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Fil-Am Robbie Lawler retains UFC gold in classic

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Cover photo from UFC Europe Twitter account

What a way to start 2015!

Going into this bout, mixed martial arts pundits have penciled this bout to be an absolute slobber knocker. After the fight was over, it was an understatement as Filipino-American “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler was able to rally late to retain the UFC World Welterweight Championship against an equally aggressive “The Natural Born Killer” Carlos Condit by split decision Saturday evening (Sunday morning Philippine time) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas City, USA.

Lawler was aggressive in the early-goings of the fight in forcing the action and cornering Condit. NBK though was able to drill the champion with a counter punch that stunned Lawler. Combinations capped with leg and body kicks closed out the opening round for Condit.

The Filipino-American champion was able to recover in the second stanza as he was able to weave-out of the quick and diversified combinations by his 31-year old opponent. A huge right by Lawler dropped Condit midway but was able to recover in securing a guard from the bottom. With both men standing up, the champion’s counter-striking was on-point to gain the round.

The two warriors went into a flurry in the pivotal third round. Condit’s kicks nullified the powerful combinations of Lawler. The two fighters tried to go for takedowns late in the middle round but were not able to secure it. A roundhouse left kick by Condit was answered by a body kick by Lawler to close out the round.

Going into the championship rounds, American Top Team head coach Fabiano Silva warned Lawler that he needs this final two rounds in order to retain his coveted crown. However, both fighters became wary of each others power to open the fourth round in throwing combinations that hit nothing but air. Lawler tried to convert on a slow leg kick but was caught by Condit and resulted to a slip-up. This gave the challenger confidence in throwing combinations left and right that forced the champion to the defensive. Body kicks on a prone abdomen of the champion were quickly followed by huge overhands to end the fourth round in favor of the the Albuquerque, New Mexico-resident.

With his back against the wall, Lawler gave a performance for the ages to gain at least a shot of retaining his hardware. The “Ruthless” one connected on a huge leg kick-right overhand combination in the first 30 seconds of the deciding round that slowed Condit. Another overhand left by the Filipino-American connected but Condit was able to recover and connect on diverse combinations that included elbows and spinning back fists. With 1:43 left, a huge right by Lawler on an attacking Condit stopped the challenger from his tracks. Sensing blood, Lawler furiously battered Condit with head kicks, punches, and knees but could not even at least drop a flailing Condit. With 47 second remaining, the former WEC Welterweight Champion went for a clinch to at least gain a breather but Lawler just shoves him away. The two warriors then exchanged fists and fire to the delight of the Las Vegas crowd to close out an epic round.

The two warriors were clearly exhausted after the bout as both men went side-by-side on the corner in a classic moment.

High anticipation from both the crowd and fighters as everyone awaited the judges’ decision. The judges scores were as follows: 48-47, 47-48, and 48-47 with two of the judges seeing it in favor of the current World Champion Robbie Lawler. The statistics showed that Lawler landed 51% of his significant strikes. Even in landing just 35% of his punches, Condit was able to outstrike the champion 176 (of 495) against Lawler’s 92 (of 177).

“Carlos is a hell of a fighter. He had a great gameplan. There were two winners,” said an exhausted Lawler after the bout. “‘And still?’ But let’s do it again.”

“Carlos is really tough. Hats-off to a champion like him. He’s a hell of a fighter!,” the champion emphasized.

Lawler admitted that he knew the fight was razor-thin close and that he needed to win the last round. “It was close. You got to win that last round,” he told Joe Rogan during the live telecast.

For the challenger, he felt that he had three rounds in the bag in saying, “I felt like I had three rounds in the bag. But that’s why you don’t leave the fight to the judges.” Nonetheless, Condit had only kind words to say about his opponent in leaving only high praise for the Filipino-American. “It’s an honor to fight a warrior like Robbie Lawler. I’m blessed to be doing this as a job,” he closed.

The UFC World Welterweight Champion is now 27-10-1 in his MMA career and 8-1 since making a return at welterweight. Condit, on the other hand, falls to 30-8.

Do you agree or disagree with the decision? Who won the third round? Share your thoughts on our comments section below

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