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UFC 195: Fought the Lawler

UFC 195: Fought the Lawler
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UFC 195 MMA DFS Picks: Fought the Lawler

CARLOS CONDIT! ROBBIE LAWLER! MUST SEE VIOLENCE!!!! What a gorgeous PPV card UFC 195 has turned out! I mean, a welterweight championship fight between 2 of the most vicious, violent killers in the division’s history? And the rise of Andrei Arlovski? Freakin’ Joe Duffy aka the last person to beat Conor McGregor????? I can’t contain my excitement! Though this won’t be a full fledged research article as in past, I’ll still put together necessary information you heathens need to know about each individual match-ups, just mostly condensed and ready to slurp up in seconds! Oh yeah, UFC 195 will be the return of Michael “Mayday” McDonald after a 2 year+ hiatus due to various injuries! Not even fat Kelvin Gastelum’s withdrawal could ruin this card.

Edgar Garcia (+135) vs Sheldon Westcott (-155)

Edgar Garcia is mostly a stand-up guy who looks to land the fight ending counter during exchanges, and will slowly stalk his prey in order to do it. He’s decent all round but has a big weakness in his ground defense and grappling in general, getting guillotined against Hector Urbina in his last fight. Sheldon Westcott had all the potential to be a nice prospect coming out of TUF Nations, but a thrashing against Elias Theodorou and subsequent confusing loss to Pawel Pawlak, who I thought Westcott would be able to dominate with his kamikaze style wrestling. Westcott has decent stand-up that’s more about being aggressive than technique, and mostly used to drive opponents into the fence or create level change opportunities. He wants the fight to go to the ground and utilize his unique grappling style to try and force his way into a submission win. Against Pawlak, his cardio was a big issue and his lack of any real take-downs were worrisome as well, despite having plenty of chances to get the fight to the ground and do something. Garcia is powerful enough to make Westcott pay with any counter-strikes, but I’m still gonna believe in Westcott and his aggressive wrestling/grappling style until further notice. I’m already bored with both of these guys.

Westcott via 2nd round RNC

Joe Soto (+100) vs Michinori Tanaka (-120)

2 knockout losses has put Joe Soto’s prospects at bantanweight in question, as issues with his chin and lack of striking options have been big problems for Soto. He gets an easier match-up compared to TJ Dillashaw and Anthony Birchak, as Michinori Tanaka doesn’t quite possess the same kills as the aforementioned fighters. Tanaka recently lost for the 1st time in his professional career, dropping a split decision against Kyung Ho Kang. Soto is a compact striker, using powerful but basic punch combinations and stays within his range during exchanges. He knows he’s not a world class striker, and will take his time to assess the situation on whether or not he can get a take-down or keep it standing. He’s got some really good jiu-jitsu, making good ground transitions and putting himself in position for the fight ending submission. His chin, alongside his lack of real combinations, have been issues against quicker, more effective strikers who can see through Soto’s gameplan and pierce his chin. Tanaka isn’t quite there with his striking, and much like Soto, Tanaka looks to try and get the fight to the ground for quick transitions into submissions or top control. It’ll probably be a battle on the ground between two quick and spry grapplers, and that usually means a decision with little to no points. Soto’s got too much experience to let Tanaka take control on the ground or get caught during striking exchanges. Why am I falling asleep?

Soto via unanimous decision

Dustin Poirier (+165) vs Joseph Duffy (-190)

Ok, I woke up. What a fantastic matchmaking between two young studs (they were supposed to fight a few months ago anyways, but here we are!) as Dustin Poirier has looked like a true contender moving up from featherweight to lightweight, and Joe Duffy has impressed thus far and is the last man to defeat new FW champ Conor McGregor. Poirier’s a southpaw with quicker and more diverse striking, but still has the power to put away anybody. What separates him from most is his very good grappling skills and versatility on the feet as he can mix up his attacks and still be a threat on the ground. Joe Duffy is more of a technically sound boxer with way more at his arsenal than a typical boxer would have, and has great top control submission grappling. Duffy’s biggest weakness is his ground defense especially off his back, and Poirier’s weakness is his chin and sometimes suspect cardio (hard weight cut during FW years could be attributed). I’m going with the Diamond just because I’m a big fan of his skills and he’s faced better competition than Duffy. Still a coin flip to me even if the odds don’t show that.

