UFC 195 takes place Saturday night from Las Vegas, Nevada. The event is headlined by a UFC welterweight title fight pitting champion Robbie Lawler against challenger Carlos Condit. Both Lawler and Condit are action fighters with dangerous standup, so the bout is expected to be an exciting one. In the co-feature, heavyweights Andrei Arlovski and Stipe Miocic compete for a potential future shot at the heavyweight title.
UFC Welterweight Title: Robbie Lawler vs. Carlos Condit
Lawler has quite the career story. When he broke into MMA, he was thought to be a future champion. However, a series of losses sent him out of the UFC and additional losses outside of UFC made it seem he was a spent force. Then Lawler moved to 170 pounds and started winning again. He turned in the best performances of his career and won the UFC welterweight title. Now he faces a very similar fighter in the tough finisher Condit. There was some questioning of the choice of Condit compared to other contenders for the shot, but his crowd pleasing style and the fact it wasn't a rematch were likely the deciding factors for UFC.
Round 1. Lawler takes the center of the Octagon, while Condit circles. Condit throws more kicks early, including a nice kick to the body. Lawler attacks with some wild punches but most don't connect. Condit badly hurts Lawler with a punch and Lawler goes down. Lawler gets up but Condit keeps the pressure on with a pair of hard punches and a big knee. Lawler has a sturdy chin but has been finished. Condit steps in with a big right hand. He is getting the better of the exchanges thus far. Condit lands a couple of relatively short straight punches and adds a low kick. Lawler, who had opened up more early, is throwing a lot less thanks to Condit's success. Condit clearly got the best of that round. 10-9 Condit.
Round 2. Lawler lands a kick to the body. The crowd chants for Lawler. Condit throws a couple leg kicks and then a kick to the body. Condit is the much more active fighter. Lawler drops Condit with a left hook followed by a right hook. Lawler drops down looking to finish with heavy punches but Condit locks up his closed guard and buys time to recover. Lawler catches wise and stands back up and calls Condit back to the feet. Condit appears to have it together now. They trade looping punches at range and then back away. Condit lands a series of kicks to Lawler's legs. Condit's output continues to be higher but Lawler showed the danger he presents with his power. 10-9 Lawler.
Round 3. A confident Lawler is moving in more. He is throwing some big home run punches. Condit catches Lawler with a flying knee to the head but Lawler responds with a pair of wild hooks. They exchange hooks from close range before backing off with neither landing a big shot. Condit begins to press Lawler more after Lawler was pressing more earlier in the round. Condit continues to throw more while Lawler looks for the finishing blow. They clinch and Condit lands a few knees to the body. 10-9 Condit.
Round 4. Condit goes back to work with kicks to the leg. Condit's output throughout the fight has been much higher than Lawler while Lawler fights more like a Chuck Liddell, confident in his ability to take shots and looking to land the knockout blow of his own. Condit catches Lawler off balance with an inside leg kick and knocks Lawler down. Lawler is fine and gets right back up. Lawler backs Condit against the cage with a few big punches but Condit fires back and Lawler backs off. Condit attacks with a nice combination punctuated by a kick to the body. Condit hurts Lawler and goes to town with attacks from different angles. He is going to the head and body with punches, kicks and knees. It's beautiful the way his attacks flow. 10-9 Condit.
Round 5. Lawler charges in, looking to land a big punch. He wings hard hooks up against the cage. Condit fires back and then circles out. Lawler lands a right hook that connects well but Condit is fine. Condit answers back with a series of punches that punish Lawler severely and force him to cover up. Lawler hits Condit with a big left hand but Condit answers back again. Condit has kept his production high so Lawler can't get going. He hammers Lawler with a series of punches before Lawler can fire back. As Condit is moving in, Lawler lands a big left hand. He lands another moments later and moves in looking to close. He comes in with massive punches and has Condit backed up against the cage. Condit to his credit fires back. It's an electric sequence with Condit refusing to clinch and stall or take the fight down. He just fights right out of danger despite having the big edge. Lawler lands two more big right hands late. That was one of the best rounds you're ever going to see. 10-9 Lawler, 48-47 Condit.
Winner: Robbie Lawler, split decision (48-47, 47-48, 48-47).
That's a terrible decision. Condit won rounds 1, 3 and 4 by wide margins and he could have won round 2 as well if not for the flurry that Lawler caught him. FightMetric, the official stats provider of the UFC, noted Condit outlanded Lawler 28-12 in the first round, 17-10 in the second round, 22-11 in the third round and 47-6 in the fourth. The second was debatable because Lawler hurt Condit with the biggest shot of the round. The other three rounds were one-sided.
