight Championship rematch between Fabricio Werdum and Cain Velasquez.
MAIN CARD FIGHT FOUR: ANDREI ARLOVSKI VS. STIPE MIOCIC (HEAVYWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Miocic took the center and Arlovski opened up with a couple kicks to the lead thigh. Miocic pawed out a jab. Arlovski popped in to the body. They clinched briefly and both barely missed. Arlovski connected on a couple strikes and Miocic countered. Miocic rocked Arlovski. Arlovski stumbled as he got hit again, then went down off another shot. Miocic threw a few more strikes until the ref stepped in. Miocic then screamed at Dana White at cageside that he wants his title shot. Huge power on those strikes from Miocic. That was an excellent performance. That right hand landed right behind the ear for the beginning of the end.
WINNER: Miocic via TKO at :54 of the first round
STAR RATING: (**+) Kind of shocking finish in its brevity, but in retrospect that probably should have been expected given how poor Arlovski’s fight with Mir was. Regardless, that’s a big moment for Miocic, and it would be real hard to deny him a shot here after that.
-Miocic was still a bit heated in his post-fight interview, still peeved about the contention that he wasn’t “popular enough” to get a title fight, which is one of the reasons the UFC went with the Werdum-Velasquez rematch.
MAIN EVENT FIGHT FIVE: ROBBIE LAWLER VS. CARLOS CONDIT (WELTERWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP)
ROUND ONE: Condit circled around off the bat and Lawler looked to cut him off. Condit tossed out a leg kick and continued to circle. He got in a kick to the body and halted Lawler’s momentum. Lawler landed a right hand as Condit rushed, though Condit ended with a hard body kick. Somewhat tentative start, both trying to gauge the other. Condit fired off a nice inside leg kick. Condit landed a right, but Lawler scored several as he rushed him. Condit landed a hard knee. Condit rocked Lawler and he went down! He popped up and recovered quickly and smiled as they clinched. Condit landed a combination and popped in with a knee. Condit ate a right hand but connected on a few strikes. Condit landed a hard body kick. Lawler returned the favor. Lawler landed another body kick but it was partially blocked. Condit landed a great right hand as he stepped in. Lawler clinched. Condit got in a knee and separated. Condit pressed forward but Lawler stayed out of range. Condit landed a body kick. Condit landed a couple as he pressed in and Lawler countered. Condit threw out another combination as he got close, tossing out more kicks to back Lawler off. Condit landed an inside leg kick. Condit landed a hard body kick with a left hook behind it after switching stances. He got in a straight kick to the body. He continued moving forward late. On replay the shot that rocked Lawler was a slick uppercut.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Condit. Very good round for the challenger. The tone of the round changed as soon as he hit that uppercut, but Lawler’s recovered now.
ROUND TWO: Lawler took the center again to start off, and Condit circled around. Lawler landed a body kick, but Condit caught it, threw it aside, and circled out. Condit went high with a kick that was blocked. Big chants for Lawler in the crowd. Condit got in a short combination and avoided the counter. He threw a front kick to the body. Condit landed an inside kick. Lawler jumped to check a kick. Very measured pace to the second frame. Condit landed a left hook and a knee to the body. Lawler landed a fast combination as Condit left his hands down coming in. Condit came back with a right hand. Condit landed a nice high kick with a strike behind it. Condit came in hands down and Lawler dropped him with a right hand! Condit recovered and Lawler dropped into his guard. Condit got his wits back about him quickly and tried to attack off his back. Lawler finally backed off and made him stand. Condit threw some kicks, Lawler checked a couple. Condit went high with a kick and landed the punch behind it. Condit continued throwing kicks and Lawler countered. Lawler landed a hard left, then landed another to the body. Condit continued pressing forward. He landed more kicks. Condit landed a right hand, but Lawler landed some strikes and barely missed the button. Condit rushed in late and got hit again by a left.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Lawler. On volume alone Condit has an argument for the round despite the knockdown, but Lawler’s evened things up here.
