UFC 195: Matches To Make

Esther Lin|MMAFighting

Robbie Lawler turned in yet another classic in his narrow win over the perpetually elite Carlos Condit at UFC 195. From the first minute the combatants doggedly battled it out, with one man dropping the other in each of the opening two stanzas. While the third round was extremely close, the fourth was taken decisively by Condit. The sheer volume of the taller man's jousting punches and long kicks looked to have him up on points going into the fifth round, but Lawler was able to turn the tide of battle when it most mattered. The almost fifteen year veteran of the sport waded forward relentlessly, slugging in the pocket with Condit and finding tremendous success. Lawler unleashed the full might of his treacherous striking attack in the final round, but despite almost having Condit out on his feet a few times, could not finish the rangy Jackson-Winkeljohn product. Most would not have been disappointed in a draw, but it was Lawler who ultimately took the controversial split decision. We now look to the future and at potential opponents for the reigning welterweight champion and all of the other main card fighters. Robbie Lawler: The unlikeliest of champions has risen to the top of arguably the UFC's deepest division and appears to be here to stay. There are several excellent fights out there for Lawler now, with Carlos Condit being one of the most intriguing. If "The Natural Born Killer" does not receive the immediate rematch, Lawler should next meet the winner of the Johny Hendricks vs. Stephen Thompson bout. Carlos Condit: While fans would no doubt be thrilled to watch Condit challenge Lawler again in his next fight, he may need at least one win against a top 170 pounder to secure that title shot. A potential showdown between Rory MacDonald and Hector Lombard has been in the works for some time; the loser of this bout would make a perfect rebound opponent for Condit. Stipe Mioicic: Miocic blitzed Andrei Arlovski early and got him out of the octagon with a quickness, ending the Belarusian's night in under 60 seconds. He is warranted a title shot at this point and should challenge the winner of the Fabricio Werdum and Cain Velasquez rematch. Andrei Arlovski: This loss brought Arlovski back down to Earth after his improbable undefeated streak; the veteran's chin is still very fallible against big punchers who are not afraid to walk him down and exchange in the pocket. A bout with Junior Dos Santos would tell us a lot about where the two men stand in the heavyweight division. Albert Tumenov: Tumenov barely squeaked by Lorenz Larkin in what was an exceptionally closely contested fight. The Russian should next get a shot against a top fifteen welterweight despite the controversial nature of his win. Tarec Saffiedine, should he defeat Jake Ellenberger at UFC on FOX 18, would be a good test for Tumenov to see if the young and talented striker belongs among the elite at 170 pounds. Lorenz Larkin: Larkin looked as good as ever in losing to Albert Tumenov by a hair. Gunnar Nelson vs. Lorenz Larkin would be an excellent fight and makes perfect sense given that they are both top twenty welterweights coming off losses. Brian Ortega: Ortega became the first man to submit Diego Brandao at UFC 195 and burst into the top fifteen at featherweight for his efforts. If the Gracie Jiu Jitsu black belt could get by the grinding challenge that Darren Elkins presents he would be able to more definitively prove that he belongs with the elite at 145 pounds. Diego Brandao: Brandao was likely up two rounds going into the third against Ortega, but his cardio issues reared their head once again and he found himself ensnared by the more dynamic submission grappler. Brandao should next take on the lanky power puncher Kevin Souza in a bout which would be sure to deliver fireworks. Abel Trujillo: Trujillo secure an unlikely submission win over Tony Sims to open up the main card. Trujillo remains a fun action fighter at lightweight so a fight with fellow finisher Yancy Medeiros makes perfect sense. Tony Sims: Sims looked good for a few minutes against Abel Trujillo but soon found himself caught in a guillotine that ended his night. Tony Sims vs. Leo Kuntz would make sense if the UFC chooses to keep those two fighters around.

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