Poirier via 2nd round armbar

Drew Dober (+135) vs Scott Holtzman (-155)

Scott Holtzman is a late replacement for Eric Koch, who seems to be perpetually injured at this point in his career, against Drew Dober, who infamously received a submission loss on a sub that he was clearly out of and didn’t tap to (was eventually overturned, but wow). Holtzman is a little bit of a rising prospect, despite being 30 years old and having only just started MMA a few years back, as his fighting style is both exciting and aggressive. He’s more of a blitzer on the feet, looking to put the pressure on and take advantage of any mistakes or miscues. Holtzman is a pretty solid striker with some very good power and quickness in his hands and feet, and can mix in some sweeps and trips from clinch. He does struggle against smart wrestlers and basically anybody who can withstand pressure and can circle away from his flurries. Is that Drew Dober? No. Dober is a little light for his weight class and doesn’t really excel at any one thing. He’s just generally ok all around with a quick jab and follow-up combinations and average take-downs. Dober is most susceptible to pressure and has lost in the past to aggressive fighters, which makes me think Holtzman has a big advantage going into the fight. “Hot Sauce” should be able to dictate the fight and dominate on the feet, maybe getting in a finish late.

Holtzman via 2nd round TKO

Justine Kish (-265) vs Nina Ansaroff (+225)

Justine Kish will be making her UFC debut against Nina Ansaroff, looking to build on her undefeated 4-0 record, including a win over current UFC fighter Randa Markos. Kish likes to push the pace and keep coming forward to either land hard kicks or land some quick combos up front and get the fight to the fence/into the clinch. From there, it’s dirty boxing or controlling her opponents from up the cage and getting into clinch throws. She’s a little average from top, nothing special there. What will help Kish against Ansaroff will be Ansaroff’s struggles against pressure and most importantly, her clinch defense. Ansaroff is solid in controlling her space with her very nice kicking game and good stand-up whenever she fights someone who is willing to stay at range. Against pressure-based fighting styles, Ansaroff’s performance dips dramatically and she usually ends up on the ground, getting her face bashed in or at the very least simply and utterly controlled. That’s where I see the fight going if Ansaroff can’t handle Kish’s clinch pressure and fence fighting. Probably a decision and maybe not a lot of sig strikes depending on Kish (could just beat up Ansaroff from clinch for a ton of strikes).

Kish via unanimous decision

Alex Morono (+260) vs Kyle Noke (-320)

Alex Morono is filling in for the injured Kelvin Gastelum on about a week’s notice against Kyle Noke, formerly the Crocodile Hunter’s bodyguard. This is an interesting fight because both men are pretty similar in their skill-set, with Noke being the bigger and of course the more veteran savvy fighter of the two. Both guys have good kicking games and decent straight combinations, but have bad tendencies in keeping their chins high and not having head movement in comparison to where their strikes land. Both guys struggle against any good wrestler and tend to be on the ground more than they should. One big difference between the two though, Morono has a much more active guard and is an actual threat from bottom than Noke, willing to sacrifice position in exchange for a chance at a submission. Noke is more experienced and is less prone to mistakes standing as compared to Morono, and can go for the take-down if necessary. On a week’s notice and clearly having a very shoddy take-down defense, you gotta think Noke takes advantage of that and grinds the win out if he starts getting frustrated standing against the younger and quicker Morono. That guard of his though….Morono may be a dog play if you wanna risk it.

Noke via unanimous decision

Masanori Kanehara (+450) vs Michael McDonald (-600)

Michael McDonald last stepped in the octagon back in December of 2013, losing via guillotine choke against Urijah Faber in his prime, and since then has suffered setbacks due to his hand injuries and other various things. He’s ready to make his return against a very beatable opponent in Masenori Kanehara, last seen winning a very boring fight against Rani Yahya. Kanehara’s a long time veteran in the MMA world, having fought in many different promotions and has had his share of great victories and devastating losses. However, one thing still rings true when it comes to Kanehara over the years as a fighter. He’s not good. He has a very, very wonky chin that can be torn into pieces by any decent striker with brains. Before the injuries, McDonald was a skilled kickboxer with a very good striking arsenal and the power to go along with it, which isn’t typical for most bantamweights. He’s also got very tough take-down defense, which is a huge strength against Kanehara. I don’t care about the ring rust, I know what my eyes tell me when I watch Kanehara and McDonald. This should be a very easy fight for McDonald to get a quick win and shout to the MMA world that MAYDAY is back!

