UFC 195 – Title Fight Analysis – Robbie Lawler vs Carlos Condit

After a blockbuster record breaking 2015, the UFC is trying to start the New Year with some fireworks – booking two of the most popular action fighters in the UFC to fight for the welterweight strap, on top of a pivotal heavyweight clash between Andrei Arlovski and Stipe Miocic.

Can ‘Ruthless’ Robbie Lawler defend his title against Carlos Condit, or will the ‘Natural Born Killer’ take his belt away?

Background

Both fighters have had long and storied careers, most notably Lawler who was one of the stars who made his name as the UFC emerged from the ‘Dark Ages’ between 1997 and 2001. His team at the time, Miletich Fighting Systems, became as famous for its rough training regimen as the seeming conveyor belt of championship level talent.

He stayed loyal to the team through the peaks and troughs until the fighters went their separate ways. Between MFS and his self-managed training camps he managed a respectable record (19 wins, 8 losses, 1 no contest) in some of the best promotions in the world.

This wasn’t enough for the future UFC welterweight champ – after more or less alternating wins and losses in Strikeforce he decided to make the full time move to American Top Team.

Since then he has gone 7-1, the sole blemish coming in a close fought decision loss to then title holder Johny Hendricks.

Carlos Condit debuted in September 2002, a little over a year after Lawler. His career took a little while longer to get going at the highest level, which isn’t surprising given his first opponents. Of his first 12 career opponents, a startling 5 had never fought before – the rest had a combined record of 32 wins, 17 losses, 2 draws and 1 no contest (22 of those wins coming from 2 fighters).

Condit really started to make his mark after he was signed by WEC, going undefeated in that promotion over the course of 5 fights, winning the welterweight title and defending it 3 times.

Since the ugly split decision loss to Martin Kampmann on his UFC debut, Condit has built a solid reputation as a fun action fighter – losing only to divisional ruler Georges St-Pierre and Johny Hendricks before a heavy leg kick by Tyrone Woodley seemingly ended his immediate title prospects. A win over the middling Thiago Alves later and here we are – with Woodley subsequently losing decisively to Rory MacDonald, who then lost a war against Lawler, the UFC needed a bankable alternative.

 

Career records

Both fighters have an enormous amount of experience at the highest level of the sport, and that means they have 6 common opponents between them.

Robbie Lawler Carlos Condit
Fighter
Johny Hendricks Loss (Dec) – Win (S-Dec) Loss (Dec)
Nick Diaz Loss (KO) Win (Dec)
Rory MacDonald Win (S-Dec) – Win (TKO) Win (TKO)
Jake Ellenberger Win (TKO) Win (S-Dec)
Jake Shields Loss (Sub) Loss (Dec)
Frank Trigg Win (KO) Win (Sub)

 

Comparison of the outcomes of these fights is inconclusive. Lawler has the advantage by having a split decision win over Johny Hendricks, and a TKO of Jake Ellenberger (instead of a split decision victory by Condit).

Condit does have a recent win over Nick Diaz (compared to a KO loss suffered at UFC 47 by Lawlor), but given the nearly 11 year gap it loses a certain amount of relevance.

While each fighter has accumulated a similar amount of overall fight experience, there are some key differences in their career fight outcomes.

Robbie Lawler Carlos Condit
Wins 26 30
KO/TKO 20 15
Submission 1 13
Decision 5 2
Losses 10 8
KO/TKO 1 1
Submission 5 3
Decision 4 4
N/C 1 0

 

With a TKO/KO rate of 77%, Lawler lives up to his ‘Ruthless’ moniker. He wants to knock you out, and he has proven power in his hands to make this dream a reality.

Condit’s preferred method of victory is also TKO/KO with 50%, but right behind that at 43% are submissions. It is surprising then that he hasn’t recorded a submission victory since Carlo Prater in February 2008, 12 fights ago.

Another key point about Condit’s figures – of the 6 times his fights have reached the judge’s score cards he has only won twice. What is it about his fight style that seems to lose him decisions?

 

Fight Statistics

What I do in this section is take a look at the official statistics provided by FightMetric.com to work out what each fighter does in the cage. This can paint a picture of the preferred style utilised by each fighter, represented by what they attempt and what actually pays off.

As each fight starts on the feet, so too does my analysis.

