What to Look for at UFC 195

A year from now, when fans and media members alike are compiling their “Best of 2016” lists, the welterweight clash between Robbie Lawler and Carlos Condit may very well be on the short list for Fight of the Year.

Of course, since it has yet to happen, we have no way of knowing whether or not the main event of the first UFC pay-per-view of 2016 will be anything of note, but given their track record of extreme violence, it seems like a safe bet.

But before we take a closer look at “Ruthless” and the “Natural Born Killer”, let’s see what UFC 195 has for us earlier in the night.

Poirier vs. Duffy

Relegated to the “main event” slot of UFC Fight Pass, the lightweight clash between Dustin Poirier and Joseph Duffy has all the promise of a main card matchup, but not the audience. Several months in the making, this fight is a re-scheduling; originally slated as the main event of a UFC event in Dublin, Duffy was forced out at the last minute due to a concussion. Now, this fight stands as the first big step by Fight Pass to offer something more valuable to their customers. In the past, only fighters close to receiving their walking papers were placed on the curtain-jerk prelims. Now, with a growing subscriber base, Fight Pass is making a concerted effort to provide more value for fans; Poirier vs. Duffy is the first step in that direction. In terms of the fight itself, look for Duffy to utilize his boxing to keep Poirier at distance and get him frustrated. If the “Diamond” rushes in against Duffy, it could be a short night. Conversely, the last man to beat Conor McGregor will have to avoid Poirier’s heavy punching power and look to keep the fight standing. Should Poirier manage to take him down, he’ll be trying to latch on another of his signature D’arce chokes. While it’s a good idea to put quality fights like this on Fight Pass, it’s a shame more people won’t see these men work, as it has the potential to be one of the better matchups of the evening.

 

McDonald vs. Kanehara

Moving on to the televised prelims for UFC 195, Michael McDonald makes his first octagon appearance since December of 2013 against promotional newbie Masanori Kanehara. Unknown to most fans, Kanehara has enjoyed quite the career outside of the UFC, picking up wins over “Kid” Yamamoto and the “Korean Zombie” before eventually becoming the Sengoku Featherweight Champion. Since his step up to the big show, Kanehara has struggled to maintain his success, and is currently standing at 1-1 inside the UFC. McDonald, in his first fight since getting choked out by Urijah Faber more than two years ago, is definitely the savvier of the two. He’s only lost fights in the UFC to the very best of the division, and in his short time with the promotion has already netted four post fight bonus awards. Unless Kanehara is able to take McDonald down and keep him there, McDonald will use his speed and punching combinations to TKO Kanehara early in the fight.

 

Trujillo vs. Sims

The UFC’s first PPV offering for 2016 opens with what has the potential to be an explosive fight between Abel Trujillo and Tony Sims. Coming off of a loss due to referee ineptitude, Trujillo will look to assert himself in the lightweight division with a big win over Sims. Unless he gets drawn into a slugfest, Trujillo should be able to utilize his superior grappling and get a TKO from the ground over Sims. But with both men coming off of a loss, this is a must-win situation for either fighter.

 

Brandao vs. Ortega

Still recovering from a positive test for drostanolone last year, Brian Ortega meets Diego Brandao in a Fight of the Night candidate at 145lbs. Though undefeated, Ortega’s young career took a big hit after the positive test. In the process of picking up the first TKO win of his career earlier this year, Ortega managed to also put some of the bad press surrounding him in the rear view mirror. Diego Brandao, though previously a warm body for Conor McGregor to brutalize in Ireland, is also enjoying his fair share of success lately. Riding a two-fight finishing streak, Brandao has confidence and momentum on his side. He’ll most likely look to draw Ortega into a brawl, the style of fight that favors Brandao, and in doing so give up a takedown or leave a limb for Ortega to latch onto. If Brandao can stay collected, though, he could pick up his twelfth knockout win and hand Ortega the first loss of his career.

 

Tumenov vs. Larkin

This one is truly a treat for the hardcore fans. Despite the twelve octagon appearances between the two of them, both Lorenz Larkin and Albert Tumenov have received little to no attention from the mainstream MMA media. But with a collective 21 knockouts, there’s no reason both can’t become breakout stars in 2016. Look for Tumenov to use his strength and speed to overwhelm Larkin for an early stoppage.

 

Miocic vs. Arlovski

In the lone heavyweight fight of the night, former champ Andrei Arlovski looks to keep his unlikely resurgence story alive, while Stipe Miocic has an opportunity to further solidify his case for a title shot. If Miocic is smart, he doesn’t stand in front of Arlovski any longer than necessary, and utilizes his size and pressure to shut the “Pitbull” down. For Arlovski, it’s simple: hit and don’t get hit. Though he’s enjoyed a rare comeback late in his career, Arlovski’s chin isn’t winning him any awards, and a bomb from Miocic could end his night abruptly.

 

Lawler vs. Condit (Welterweight Title fight)

This is one of the few fights where there’s really no need for any revealing Embedded pieces or candid Helwani interviews; no one is tuning in on Saturday to hear these guys talk. But what Robert Glenn Lawler and Carlos Joseph Condit lack in conversation skills, they more than make up in sheer violent ability. With only seven decision wins between the two of them, Lawler and Condit are the epitome of a finisher; they take risks and make themselves vulnerable in pursuit of the knockout, even to a fault. It doesn’t take a crystal ball to see how this fight will play out, and yet the outcome is still unclear. We know Robbie Lawler will walk forward, eating every shot thrown at him with no regard for the damage it’s doing to his brain (or lip). Condit, definitely the more cerebral fighter, will probably look to replicate his 2012 performance over Nick Diaz, utilizing movement and speed to frustrate the champ. But the more in-cage time spent with Robbie Lawler only increases your likelihood of being concussed; Condit may look to rush at the champion and tire him out before scoring a late knockout. Either way, Lawler vs. Condit is a hell of a way to bring in the New Year. Cheers fight fans!

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