McDonald via 1st round KO

Abel Trujillo (+115) vs Tony Sims (-135)

Whoa, a fight that’s likely to stay standing for Abel Trujillo? Say it ain’t so! Trujillo has been plagued by the UFC’s matchmaking, as he’s had to face opponents with good/strong wrestling skills who can take advantage of Trujillo’s lack of take-down defense and awful ground defense. Tony Sims does have some wrestling skills, but is mostly a very good, crisp striker, so ideally speaking, the fight between Abel and Tony should have a violent ending. Abel Trujillo is a power puncher with devastating counters, and not much else. He’s got some good top control grappling, able to put himself in positions for a submission, but his bread and butter lies in his hands. Sure, he can be clunky and sloppy at times, but damn it if he doesn’t put on a show with his barnyard brawls. Just rewatch Trujillo vs Jamie Varner, a classic comeback victory for the history books. Biggest weakness has clearly been his take-down defense and just overall on the ground off his back, where he resembles a beached whale. It’s something to keep in mind against Sims.

Tony Sims is a southpaw boxer with some really nice technical combinations and a great uppercut, combined with well-timed kicks and hardy take-down defense. He’s a nice combination of power and speed, utilizing footwork very well to step in and out of striking range as he lands his missile of a left hand. He’s not much of a wrestler in the sense that he can take over a fight just with his offensive take-downs, but he’s competent enough to hit the level change whenever applicable. One thing I do notice during Sims’ fights is that his guard is really good. He’s surprisingly adept from bottom with aggressive submission attempts and is willing to actually land strikes from disadvantageous positions. That’s something to keep in mind for his future fights, as this likely will stay standing.

So really, it comes down to the countering skills of Trujillo versus Sims’s more concerted efforts as he bides his time for that one punch KO window while still keeping himself busy with uppercuts and low kicks. I can see why Sims is the slight favorite as he’s more of a complete fighter and has much more technical striking compared to Abel, but man, that fight against Varner? That scares me. Trujillo is like a scared animal being cornered with his back to the wall. And we all know what happens in that situation. Still, I’m sticking wit Sims by some form of knockout.

Sims via 3rd round KO

Brian Ortega (-230) vs Diego Brandao (+190)

Ah, a Diego Brandao fight. Gotta love those. I’m going to keep this as short as possible. Brian Ortega is insane on the ground with his grappling skills, and has an incredible triangle choke that he’s trained very hard to perfect the submission, including new and creative ways to bait his opponents into the submission. His stand-up is so so, but enough to be a viable option while his take-down offense is sturdy enough to complement his fantastic jiu-jitsu. Striking defense? Not there. Technical striking? Not there. Heart and willpower? Definitely has it in spades and was a big reason why his fight against Thiago Tavares was arguably a top 5 fight of 2015. Now, let’s look at Brandao.

Diego Brandao is/was/will be/IDK an enigma and probably always will be regardless of his improvements/devolving/evolution/descaling/just making up words now and from past fights, as Brandao is widely known for his wild banshee, Rambo style of fighting that essentially boils down to whether or not he kills his opponents within 3 minutes. Here’s a checklist for Brandao within the 1st round of his fights.

Is he walking towards you?
Yes – attack him with everything you’ve got.
No – attack him with everything you’ve got anyways.

Is he on the ground whether by being rocked or take-down or anything?
Yes – attack him with everything you’ve got.
No – Screw it, attack him with everything you’ve got.

Is he still alive after two minutes?
Yes – Crap, I only have a minute left before I completely gas out, attack with everything you’ve got.

Is the 1st round over?
Yes – Thank Christ, I’m tired as all hell and I need 10 months off.
No – Well, I lost. Back to the drawing board.

Diego Brandao is a baaaaaad man for the 1st few minutes, as he has immense power and an unpredictable striking style to go with very good jiu-jitsu from anywhere. His biggest issue, and continues to be, is his gas tank which always seems to be at half empty before the fight even starts. Ortega had an incredible fight against Tavares and did win in a thriller by TKO, but people seem to forget that he was actually rocked and dropped by Tavares, and if it wasn’t for Ortega’s incredible defense from guard, Tavares likely would have ended it on the ground with his GnP. Obviously, if Brandao doesn’t end Ortega within the first few minutes, Ortega should be able to decapitate Brandao on the ground with a submission or two. I still believe in Brandao and his “screw all of you I’m going out with a blast” attitude. Brandao by KO! UPSET CITY! Cuz ya know….Ortega’s nickname is “T-City”. Yeah. I also say this with a grain of salt, since Brandao could miss weight by 50 pounds for all we know.