Andrei Arlovski vs. Stipe Miocic
Arlovski is a former UFC heavyweight champion who was counted out years back after a series of losses only to surge back into contention. He has won six straight fights and is 10-1 with 1 no contest in his last 12. His strength is his kickboxing. Miocic is a boxer and wrestler with a 13-2 MMA record coming off an impressive win over Mark Hunt. The winner of this fight is likely to be the top contender for the winner of the Fabricio Werdum-Cain Velasquez title fight in February.
Round 1. Miocic stuns Arlovski with a right hook. He looks to close with additional punches. Another right hand drops Arlovski and Miocic finishes with punches on the ground.
Winner: Stipe Miocic, TKO, round 1.
That was an emphatic statement by Stipe Miocic, who called for a title shot after the fight. Arlovski's chin has been questioned for most of his career but to Arlovski's credit, it had been many years since he suffered a knockout loss. Miocic's power was too much for Arlovski and he made it look easy. He also did a good job of lobbying for a title shot, which feels like a fairly easy call next time out.
Albert Tumenov vs. Lorenz Larkin
Tumenov is part of the infusion of Russian fighters into the UFC and they're having a lot of success right now. Tumenov has won four straight in the UFC and is 16-2 overall. Larkin is a versatile striker with two straight knockout wins. Both fighters have entertaining styles and this has the makings of a very entertaining fight.
Round 1. The fighters feel each other out early, mixing in both punches and kicks from different angles. Tumenov lands the first big combination towards the middle of the round, a few punches followed by a head kick. He looks to press the attack by the cage but doesn't have Larkin in significant danger. Larkin is consistently attacking the lead leg of Tumenov, hoping that will pay dividends as the fight progresses. 10-9 Tumenov.
Round 2. At the beginning of the round, both fighters look to capitalize on what worked best for them in the first. Tumenov attacks the head with punches while Larkin hammers away with kicks to the leg. It will be interesting to see how the judges weigh that, because head attacks often end up being valued more than attacks to the body and legs. Tumenov's knee is discolored but he keeps moving in with punches and is getting the better of the boxing. Tumenov is particularly effective when he backs Larkin up against the cage. Tumenov lands a big hook late and blocks a takedown. 10-9 Tumenov.
Round 3. Tumenov's left leg is just a mess but Larkin is likely running out of time to take out that leg given Tumenov is getting the better of the strikes to the body and head. Larkin lands a pair of spinning kicks to that leg. Tumenov is forced to switch up his stance. Larkin attacks that leg with the spinning heel kick again. He's really punish Tumenov's leg but Tumenov keeps going. Larkin is opening up more with his boxing since Tumenov is hindered by the leg damage. Tumenov hits Larkin with a quality 2 punch combination and another combination moments later. Larkin goes for a takedown at the end of the round but Tumenov blocks it. 10-9 Larkin, 29-28 Tumenov.
Winner: Albert Tumenov, split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28).
That was an interesting fight. Tumenov got the better of the boxing but Larkin the best of the kicking. It comes down to what a judge prioritizes. Both fighters were impressive overall but couldn't dominate because of the strengths of the other.
Diego Brandao vs. Brian Ortega
Brandao is a fighter with a lot of natural ability but he hasn't put it all together in the UFC since winning the Ultimate Fighter. He has won two straight via TKO so he has some momentum. Ortega is 9-0 (1 NC) in MMA and is coming off the biggest win of his career over Thiago Tavares.
Round 1. Brandao opens with a few kicks. He then presses in with some punches and looks for a takedown. He slams Ortega down and drops down a few punches. He then lets Ortega up. Ortega lands a knee and Brandao a hard right hand. Brandao gets another takedown and throws some vicious elbows. He then backs off and lets Ortega back up. Brandao is fighting with purpose. Ortega is forced to be careful with Brandao attacking in so many different ways. The pace slows to a great degree in the second half of the round. Brandao didn't keep up the same pace. 10-9 Brandao.
Round 2. Brandao is throwing one strike at a time with power while Ortega is mostly just focusing on defense. Brandao appears vulnerable to an Ortega surge but Ortega is not pressing the action and Brandao is still doing better despite offering so much less than he did in the first half of the first round. Ortega moves in with punches and gets countered with a left hand. Not a good second round. 10-9 Brandao.