ROUND THREE: Condit pressed in with a leg kick and Lawler jumped again to check it. Condit threw some side kicks, then added in another to the body. Condit landed to the body again. Condit continued to mix up his kicking attack. Lawler swung wildly as Condit kept throwing kicks. He landed a couple. Condit got in a knee to the head. Lawler walked him down and started throwing bombs. Whatever landed Condit handled well. Lawler landed a big elbow as Condit stepped in, then avoided a few return offerings. Condit landed a solid inside leg kick. Lawler was just out of range from a couple more. Loud “Robbie” chants again. Condit tossed out more high kicks as he tried to close distance, but Lawler was staying out of his range. Lawler caught a kick and landed one of his own. Condit came back with another hard kick. Condit rushed and barely avoided the rush. Condit got a clinch and landed a couple hard knees to the body. Lawler looked briefly for a takedown, but gave it up as Condit grabbed his arm for a kimura. Condit landed a body kick. Condit pressed further late.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Condit. Another great round, and though Lawler scored with a few strikes it was Condit who was much more active.
ROUND FOUR: Slow opening, then they traded punches in the center 30 seconds in. Condit landed the step-in knee to the body. Condit connected with a front kick. Things slowed down considerably here in the fourth. Condit landed a body kick nearly two minutes in, but neither had much urgency. Condit landed a couple strikes in the center. Condit landed a hard inside leg kick that tripped Lawler up. Lawler popped in with a left midway through the round. Lawler missed a few strikes and they traded in a nice exchange on the cage. Condit seemed to get the better of that. Lawler slipped again and Condit got in a knee to the body. Condit landed a side kick to the body. He walked Lawler down and scored a few strikes. Condit pressed again. Lawler landed one but ate four. Condit missed a jumping knee attempt. He threw a side kick. Lawler got backed up and Condit landed a body kick. Condit landed a leg kick. Condit landed another big combination with several kicks to the body. He rocked Lawler on the cage. He hurt him bad. He landed to the body. Condit played smart. He got in a big knee. He landed a spinning elbow. He kept throwing, but stayed out of counter range. Condit landed several more. Lawler got in one strike before the horn. Big, big, big round for Condit. Close to 10-8 with that final minute.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Condit. Huge final two minutes from Condit. Lawler needs the finish to hold onto his title.
ROUND FIVE: Lawler tried to move in at a much more urgent pace. He rushed but Condit landed a few strikes and circled out. Lawler landed a few strikes but Condit fired back and circled out. Condit with another big combination. Lawler continued trying to get in close. He landed a big right hand and Condit circled out. Condit stepped in and landed several elbows. He landed a few punches. He landed several more. He threw a kick-off superman punch but Lawler was out of range. Condit landed another short flurry. Lawler missed the right hand. Condit landed another big combination and backed Lawler to the cage. Great output from Condit. He landed another flurry and stayed out of range for the counter. Now big Condit chants. Lawler landed a left. He backed Condit up and got in a nice combo on the cage. Condit landed a few strikes and circled out. Condit with another massive flurry of strikes. Lawler landed one and ate another flurry. This is fantastic stuff. Lawler came back ahead after every exchange. They clinched. Condit went high with a kick. He landed another flurry. He landed a knee and Lawler backed him up with a right hand. Lawler backed him up again and Condit landed several huge exchanges. They both fired off furious strikes. Condit was backed up and bleeding and Condit was rocked. He rocked him again with a right. Condit was firing back but hurt badly. Lawler kept firing. Condit fired back. He clinched and landed an elbow. He was hurt badly. He fired back. They were both so labored in the center. Condit landed a spinning back elbow. He threw a jumping knee! They traded again. Condit landed a huge flurry late. Lawler landed a head kick. They rocked each other again at the horn and both draped their arms over the cage at the horn! Unfreakingbelievable fifth round. What a damned fight.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Lawler. Condit had too much offense for this to be a 10-8, but Lawler had him hurt badly. What a gutsy display by Condit to keep firing with how bad he was hurt, and I think he’s going to take this title.
WINNER: Lawler via split decision (48-47, 47-48, 48-47)
STAR RATING: (****+) Absolutely everything anyone could have hoped for. It was a great title fight going into the fifth, and that may have been the greatest fifth round in UFC history. I really can’t agree with that decision, because I don’t think Lawler won that third round at all, but holy hell what a fight. Both fighters sounded off for a rematch afterward, and apologies to everyone else in the division, but that’s the move to make, this fight was just that good.
-We’re going to have much, much more on an incredible start to the 2016 schedule throughout the week, and the bar has been set high off the bat in the “Fight of the Year” conversation. Thanks for joining us here tonight, and continue to tune in to MMATorch throughout the week.
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