Neither man blinked, and neither man cracked under the enormous pressure of the moment.
Robbie Lawler kept the Ultimate Fighting Championship welterweight title on his mantle with a contentious split decision over Carlos Condit in the UFC 195 main event on Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Judges Derek Cleary and Chris Lee saw it 48-47 for Lawler, while judge Tony Weeks scored it 48-47 for Condit. Some called it a robbery. Many others viewed it as an early contender for “Fight of the Year.”
FightMetric data favors Condit. He outpaced Lawler in total strikes, 177-93, and significant strikes, 176-92, and outlanded him in all five rounds. However, as seasoned MMA observers know, not all strikes are created equal. Lawler dropped the “Natural Born Killer” with a right hand in the second round, blasted him with a forearm shiver in the third and had him reeling with a wild assortment of punches, elbows, knees and kicks in the fifth. Force oftentimes trumps volume in the hurt business, and Lawler connected with more of the impactful blows.
Still, Condit’s effort cannot be discounted. He threw a whopping 497 total strikes -- nearly 20 per minute -- in the five-round fight and was clearly the busier man throughout. Condit was at his best in round four, where he staggered the champion with a left hook-overhand right combination and outlanded Lawler by a 47-6 margin. However, he came up short where it counted most.
In wake of UFC 195 “Lawler vs. Condit,” here are five matchups that ought to be considered:
Related » UFC 195: By the Numbers
Robbie Lawler vs. Carlos Condit: While Condit hinted at retirement at the post-fight press conference, one has to believe he would find his way back to the cage for an immediate rematch, perhaps as part of the UFC 200 extravaganza in July. Such a move would leave No. 1 contender Tyron Woodley out in the cold, but few in their right mind would be opposed to seeing rounds six through 10 between Lawler and Condit. No matter what direction the matchmaking takes, the post-Georges St. Pierre welterweight division will be in good hands for quite some time. Remember, Johny Hendricks meets Stephen Thompson at UFC 196 in a matter of weeks.
Stipe Miocic vs. Fabricio Werdum-Cain Velasquez winner: Miocic set out to make a statement and needed less than a minute to do so. The surging Strong Style Fight Team contender blasted through Andrei Arlovski with punches, bringing an end to their co-main event in just 54 seconds. Miocic has won five of his past six fights, and with free agent Alistair Overeem still undecided on his future, the 33-year-old has established himself as the No. 1 contender for the heavyweight title. Werdum will defend the championship in a rematch with Velasquez atop UFC 196 on Feb. 6.
Albert Tumenov vs. Jake Ellenberger-Tarec Saffiedine winner: On a five-fight winning streak, Tumenov has only begun to cast his menacing shadow across the loaded 170-pound weight class. The 24-year-old Russian took the best Lorenz Larkin had to offer for three rounds, as he exited the stage with a split decision over the Millennia MMA rep. Tumenov’s lead leg took a beating from repeated kicks, but clean combination punching carried him to another victory. Ellenberger has a Jan. 30 date with Saffiedine at UFC on Fox 18 in New Jersey.
Dustin Poirier vs. Al Iaquinta: Poirier has resurfaced as a serious problem at 155 pounds. In his latest performance, the American Top Team export fought through a broken nose and dominated highly touted Irishman Joseph Duffy for three rounds en route to a one-sided unanimous decision on the UFC 195 undercard. Poirier has rattled off three straight wins since being cut down by Conor McGregor in September 2014 and seems poised to make a move on the lightweight division’s upper tier. Recovering from knee surgery, Serra-Longo Fight Team’s Iaquinta finds himself on a four-fight winning streak. The 28-year-old last appeared at a UFC Fight Night event on April 4, when he eked out a split verdict over Jorge Masvidal.
Brian Ortega vs. Zubaira Tukhugov: A former Resurrection Fighting Alliance champion, Ortega remained unbeaten with his third-round triangle choke submission on “The Ultimate Fighter 14” winner Diego Brandao. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt plotted Brandao’s demise for two rounds, drawing him deeper into the fight before ensnaring him in the choke. Ortega, 24, has recorded back-to-back finishes against Brandao and Thiago Tavares since serving a steroid-related suspension and having his July 2014 submission victory over Mike de la Torre overturned by the California State Athletic Commission. Tiger Muay Thai’s Tukhugov has won nine fights in a row, the latest a split decision over Phillipe Nover at UFC Fight Night 80 on Dec. 10.