Where do you think Robbie Lawler vs. Carlos Condit should rank among the best UFC title fights ever, and why? Should it be in that conversation? Which fights (if any) do you feel were better? Who do you think should have gotten the decision as well, and why?
MICHAEL BANE, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
It’s in the conversation, but it doesn’t take the cake. MMA fans have been blessed with some outstanding UFC title bouts over the past few years. This latest tilt between Lawler and Condit just adds to why UFC events are often can’t miss affairs. There’s been many times a fight has started with little to no expectations, only to end with Fight of the Night honors and sometimes Fight of the Year buzz. There has also been plenty of the opposite, match ups we had raised hopes for and expected fireworks from, only to be disappointed with a much-hyped dud on our hands. Robbie Lawler vs. Carlos Condit was one of the rarer fights that had sky high expectations and managed to deliver on them. While it makes my subjective list of top UFC title fights, it’s edged out by a few others off of the top my head right away.
Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard III was a fitting end to a trilogy that featured two of the best at 155 pounds at the time. Edgar had scored a majority tie in their second match to retain his title, somehow overcoming brutality that would have killed most mortal men to rally from defeat. It was a sequel that proved better than its predecessor. Edgar again got rocked in the first round by a powerful uppercut, vicious knee, and some more hard punches. Despite a broken nose, the champ managed to hang on and regain avoid a stoppage. Edgar fought back and began to take control in the next two rounds, and capped it off in the fourth with a shocking TKO of Maynard. I’ll never forget the incredulous look on Maynard’s face when Edgar rocked him, landing the right hand that was the beginning of the end. I go back and fourth as to whether this fight or Lawler vs. Condit was better.
I hope Lawler’s earning a ton of unannounced money for his past performances, because his fight against Rory MacDonald at UFC 189 was ridiculous. MMATorch’s Fight of the Year has been discussed much recently for it’s brutality, back-and-forth performance, and Hollywood intensity and finish. Lawler is going to have a hard time topping this one as far as great fights go, and while his tilt against Condit was great, it didn’t quite reach the level that Lawler-MacDonald 2 did.
The best title fight I have ever seen, and best fight I’ve seen period, is Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson. The Mauler seemed like the next sacrificial lamb to be set in front of Jones, but it seems no one informed the big Swede of that. Gustafsson took Jones down, he rocked him with shots, and in the third round my thoughts shifted from “Wow, Gustafsson showed up,” to “Holy crap, Gustafsson is winning.” Both fighters showed major attrition and refused to quit, with Jones digging deeper than anyone knew he could to hold onto his title. In a way, I don’t ever want to see a rematch between these two as it can’t possibly live up to the first one.
I scored the fight 48-47 for Condit, which is in line with what most of the media did as well. MMA Decisions showed 75% of selected media members scoring for Condit, with 10% scoring a draw and the final 15% giving it to Lawler. Brett Okamoto of ESPN also tallied a 48-47 for Lawler. MMA scoring is subjective, as the number of strikes can be outweighed by damage inflicted and other less quantifiable factors. While it was easy to give the fight to Condit on my card, the minority outside of the judges scoring it for Lawler at least shows it’s not a huge robbery. Best way to end this debate? Run it again, and let the fans enjoy a rematch of one of the better title fights ever.
FRANK HYDEN, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
It’s certainly up there. It was definitely one of the most epic, as that fifth round will go down as one of the best rounds ever. The decision drops it for me just a little bit, though. Nothing against Robbie Lawler, but Carlos Condit won that fight. To suggest otherwise is lunacy, in my eyes. Stats don’t tell the whole story, but Condit won there. He also won the eyeball test. Watching the fight, I was certain that Condit had won. You can make a stronger argument that Condit won four of the rounds than you can that Lawler won three. To me, it’s very simple, Condit got robbed. It’s not Lawler’s fault, but the wrong man won. That said, it’s still one of the best fights of all time.
BRAD WALKER, MMATORCH COLUMNIST
It was violent, it was well fought, and it was a hell of a fight. It has to rank among the top 10 if not higher for the fact that it was very competitive from the very start until the final bell, generally we see the competition slow down over the fight until someone gets finished – this fight was not going to end that way. Lawler has monster power and his cardio has greatly increased as has his game planning and Condits technical and well placed attack added to the fight in so many ways. It could be years before we get another fight on this level, the most recent that was similar would be Jones-Gustafsson. And that’s about the only other fight I want to mentally put in proximity to this battle because of its recent timing and two top stars giving it all they had. Condit should have taken the decision, although I know some people had given Lawler round three I can’t agree with that stance, and would have put it to Condit to give him the win.
DAYNE FOX, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Condit was no doubt the rightful winner, but I’m not about to call it a robbery, as it was a close fight with the third round being the one up for debate. Lawler took the early lead in the round with some heavy shots before Condit picked up the pace to take the round… at least in my eyes and the majority of the public as well. Aside from that, the first and fourth rounds were Condit’s as well, and not just due to volume, but also to scoring more damage by far than Lawler did. Condit actually landed more volume in the second and fifth rounds which have almost unanimously gone to Lawler, but the knockdown in the second and the vicious beating Lawler put on him in the fifth round swung the momentum in the favor of the champ.
RICH HANSEN, MMATORCH COLUMNIST
I think I’m taking the minority opinion here: I liked the fight. I enjoyed myself. I’ve re-watched the fight twice (which I rarely do) already. But I didn’t love the fight. It was thoroughly enjoyable, and maybe had the entire MMA-world not collectively pushed our expectations way out of proportion to what could have been expected, maybe I’d be even higher on it at this point in time. It was a very good fight, and was certainly the best fight on UFC 195. But it would be an exercise in futility for me to list every UFC title fight that I would rank above it. Lord knows I don’t want to spend the time, and your eyes, Gentle Reader, would certainly glaze over (assuming they haven’t already). If I had to estimate a ranking? Maybe in the ten to fifteen range of best UFC title fights ever. The fifth round elevates it greatly, but the piss-poor decision brings it down a little. Carlos Condit controlled the entire fight from the time he knocked Robbie Lawler down in the second or third minute of the opening stanza until the there were about two minutes left, in the fight when Robbie Lawler took over like a BOSS.
I understand Lawler won the second round, but other than the knockdown, Condit was very effective in that round. In my universe, Condit has a stronger case for a 10-10 score in round 5 than Lawler has for a 10-9 third round (which turned out to be the swing round, as all judges gave rounds 1 and 4 to Condit, and rounds 2 and 5 to Lawler). I scored it 48-47 for Condit, and the only other score I’d really buy would be 49-47 Condit, giving round two to Lawler, rounds 1, 3, and 4 to Condit, and a draw in round 5.
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