Round 3. Both fighters come out swinging. Ortega goes for a takedown but ends up on bottom. Brandao stands up. Ortega tries to grab a guillotine but can't get it and end up back on bottom. Brandao lands a couple punches and lets Ortega back up. Ortega looks for a mounted guillotine but can't get it. He swiftly transitions into a triangle choke and gets the tap.
Winner: Brian Ortega, submission, round 3.
That wasn't a great fight for Ortega overall, but he pulled out the win in the end. For Brandao, it's another disappointing loss in a career full of them. He looked like he was on another level at the beginning of the fight. Then he slowed down to a huge degree and lost in the third. It's a career pattern for the Brazilian.
Abel Trujillo vs. Tony Sims
Trujillo is an exciting fighter to watch. He's a slugger who throws with a lot of power but tends to fade as fights progress. Sims is a knockout artist in his own right, with 10 knockouts in 12 wins.
Round 1. Trujillo lands a stiff hook early and Sims answers with one of his own. They're both cautious, knowing the power of the other. Sims is having more success in the boxing early, not throwing a lot but landing more than Trujillo. Trujillo looks for a takedown halfway through the round. Sims prevents it. Sims then ducks down and gets a takedown of his own. Trujillo grabs the neck and gets the submission with the guillotine choke.
Winner: Abel Trujillo, submission, round 1.
That was a real turn of events for Trujillo. Sims was getting the better of the standup, a rarity for Trujillo in the first round. So Trujillo pulled off a submission, something he hasn't done much of over the years. Trujillo has clearly added a few wrinkles to his game.
Drew Dober vs. Scott Holtzman
Dober is a ground oriented fighter who has managed to stick around in the UFC despite a 1-3 (1 no contest) record. He desperately needs a win here. Holtzman is an undefeated former champion of the XFC promotion who won his UFC debut back in August.
Round 1. Holtzman moves forward with strikes, closing distance and then entering into a clinch. Dober turns Holtzman around by the cage and looks for a takedown of his own. Dober secures the takedown around the halfway point of the fight. Holtzman quickly works his way back to the feet. Dober gets another takedown in quick order. Holtzman lands a few elbows from the bottom and looks to get back up. He does so, taking minimal damage in the process. They exchange on the feet as the round comes to a close. 10-9 Dober.
Round 2. Dober lands a nice right hook early and then a kick to the body. He follows by going for a takedown. Holtzman avoids that and gets a takedown of his own halfway through the round. Holtzman immediately begins throwing punches and elbows. Holtzman is bleeding near the eye. Holtzman has been much more effective on the ground than Dober was, keeping Dober down and doing damage. Dober gets back up and Holtzman throws a few elbows from the standing position. Holtzman gets a takedown with 30 seconds left and lands some punches from the top. 10-9 Holtzman.
Round 3. They move to close range and strike from there on the feet. Holtzman lands a nice spinning elbow but Dober responds by taking him to the ground. Dober has better top control in the first and lands some punches while controlling Holtzman's leg to keep him down. Dober is able to do plenty of damage from the top and Holtzman is badly bleeding. Holtzman finally gets up with a minute and a half left in the fight. They grapple by the cage late and exchange punches as the round concludes. Dober raises his hands at the end. 10-9 Dober, 29-28 Dober. Easy fight to score.
Winner: Drew Dober, unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
That was a desperately needed win for Dober to stick around the UFC and a disappointing setback for Holtzman in a fight he was a solid favorite to win.
Justine Kish vs. Nina Ansaroff
Kish is a 4-0 fighter with a kickboxing background. She hasn't competed in two years due to injury and is making her UFC debut. Ansaroff is 6-4 in MMA competition and lost her UFC debut. She hasn't competed since 2014 herself.
Round 1. Kish moves in and eats some hard, crisp counters from Ansaroff in the process. After an eye poke, Ansaroff catches Kish with some more nice strikes. Kish has an extensive kickboxing background but Ansaroff is doing much better in the standup. Ansaroff then looks for a takedown. Kish defends successfully. Kish lands some of her best offense of the fight with a spinning elbow, a few hard hooks and a knee to the body. They trade looping punches and are both landing well. This has been a heck of a first round. Kish uses a trip takedown but then lets Ansaroff up. Competitive, close round. 10-9 Ansaroff.
Round 2. Like in the first, Kish charges in and gets countered effectively in the process. Ansaroff has been very effective when Kish comes in carelessly. Ansaroff lands a head kick that appears to have Kish in a little bit of trouble. If Kish was disoriented, she regained her faculties quickly. With Ansaroff's success in the striking, she begins to move forward more in contrast to early when Kish was the one advancing. Kish gets a takedown and takes half guard position. The round concludes with Kish on top. 10-9 Ansaroff.
