An action packed (putting it mildly) December for the UFC has overshadowed this event a little, meaning that it has passed under the radar compared to the four crazy UFCs last month. This is unfortunate as in my opinion has potential for some awesome fights. That being said, I’m focussing my analysis and predictions on the four ‘biggest’ fights on the card, these being Duffy – Poirier, Miocic – Arlovski and of course Lawler – Condit.
Duffy – Poirier:
Although I expect a highly competitive and exciting fight, when this fight was originally booked for UFC Fight Night 76 I was a little surprised from a business perspective – the one which seems to rule the UFC matchmaking process. Usually an up and comer such as Joe Duffy will be placed against a former contender that can no longer cut it amongst the elite and is sliding down the ranks, thus the hype train keeps rolling by the fighter overcoming ‘the toughest challenge in their career’.
Admittedly, since his first round loss to Conor McGregor, Poirier would in many fan’s eyes fit this category. Once considered an exciting prospect, he now isn’t often seriously considered amongst conversations regarding the next contender for the division. I would contend this is unfair. Yes, Poirier was made to look distinctly average against McGregor, but the same could be said of Max Holloway, Chad Mendes and, of course, Jose Aldo. Furthermore, his last two performances were consecutive first round finishes and both earned ‘performance of the night’ honours. He should by all accounts be considered a genuine high potential contender who got beaten by an incredible fighter that beat a lot of elite guys. That’s why I think this fight in many ways is a little disrespectful for Poirier. If he wins, people will think Duffy was never that good, whereas if he loses, his chances of a title shot are all but over.
On the other hand, we have Joe ‘last guy to beat McGregor’ Duffy. Two very impressive performances into his UFC career and undoubtedly riding the Irish takeover wave of the UFC. Duffy is a very good fighter. A somewhat unorthodox but highly effective boxing style and slick BJJ makes him one to watch – and win or lose at UFC 195 will most likely rise through the division. Another high potential up and comer, I feel like the UFC backtracks on one of their future stars whatever the outcome of this fight.
The fight itself should be a great contest. Both have demonstrated their finishing abilities at a high level and Dustin’s BJJ is no joke either – but whether he can combat Duffy’s awesome submissions will be an intriguing going into this fight.
For the outcome of this fight I’m going to go with Duffy. Perhaps hypocritically, my reasoning is that Conor out-struck him fairly comprehensively on the feet. Although this doesn’t detract from all the skills he has demonstrated in his other fights, I feel Duffy’s boxing and BJJ will be too much for him.
Prediction: Duffy by 2nd round submission.
Lorenz Larkin – Albert Tumenov
If stand-ups if your MMA forte then this is one to watch. Lorenz Larkin has looked like a world-beater since coming back down to 170 pounds with highly dynamic and expertly timed Muy Thai striking. He looked very impressive in his last two UFC wins (both TKO’s) and don’t forget he has a strikeforce win over current UFC welaterweight champion Robbie Lawler. Tumenov has been similarly impressive in the UFC. With a 4-1 at just 24, Tumenov opens up as a heavy betting favourite. His boxing is what has impressed many commentators going into his fights, but as demonstrated in his vicious first round KO of the 6″4 Matt Dwyer, his head kicks are a force to be reckoned with also.
I think Lorenz is slightly quicker and perhaps more powerful in his lead jab but Tumenov is probably the better counter-puncher. This being the case, if you’re going to take anything away from this article, let it be that anything can happen in this fight.
Although I think the 2/1ish odds are a little under appreciative of Larkin’s dynamism, I would have to give Tumenov the edge for this fight.
Prediction: Tumenov 2nd round TKO.
Miocic – Arlovski
I really hope this fight doesn’t disappoint, but something about it tells me it’s going to be more Frank Mir than Travis Browne from Arlovski. I think the main reason for how dynamic the Browne fight was that both fighters had spent so long sparring with one another in training that there was none of the ‘finding your range’ process during the fight.
I don’t think this will be true in the Miocic fight. I think unless he works very hard to get inside Miocic’s range early on, we’re going to see a similar striking contest to the Mark Hunt fight, in which he gets incrementally outboxed and outworked.
Maybe not though. Maybe we will see Arlovski come in firing and land some good hooks early on – gaining Stipe’s attention and setting up a wild contest. Who knows? that’s the beauty of the sport.
Prediction: Miocic unanimous decision.
Lawler – Condit
I’m extremely confident this fight won’t disappoint.The fight will either dispel the lingering questions over Lawler’s legitimacy as the best at welterweight or prove that it is the most open division in the UFC, with several elite fighters all vying for the top spot with a paper thin separation between all of them.
The only danger of upsetting a war of beautiful violence is if Condit starts slow, as he is oft prone to do. Contrarily, Lawler often comes out swinging, then slows down for the middle rounds and leaves some in the tank for the final round.
This is how I see this fight going:
Very quick exchanges in the opening round. Condit trying to dance and weave around Lawler’s bombs with mixed success – landing a few hard counters but getting caught also. Lawler may drop Condit but won’t be able to finish him at this point.
Following rounds could go in any direction, but I suspect Condit will edge them in similar fashion to Robbie Lawler, landing significant strikes and growing confidence and he may well finish him. A big question mark over Robbie Lawler is if his chin has been depleted from that last war. From what I know of Lawler’s career, I suspect not.
This being the case I expect a huge resurgence after Condit’s energy is spent, culminating in a big finish. Whether Condit can weather the storm and keep landing with counters is largely down to his cardio and resilience.
The bookies have this fight 10/11 for both men. I think that’s spot on. Could absolutely go either way.
My heart says Lawler and my head says Condit.
Prediction: Lawler 5th round KO.