UFC 195 Fallout: A day of bad decisions and career resurrection
The first Pay Per View of 2016 was always going to set the tone for the rest of the year, and UFC produced what is already being considered the best fight of 2016.
Robbie Lawler and Carlos Condit were involved in a brutal, yet clinical fight, as both the fighters worked out their opponent’s strengths and weaknesses.
Going into the event, all eyes were on three fighters: Andrei Arlovski, who was going through a resurgence of sorts, as the former UFC heavyweight champion was once again mounting a comeback for the ages for the UFC heavyweight title, nearly a decade after he fought for the strap.
The other two fighters were the main eventers, as the fans wanted to see if Robbie Lawler had what it takes to fend off one of the best strikers, and one of the most versatile fighters in the division, Carlos Condit.
The fight that may have shaped Dustin Poirier’s career
Dustin is mostly remembered for his outstanding fight against Chan Sung Jung back in 2012, which was named the Fight of the Year by several publications. He is also remembered for his loss against Conor McGregor, which arguably set the wheels in motion for Conor McGregor’s meteoric rise to fame.
However, ever since Dustin moved back to lightweight, he has been a force to be reckoned with. Dustin has been more lethal at lightweight, and he had the opportunity to prove himself, going up against the gritty Irishman, Joe Duffy.
Joe was always going to be an awkward challenge, with his unorthodox stance, but Dustin quickly zeroed in on Joe’s weakness and started taking him to the ground.
Duffy is no pushover by any means; Joe is also the last fighter to have defeated fellow Irishman and the current UFC featherweight kingpin, Conor McGregor. Joe did some damage early on with his combinations, as Duffy and Poirier exchanged while standing up.
Dustin, who busted his nose in the opening round, started bleeding everywhere but managed to work on Duffy, who couldn’t stop his opponent from taking him to the ground against the cage.
In the end, Poirier picked up a relatively easy victory via unanimous decision and has asked Dana White to give him a top 10 ranked fighter for his next fight.
Lesson learnt: Never leave it to the judges
When you ask the fighters what is the one advice they get from their respective corners during the fight, it would be to try and finish the fight. That is because once you go the distance, it is no longer in your hands to ensure that the result justified the means.
The same thing unfolded on the prelims card on Fight Pass and Fox Sports 1, as there were a few questionable results.
Firstly, on the prelims card of Fight Pass, Joe Soto went head to head with Michinori Tanaka, as the bantamweights put on an exciting fight. While Tanaka went for counter strikes and takedowns, trying to shut down Soto’s offense, Soto showed just why he is one of the best fighters in the world fighting off his back.
Soto almost had Tanaka trapped in various submissions, but Tanaka somehow managed to hang on, as Soto upped the pace in the final round.
With Tanaka gassed out, Soto almost got the guillotine choke synched in, in the dying seconds of the final round. The fighters eventually went the distance, as it appeared Soto had done enough to get the nod from the judges.
However, Tanaka picked up the split decision, with most of the work done in the first two rounds.
However, the women’s strawweight bout brought back the dreaded unpredictability of the judges’ scorecards, as it appeared that Nina Ansaroff had done enough to edge past the returning Justine Kish.
However, the judges saw it otherwise, giving Kish the victory via unanimous decision. However, a closer look at the metrics of the fight suggest otherwise.
Kish started aggressively, while Ansaroff took advantage of Kish’s mistakes, sliding into pockets and tagging her with heavy punches. Kish managed to take Nina to the ground with a takedown in the second round, but hardly did anything to get the upper hand.
The same story continued in the third round, as Nina looked to have cruised to a comfortable victory. According to Fight Metric, Nina connected with 107 out of 194 strikes, while Kish connected with 91 out of 155 attempted strikes.
Most of the times, that doesn’t tell a complete story; significant strikes paint a more vivid picture, and Nina outclassed Kish in that department as well. Nina landed 92 out of the attempted 174 significant strikes, while Kish landed 72 out of 135.
Kish edged Nina out with 3 takedowns to 1, however failed to do anything significant. A similar instance occurred in the fight between Morono and the veteran, Kyle Noke. After the judges gave the decision in Morono’s favor, even he was taken aback, looking surprised at the decision.
However, perhaps the most significant of the decisions happened late in the evening, as Lawler and Condit tried to knock each other’s heads off as promised. With Condit taking rounds 1 and 4 and Lawler taking rounds 2 and 5, the decisive round turned out to be the third.
As expected, Condit used his movement and range advantage, trying to connect with jabs and combinations outside the range, while Lawler tried to get into the pocket and trade punches.
According to Fight Metric, in the third round, Condit landed 22 significant strikes out of 78 attempted, while Lawler managed to land just 11 out of 26.
While people talk about the explosion of Lawler and the intent of his strikes, neither man had any decisive edge in the third round. There were hardly any takedowns throughout the fight, and both the fighters traded on their feet.
Most of the pundits scored the round for Condit, but as it turned out – two of the three judges scored it for Lawler – which proved to be decisive.
UFC 195 once again saw the ghost of bad decisions come back to haunt the fighters, and while the title fight might divide the fans and pundits alike, the women’s strawweight fight, along with a couple of other fights on the prelims card once again highlighted the inconsistency of the judges, and once again proved just why the fighters need to finish the fight rather than try going the distance.