GOOD: Abel Trujillo submits Tony Sims
Sims was peppering Trujillo with counter-punches at every opportunity. However, after he went for a takedown, Trujillo was able to lock on a guillotine for the first round submission win. Good win for Trujillo.
BAD/GOOD: Brian Ortega submits Diego Brandao
The fight itself was largely fine. It was fairly slow-paced, though, so I didn’t care much for it. Still, the finish was really good. He went for a choke, lost it, and then locked in a triangle choke for the win. This was also in the third round, after Brandao had won the first two rounds, so that makes it even sweeter.
GOOD: Lorenz Larkin vs. Albert Tumenov
This was a really close, hard-hitting fight. Larkin was lighting up Tumenov’s leg with repeated kicks, but Tumenov landed some big power shots to counter that. He also landed some hard body shots that had to be taking a toll on Larkin. Tumenov won the split decision, and the second round had to be the difference, it was so close that you could easily see it going either way. More judges scored it for Tumenov, which think is the right call.
GOOD: Stipe Miocic stops Andrei Arlovski
Miocic landed some beautiful power punches and turned out Arlovski’s lights. He showed good power, and as we all know that Arlovski doesn’t have the best chin, that adds up to this explosive finish. After the win, Miocic was loudly proclaiming that he wants the next title shot against the winner of UFC Heavyweight Champion Fabricio Werdum vs. Cain Velasquez, which is slated to take place next month.
Now, if the winner can fight quickly, then so be it. And I think Werdum would be able to do that. Velasquez, on the other hand, seems to be getting hurt all the time. If he were to win against Werdum, I have doubts as to whether he’d be able to meet Miocic or anyone else this year, which sounds absurd to say considering it’s January but you never know.
The issue is that I don’t think Miocic has such a strong case that there’s no question he deserves the next title shot. He’s only won two in a row, following a loss to Junior dos Santos. Well, Alistair Overeem has won three in a row, including a TKO win over dos Santos in his last fight. Thus, I don’t think Miocic should be allowed to wait an extended period. I would argue that Overeem is more deserving of the title shot in the first place.
Of course, this is all moot because Dana White has already said that Miocic is getting the next shot. However, I think this is just a ploy by the UFC to play some headgames with Overeem, who is a free agent. I think the UFC offers Overeem a slightly below market value contract but with the added sweetener of the next title shot. That is, unless they plan on letting Overeem walk, which would be dumb. Surely he wouldn’t be too happy about being passed over for a title shot in favor of a guy who doesn’t have as good a case. I guess we’ll have to wait and see what happens, though.
Back to the fight, this was an explosive finish. Miocic landed some big time shots that were on point and fun to watch. This was a big win for Miocic in a big moment.
GREAT: Carlos Condit vs. Robbie Lawler
First off, this was a fantastic fight, one of the best you’ll see in recent memory. The fifth round was particularly unbelievable. It doesn’t seem possible that the two of them could have had such output in the final round of a grueling bout. These guys poured everything they had into every second of this fight, and it was so impressive. That said, I completely disagree with the final outcome, which saw Lawler win by split decision. I thought it was exceedingly clear that Condit won the first, third, and fourth rounds. The second was very close and I think you could make an argument for either fighter. The fifth round was clearly Lawler, though Condit was so incredibly tough that he was able to withstand the onslaught. Of course, the same can be said about Lawler, who also showed great toughness.
I think it’s a damn shame that this fight had this ending. This should have been the coronation of Carlos Condit, who was a fantastic WEC Welterweight Champion and would be a great UFC Welterweight Champion. And what a way to win the title in a fight like this. This is nothing against Lawler by any means, he wasn’t judging, but I just think it’s crazy that two of the judges saw the fight for Lawler. I might feel a little differently if I watched the fight again, but I don’t think I would feel that different.
Anyway, enough complaining about the judging, back to the actual fight. This was such a great fight in part because of the relentless pace, but also because of the movement of both guys. They also showed tremendous aggression, but most importantly, the heart was just out of this world. Condit took huge shots from Lawler over and over and over again in that fifth round, but kept forging ahead. It was such a great performance that even if you think Lawler won the decision, you can’t help but feel bad for Condit.
It sounds crazy to say this, but this fight is probably going to be the Fight of the Year. That’s how good this fight was. I feel confident in saying that, on the second day of the year, we got the Fight of the Year. It’s possible that something comes along and is better, but you can’t count on that, as it will take one of the greatest fights of all-time to top this. I’m sure I’m still somewhat caught up in the moment, but Condit-Lawler is one of the greatest fights of all time itself, so if something tops it, we’re all winners. We can only hope to see a better fight this year.
Comments and suggestions can be emailed to me at email@example.com and you can follow me on Twitter at @hydenfrank
[Photo (c) Joshua Dahl via USA Today Sports]
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