Robbie Lawler Carlos Condit
Attack Career Career
Significant Strike Accuracy 44% 41%
% Significant of Total 89% 64%
Knock Downs 15 7
% Standing Strikes 69% 70%
% Clinch Strikes 18% 10%
Strikes Landed Per Minute 3.49 3.41
Defence
Significant Strike Accuracy 62% 58%
% Significant of Total 90% 72%
Knock Downs 1 3
Strikes Absorbed Per Minute 3.39 2.18

 

Here the differences in each fighters striking style becomes apparent. With a significant strike percentage of total strikes nearly 90%, and more than double the amount of recorded knock downs, Lawler’s career knockout record starts making much more sense.

With a fantastic defensive record of 62%, somehow Lawler still manages to get hit almost as many times per minute as he hits his opponents. This, and the fact he has a relatively high proportion of clinch strikes to total, suggests that he prospers by encouraging a firefight with his opponents – one which he almost always wins. With only one career knockdown recorded against him, it would be very hard to bet against his chin.

By contrast, Condit’s varied attack is evidenced by the 64/36 split between significant and total strikes, and the fact that he coaxes similar proportions from his opponents. Even with a good defensive record of 58%, Condit gets hit much less than Lawler per minute. This suggests a varied fighter who is adept at creating distance to discourage incoming strike attempts, and then closing distance to unleash a variety of attacks.

Whichever way the stand-up plays out, both fighters have shown a willingness and ability to take the fight to the floor.

Robbie Lawler Carlos Condit
Grappling Attack Career Career
Take Downs 17 10
Take Down% 68% 56%
Submission Attempts 0 18
Guard Passes 13 41
Position Reversal 4 8
% Ground Strikes to Total 13% 20%
Grappling Defence
Take Downs 33 55
Take Down% 67% 40%
Submission Attempts 8 12
Guard Passes 16 32
Position Reversal 0 10

 

Both fighters are much more likely to be taken down than to initiate takedowns themselves. With a takedown accuracy nearing 70% in both attack and defence, Lawler has proven to be the better wrestler of the two fighters.

Once on the ground though, Condit’s offensive grappling record proves to be a step ahead of Lawler’s – being far more active in guard passes, reversals, submission attempts and ground and pound.

One thing that cannot have escaped the notice of Dan Lambert and the team at ATT is the fact that of his 4 recorded losses, Condit has been outplayed on the ground.

Carlos Condit
Grappling Attack Career Losses
Submission Attempts 18 4
Guard Passes 41 5
Position Reversal 8 3
Grappling Defence
Take Downs 55 32
Take Down% 40% 20%
Submission Attempts 12 7
Guard Passes 32 24
Position Reversal 10 3

 

While both fighter’s striking statistics are largely similar when comparing Career figures to Losses, the one thing that stands out are Condit’s ground statistics in defeat. Given that both Tyron Woodley and Johny Hendricks were decorated NCAA Division 1 wrestlers (both state champs, Hendricks All-American 4 times), and Georges St-Pierre wasn’t such a bad wrestler himself…this makes a bit of sense.

Lawler doesn’t have the wrestling pedigree of these fighters, but is the supposed wrestling advantage he enjoys over Condit going to be enough to base his game plan on?

 

Summary

The game plans of both fighters are pretty obvious – Robbie Lawler is going to try and draw Condit into a brawl, and throw in some takedowns to try his luck playing the positional game.

Carlos Condit is going to try and turn this into a technical striking match, using many and varied attacks to move in and out of range. His danger lies in his exotic moves – spinning kicks and jumping knees. Lately he has indulged in some literal striking exchanges, if he tries the game he used against Woodley it will be a quick night for Lawler.

While a vicious knockout is always a possibility when Condit takes to the cage, I believe that Lawler’s advantage in wrestling and clinch fighting will drag the fight into a brawl – which Lawler’s chin, power and in close defence will ensure victory for the champ.

Prediction – Robbie Lawler by KO, Round 2

 

References

Robbie Lawler Sherdog record

Robbie Lawler FightMetric profile

Robbie Lawler UFC Official Fighter Profile

Carlos Condit Sherdog record

Carlos Condit FightMetric profile

Carlos Condit UFC Official Fighter Profile

 

 

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Published by

James

Easing into my mid 30's, writing just crept up on me. I had to put something out there - no matter what. So here we are! I live in Canberra, Australia and work in statistical IT systems development and support and am a proud father of two

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