Brandao via 1st round KO

Albert Tumenov (-260) vs Lorenz Larkin (+220)

VIOLENCE. SHEER VIOLENCE!!!!!! Tumenov hits hard. Like really, really hard. He also kicks hard. Like, super duper hard. He’s a knockout machine with all of the crazy Russian blood that almost every Russian guy has, not caring about getting hit in the face or their general well being. Lorenz Larkin hits hard too, but is more diverse in his attacks and much quicker than Tumenov. He’s still got the power to put away anybody, and looks like a real contender at welterweight than he ever did at middleweight, a class much too big for Larkin. Someone’s gonna get knocked the AFLAC out, and it’s probably Larkin. Larkin will have to use every tool in his belt and continuously circle away from Tumenov and not get caught sleeping (literally) or Tumenov will make him pay with a vicious right hand or his specialty, the Equalizer. That’s his headkick. Yeah, I came up with that on the spot. Just pick one of them and be done with it. I’m going with “Einstein”.

Tumenov via 1st round headkick KO

Andrei Arlovski (+190) vs Stipe Miocic (-230)

Man, it’s awesome to see Leonidas make a big comeback in his return to the UFC after just about everyone had written him off. But you know kings don’t wither away that easily. Arlovski is currently riding a 6 fight winning streak, including 4 in the UFC, and his last loss was a tough decision loss against Anthony “Rumble” Johnson. It’s safe to say Arlovski has made huge strides in returning back to prime Arlovski, a man feared by other heavyweights due to his quickness and countering ability. Unfortunately for him, his run seems likely to end at Stipe Miocic’s hands. We last saw Miocic give an absolute thrashing to Mark Hunt, to the point where the damn ref just let the poor man get his face punched in on the ground repeatedly when it was clearly over. Ugh. Miocic has been rising up the HW ranks with his nice overall fight game, as he has very good boxing skills, quick feet, and a great wrestling background to hold down anybody in his way. His last loss was an absolute war of a 5 round bloodfest against Junior Dos Santos, to which I say may have severely cut down JDS’s chin health, as JDS just hasn’t looked the same since. Here’s the quick rundown on both of these big men.

Andrei Arlovski is still the same Arlovski from past fights, with  couple differences. He doesn’t throw the famed headkicks as much anymore, and his striking defense has improved tremendously (which helps his chin health, a major weakness of his). He’s still a countering savant, using his quickness and reaction time to murderize his opponents. That’s right, MURDERIZE. He’s still got that devastating right hand and strong leg kick combos while staying in clear countering range and not rushing in recklessly. Arlovski still has good take-down defense and a strong guard that’s always been an aid for him over the years. He’s still got a really bad chin, but improved striking defense and overall movement has really helped hide that big weakness. I mean, he did almost lose against Travis Browne despite throttling him into oblivion.

Stipe Miocic utilizes quick jab combinations and body shots to set up blistering right hands and hard uppercuts as he tenderizes his opponents’ faces (and body). He’s one of the few men in the division that actually moves around a decent amount, instead of standing there and plodding away with random bombs. Miocic’s got a nice take-down game, with strong double leg take-downs and quick but effective trip take-downs from the fence. He’s a brutalizer from top control, as he rains down fists unmercifully and without disdain. He’s just a brute if he ever gets a chance to land some ground and pound. His biggest weakness seems to be his lack of striking defense against pressure and the occasional moments of leaving himself open during combinations. For all of his attempts at being ‘elusive’ with his footwork and at range boxing, he still has his bad moments on defense. Having a zombie chin helps matters though, but even Stefan Struve was able to pierce through during one of Miocic’s bad moments.

Arlovski’s chin versus Miocic’s quick but powerful boxing. Arlovski’s take-down defense and guard versus Miocic’s double leg take-down and brutal ground and pound. Speed vs speed! Everything in this fight points in the direction of Miocic, as he can win the fight either standing or on the ground and has the much better chin. Arlovski’s on a hot streak though, and I was absolutely certain that Travis Browne was gonna KO Arlovski into retirement, but what do I know? Time to catch some striped bass.

