Who wins the Robbie Lawler vs. Carlos Condit fight at UFC 195 for the UFC Welterweight Championship, and how?
MICHAEL BANE, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
It was 1999 when Eminem dropped the line “Hi kids? Do you like violence?” If you are an MMA fan, the answer is undoubtedly yes on some level. While the King of Hip-Hop wasn’t talking about MMA with those lyrics, the words are particularly apt, even in a sport predicated on violence, when discussing the main event of UFC 195. If you watched Carlos Condit’s return against Thiago Alves, you saw “The Natural Born Killer” bust up Alves’ face and break his nose so badly that the doctor refused to let the fight go on. Were you fortunate enough to see Lawler-MacDonald II, you came close to witnessing two guys murder each other in the Octagon. Condit isn’t the most logical choice for a title shot at the moment, but this was the most fun and fan-friendly match to be made.
Some people were just built to fight. If Robbie Lawler grew up in ancient Rome, he would undoubtedly be a gladiator who relished in his profession. Were he a caveman he’d be the one who’d march into your cave, kick your saber-toothed tiger in the face, and march right back out with your cavewoman over his shoulder, after he kicked your ass and ate all your food. Lawler is powerful, has great balance, and never quits. He likes to keep things uncomfortable and thrives in the “phone booth” type of fights where two guys are in each other’s faces for the majority of the match. Unlike Roy Nelson, who will eat two punches to land one, Lawler gets inside and works a boxing game of head movement and feints, and attempts to dish it out with technical acumen. That’s not to say he isn’t going to take damage, as this style will lead to many more absorbed blows than staying outside. Condit wasn’t incorrect in saying that Lawler is more dangerous than former champion Georges St-Pierre. Where St-Pierre may be more likely to beat you, Lawler is more likely to kill you in the cage.
Carlos Condit, on the other hand, wears his “Natural Born Killer” nickname well. He’s a good looking (that’s what my wife says, not that there would be anything wrong with me saying it, okay fine, I’ll say it) and very well-spoken young man. Put another way, he’s cold and calculating, using his intelligence to efficiently inflict a maximum amount of damage on his opposition. He doesn’t like letting his opponents off easy, finishing an astounding 28 out of his 30 victories. As a member of the Jackson/Winklejohn camp, Condit game plans to play to his strengths and minimize the abilities of his opponents. Condit’s fight against Nick Diaz is an interesting study, as Diaz is another fighter who constantly comes forward. Condit stayed on the outside and picked Diaz apart with timed and technical strikes en route to an interim title win. Lawler is better at forcing the issue, but Condit has displayed an willingness and ability to adapt to someone’s style. Although not utilized as much over the last few years, Condit also has a proficient submission game with 13 such finishes.
None of this is to suggest that Lawler has the intellect of a Neanderthal or Condit is some sort of psychopath. Rather, it is that they are two specimens whose natural skills and personalities make them prime candidates to excel in this sport. The key to this fight may be how well Lawler is able to stay inside and keep the action dirty. Condit holds a slight reach advantage and will look to keep the champ at bay while avoiding the inevitable damage that comes with trading with the durable title holder. Condit’s weakness may be his inability to avoid the takedown, but one of the reasons the UFC bumped him to the top of the challenger list is that Lawler doesn’t take people down. When powerful and proficient strikers are on their feet, us fans are likely in for a hell of a show. Lawler would be wise to at least throw a takedown attempt or two in to negate some of Condit’s striking, but he’s more inclined to just stand and fight, so don’t look for that to happen.
Condit’s never been knocked out as his one TKO loss came due to a torn knee ligament as opposed strikes. The danger in fighting Lawler though is not necessarily the knockout punch, although you have to fear that, but the “accumulation of a beatdown” such as the one he put on MacDonald. Condit, like MacDonald, may have a small edge on the feet, but it becomes a matter of survival as the fight grinds on as opposed to just avoiding the kill shot. Lawler has only been stopped once via strikes, and that being almost 12 years ago, but Condit has the ability to be the second. Condit does a better job of avoiding damage than Lawler, and Ruthless has a short reign when Condit ends his night in the fourth by TKO.
Watching this fight strikes another dream fight off my list. With dos Santos-Overeem (dud) and Rockhold-Weidman out of the way, and Dillashaw-Cruz coming up, just give me Pettis vs. Aldo and I’ll have to start making a new list. Whichever way this fight turns out, those of us who are drawn more to the primal nature of the sport than it’s technical side should have a Happy New Year indeed.
FRANK HYDEN, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
I’m a big Carlos Condit fan, so I’m going with him. I think it’s a hard fought win, and a very close one, but I think Condit pulls it off. I think it goes to an extremely close decision and that Condit wins by virtue of his aggression. He’s going to keep coming and I think that benefits him in the eyes of the judges. I expect a slugfest and a brutal war.
BRAD WALKER, MMATORCH COLUMNIST
This is Robbie Lawler’s world at 170 lbs. and we’re all just spectators. He’s going to remind us of that fact in quick fashion by hurting Condit out of the gate and then continuing to decimate him until the ref is ready to call it a night. Lawler by KO in the second round.
DAYNE FOX, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
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