Round 3. Kish goes for a takedown. She doesn't get it but lands a couple knees to the body in the process. Ansaroff then gets a takedown of her own and is in the open guard of Kish. Ansaroff lands punches from top position and keeps Kish from getting up for a while. Halfway through the round, Kish finally gets up. With a minute and a half left, Kish gets a takedown and she quickly gets into mount position. Knowing she needs to score, she opens up with hard punches and elbows and then takes Ansaroff's back when Ansaroff rolls. Kish doesn't control Ansaroff's body well enough and Ansaroff slips out into top position. She lands a few punches and the round ends. 10-9 Kish, 29-28 Ansaroff.
Winner: Justine Kish, unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27).
Those are bad scorecards from the judges. Kish moved forward more throughout the fight, but it was Ansaroff landing the better shots and doing more damage. Still, it was a quality contest where both fighters fought well.
Kyle Noke vs. Alex Morono
Noke is a fairly well known veteran of the sport, an Australian fighter who has fought on national TV in the US since 2007. He has won two straight and looked great in a first round TKO last time out. Morono rides a five fight winning streak into his UFC debut.
Round 1. Noke is the aggressor early, pressing the action and attacking at angles. Morono stays in the pocket and looks to counter. They're both throwing with bad intentions but not all that much is connecting. They're both also throwing a lot of low kicks, fighting with a similar style. Morono lands a right hand and then moves in wildly with power punches but isn't able to land anything of note. Close round. 10-9 Noke.
Round 2. Morono lands a spinning back kick to the body. He follows with a kick to the body. Noke is bleeding from the nose pretty badly. Morono is throwing a lot more relative to Noke than in the first round. He's walking Noke down and looking for a big shot. Morono looks to take the back on the feet but ends up on the bottom on the ground. Noke smoothly transitions into full mount but Morono then transitions into attacking Noke's leg. Morono gives that up and Noke has top position again. Noke continues to work as the round comes to an end. Noke had the ground control at the end but Morono was much more effective in the striking for the first three and a half minutes of the round. 10-9 Morono.
Round 3. Noke attacks the body with some kicks. Morono isn't as active as he was in the second, and the pace is benefitting Noke. Noke lands a spinning back elbow to the head. Morono has really slowed down, just throwing the sporadic power punch to the head. Noke gets a takedown in the final minute. Morono goes for an armbar and has Noke in big trouble by the cage. Noke somehow manages to escape and lands some punches late. Noke just barely hangs on. 10-9 Noke, 29-28 Noke.
Winner: Alex Morono, split decision (29-28, 27-30, 29-28).
Morono turned in a solid performance in his UFC debut, taking the fight on just a week and a half notice. Noke is a tough opponent and Morono fought well to secure the close judges' decision.
Michael McDonald vs. Masanori Kanehara
McDonald was one of the most promising fighters in the bantamweight division before injuries kept him out of action for over two years. He's fighting for the first time since 2013, looking to work his way back into the title picture. He's still just 24 years old and is 16-3 with 14 finishes. Kanehara has been competing in MMA since 2003 and has fought for many of the top Japanese organizations. He is 1-1 thus far in the UFC.
Round 1. McDonald lands a hard right hand. Kanehara goes for a takedown but McDonald grabs a guillotine choke. Kanehara works his way out of danger and is in top position on the ground. Kanehara works his way into full mount position and lands some punches from there. Kanehara has to focus a lot of his energy on controlling McDonald rather than doing damage or going for a submission. 10-9 Kanehara.
Round 2. Kanehara gets another takedown. He looks for an arm triangle choke but McDonald slips out, takes Kanehara's back and gets a rear naked choke for the submission. That was an unbelievable finishing sequence.
Winner: Michael McDonald, submission, round 2.
McDonald was really struggling there and it looked like Kanehara was on the verge of victory before that remarkable turn at the end. It's extremely rare to see a fighter go from being in danger of getting submitted to winning via submission that quickly. McDonald will need to perform better overall next time out but he picked up the win over a quality opponent.
In preliminary action, Sheldon Westcott made quick work of Edgar Garcia with a first round TKO win. Westcott took Garcia down and overwhelmed him with strikes on the ground. Additionally, Michinori Tanaka picked up a controversial split decision victory (29-28, 28-29, 29-28) over Joe Soto in an exciting fight highlighted by some excellent ground work.