Miocic via 1st round TKO

Carlos Condit (-115) vs Robbie Lawler (-105)

Wheeze. You’re telling me Condit finally gets a chance to be the welterweight champion against someone who won’t take him down and hold him all fight? YES PLEASE. Condit has long been known as one of the most devastating strikers in the welterweight division, and if it wasn’t for an unfortunate ACL tear during his fight against Tyron Woodley, Condit may very well have been the champion by now. He faces off against the current champ and the likely best comeback story in the history of MMA in Robbie Lawler, who many people (including myself) had left for dead after his StrikeForce days. Lawler’s made tremendous strides in both his attitude and overall fighting game, truly accepting his persona of being “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler. It’s a true striking battle between two different fight styles that still elict fear and nervousness from every single fighter they face, with very high finishing rates. It’s gonna be awesome. No, I mean it’ll be…..GLORIOUS!

Carlos Condit probably has the best and most diverse striking arsenal in the division, maybe behind rising youngster Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson, as Condit can quite literally beat your ass in 1000 different ways. Jab/straight? Fantastic. Lead upper into headkick? Too easy. 5 punch combination with a kick finisher? Come on man, is this Rookie mode on Madden? Alongside Condit’s very, very deadly striking is his impressive clinch work. The guy is a menace if he gets his way up the fence, throttling his opponents with vicious elbows and destroying their livers with push kicks and knees. Condit also has a fantastic guard, utilizing rubber guard to make it difficult on his opponents to get much traction from top control, and is smart/disciplined enough to know when to hit a reverse or try a submission attempt on a mistake/bad transition. Condit truly is a championship caliber fighter who just couldn’t get past the final level boss named Georges St. Pierre. Why? Terrible (maybe not terrible, but very lenient with his take-down defensive skills) against take-downs and wrestling in general, getting controlled and ultimately getting ground and pounded into losing rounds. Same thing happened against Johny Hendricks, just couldn’t stifle the take-downs and keep it standing despite his great guard and ground defense skills. Lawler is not GSP nor is he Hendricks in terms of wrestling and take-down offense, which just makes me giggle for joy since I know it’s going to be such a violent affair between two lovers of violence. I’ve been watching too many episodes of “Making a Murderer”.

Robbie Lawler has completely transformed himself from a power striker with middling striking defense and a tendency to get panic take-downs whenever he starts losing his grip throughout his fights, to an absolute killer on the feet with subtle footwork and leans that favor his southpaw striking style and gives Lawler a plethora of options on how/when to attack during exchanges. I won’t get into the actual specifics of that, but it’s pretty badass in my opinion. Lawler will pick and choose his moments on being the great counter-striker that he is, or go into attack mode with his quick but effective jab combinations. The biggest improvement that Lawler’s made over the years has been his head movement, erasing his reputation of being extremely hittable and sometimes predictable. What Lawler needs to do to prevent Condit from becoming the champion is to slow down Condit’s combo heavy striking and not let Condit get into a rhythm. The best way to do that for Lawler is to force Condit into the clinch and be the stronger man, keeping Condit’s great at range striking out of play. He’s also gotta get Condit to start guessing during striking exchanges, whether to expect the counter-left or get smashed by the right hook/uppercut. Lawler has to have the perfect gameplan as to not get sucked into what Condit wants, a war on the feet. Lawler’s not going to win that type of battle against the longer, quicker, and more effective striking Condit.

I really like both of these fighters. They are the epitome of what all MMA fans want in every fight. Two guys who are willing brawlers and have high finishing rates, whether by KO or submission, and almost never have boring fights. Both men have faced elite competition and fared well, and both guys have the strengths to blast either person’s weaknesses into space. I have a very hard time not picking Condit in this match-up, just because I don’t think Lawler will try to impede Condit’s rhythm on the feet and frustrate him enough to start adding up the counter-strikes that is Lawler’s bread and butter. Lawler also doesn’t have the kind of wrestling that can stifle Condit long enough to win a 5 round fight. One thing Lawler does have in his pocket that Condit doesn’t have, and that’s pure power. Sure, Condit has power and has knocked out people before, but that’s mostly due to softening them up with relentless combinations and the occasional headkick rattler. Lawler’s power is on a whole nother level compared to Condit’s, and it’s truly a game changer if he lands a counter-left that just completely rocks Condit. You can’t go wrong in picking either guy, as even if in a 5 round decision, both men are likely to hit the 100+ sig strike threshold. CONDIT BABY! YOU DID IT!!!!! YOU’RE THE CHAAAAAAAMP!!!

Condit via unanimous decision

Until next time! Something, something, something funny and witty here. BYE.