Francis Carmont hit the ground running in the UFC. | Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images
Francis Carmont (19-7, 3-0 UFC) vs. Tom Lawlor (8-4, 4-3 UFC)
The Matchup: With each victory, Carmont continues to distance himself from the “guy who trains with GSP” label to legitimate middleweight talent. The Tristar Gym export has beaten Chris Camozzi, Magnus Cedenblad and Karlos Vemola during his Octagon tenure and carries an eight-fight winning streak into his showdown with Lawlor.
If one becomes a title contender based on menacing physical appearance alone, then Carmont fits the bill. However, he is prone to spurts of sloppiness, and that could come back to haunt him against “The Ultimate Fighter 8” alum. Lawlor has solid hands, as he displayed in landing a straight left-right hook combination that floored Jason MacDonald in his most recent bout at UFC on Fuel TV 3. While Lawlor has a reputation as a solid wrestler, he may very well struggle to control the powerful Carmont on the mat and in tie-ups.
The Frenchman favors an approach not totally unlike his more famous training partner, as he looks to set the tone through a steady diet of takedowns and ground-and-pound. Carmont’s ability to mix punches and kicks will determine whether he is able to close the gap on Lawlor, who sets a frenetic pace and can keep his foe guessing with various punching combinations. His understanding of movement and angles should pay off against Carmont, who will be difficult to take down and can land punishing knees in the clinch.
Carmont possesses decent grappling and a good finishing instinct when it come submissions, but he could find himself in a world of trouble if he has a lapse similar to the one he had versus Cedenblad, when he briefly allowed the Swede to take his back. Lawlor is the type of fighter who could take advantage of such a situation in a scramble on the mat.
The Pick: Lawlor always comes to fight, but he will gradually find himself overpowered by Carmont, who wins via third-round submission.
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