Two of the UFC's toughest fighters put on an absolute classic tonight in Las Vegas. Welterweight champ Robbie Lawler and Carlos Condit blasted away at each other for five hard-fought rounds. Lawler held on to his belt via split decision but it truly could have gone either way.
After Lawler got the decision, he said "There were two winners tonight. Let's do it again right away."
The two veteran welterweights brought a total of more than 70 combined pro fights and 27 years of cage experience to Las Vegas, Nevada's MGM Grand Garden Arena. Their decades in the cage showed in their toughness and refusal to lose
Condit landed first, dropping Lawler briefly and following up with several hard punches to the head of the champ. Lawler looked for the counter punch to catch Condit coming in but couldn't connect with the big shot in the first round.
In the second, Lawler pressed forward for the first couple of minutes and then he caught Condit coming in with a left-right and dropped him. Condit survived and pulled guard. Lawler stood up and invited Condit to stand back up. Lawler tagged him a couple more times before the end of the round.
Round three saw Lawler pressing his advantage initially, coming forward and landing hard combinations of punches and mixing elbows and high kicks in as well. Then mid-round Lawler again began to retreat after eating a hard knee to the chin. Condit then proceeded to pepper Lawler with kicks to the body and punches. Condit ended up dramatically outlanding Lawler by the time the round ended.
Condit dropped Lawler with an inside leg kick early in the fourth. Later Lawler slipped and Condit seized the stumbling Lawler to land some knees from a Thai clinch. Condit continued to pick at Lawler with body kicks, knees and lots of punches. In the final minute, Condit staggered Lawler with a body kick and battered the hurt Lawler with a wide variety of strikes.
Lawler came into the fifth round behind and acted accordingly, pressing forward behind leg kicks and punches to the head. He landed a big overhand right but Condit came back with a series of standing elbows, punches and a spinning back fist. Condit kept pressing the action, looking for the finish. Lawler landed a couple of big shots in the last two minutes and staggered Condit. Condit was hurt badly but kept firing back and refusing to fall. The action slowed slightly in the final minute but both men were fighting for the finish to the very end. After the bell rang both hung their arms over the top of the cage in utter exhaustion.
Stipe Miocic ended the comeback hopes of former UFC heavyweight champ Andrei Arlovski with a 54-second KO. Miocic caught Arlovski with a right hook that staggered Arlovski and followed up with a series of punches that finished the Belorussian.
Albert Tumenov edged Lorenz Larkin via split decision. Larkin landed repeatedly to Tumenov's legs, forcing the Russian to radically adjust his stance and approach. Tumenov responded with multiple punch combinations to the body and head. UFC announcer Joe Rogan disagreed with the decision but Tumenov landed far more punches.
Brian Ortega submitted Diego Brandao with a triangle in the third round of their featherweight bout. The submission was a thing of beauty that came at the end of a three submission chain. First an anaconda choke, then a guillotine transition to mount then a triangle choke that finished it.
Abel Trujillo caught Tony Sims in a guillotine choke for a first round submission win in the pay-per-view opener. It was Trujillo's first UFC submission win and only the second of his career. Trujillo struggled a bit with Sims on the feet but made short work of it on the ground.
Michael McDonald spent nearly seven full minutes getting utterly dominated by Masanori Kanehara in the Fox Sports 1 prelims headliner. Then he suddenly escaped an arm triangle choke, took Kanehara's back and won with a submission of his own. McDonald hadn't fought in the Octagon since December of 2013 and his comeback win made for a sweet return to action.
Short-notice replacement Alex Morono shocked everyone by taking a split decision over Kyle Noke in his UFC debut. Morono stepped up to replace an injured Kelvin Gastelum on December 22. It was a back and forth bout and one judge had all three rounds going to Noke but two of the judges gave Morono two rounds and that was enough for the decision.
Highly touted UFC debutante Justine Kish got a rough welcome to the Octagon from Nina Ansaroff but fought through the difficulties to take a unanimous decision win. Ansaroff repeatedly caught Kish coming in in the early rounds, but Kish controlled her on the ground in the third to get the nod.
Drew Dober edged Scott Holtzman in a back-and-forth battle that saw several momentum swings but all three judges agreed that Dober took two out of three rounds. Dober survived a Holtzman surge in the second and turned his foe's face into a blood mask in the third.
Dustin Poirier took Irish Joe Duffy to school with brutal ground and pound in the second and third round of their Fight Pass prelims headliner. The lightweights fought pretty evenly on the feet in the first round, but once Poirier took Duffy down it was a very one sided fight. Poirier camped out in Duffy's guard and bombed the Irishman with elbows en route to a unanimous decision win.
Michinori Tanaka wrestled his way to a split decision win over Joe Soto in the second of three UFC Fight Pass prelims. Soto threatened repeatedly with a variety of submission attempts and many observers felt he should have gotten the judges' nod.
Ultimate Fighter veteran Sheldon Westcott picked up his first UFC win in three tries with a TKO stoppage of Edgar Garcia in the first round of the Fight Pass opener.
UFC 195 Complete Results
Heavyweight: Stipe Miocic def. Andrei Arlovski via KO (punches) at 0:54 of Round 1.
Welterweight: Albert Tumenov def. Lorenz Larkin via split decision (29-28x2, 28-29).
Featherweight: Brian Ortega def. Diego Brandao via Submission (triangle) at 1:17 of Round 3.
Lightweight: Abel Trujillo def. Tony Sims via submission (guillotine choke) at 3:18 of Round 1.
Fox Sports 1 Prelims
Bantamweight: Michael McDonald def. Masanori Kanehara by submission (rear naked choke), 2:09 of Round 2.
Welterweight: Alex Morono def. Kyle Noke via split decision (29-28x2, 27-30).
Women's Strawweight: Justine Kish def. Nina Ansaroff via unanimous decision (30-27x2, 29-28).
Lightweight: Drew Dober def. Scott Holtzman via unanimous decision (29-28x3).
UFC Fight Pass Prelims
Lightweight: Dustin Poirier def. Joe Duffy via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27x2).
Bantamweight: Michinori Tanaka def. Joe Soto via split decision (29-28x2, 28-29).
Welterweight: Sheldon Westcott def. Edgar Garcia via TKO (punches) at 3:12 of Round 1.