UFC 195: Soooo … About Last Night

January 3, 2016

UFC 195 is in the books. It was a helluva way to kick off 2016 with the main event bout between Robbie Lawler and Carlos Condit exceeding expectations. It was violent as all get out.

Lawler won a close split decision to retain his UFC welterweight title and viewers called for an immediate rematch. Unfortunately, at the post-fight press conference, Condit openly contemplated retirement. Hopefully that doesn’t happen before these two men meet again.

The co-main event saw Stipe Miocic end Andrei Arlovski‘s unlikely run towards a title shot with a first-round knockout.

I’m tired of writing this intro, let’s just talk about last night …

Match of the Year! Match of the Year! Match of the Year!

The main event of UFC 195 was a classic battle between two men who left everything they had inside the cage. Sometimes people just match up incredibly well. Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar‘s first bout is what put the UFC on the map in North America. Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson pushed each other to the limits in their meeting. And last night, Robbie Lawler and Carlos Condit had themselves a good ol’ fashioned fist fight that should be talked about for a while. I know that 2016 just started, but this is already an early Fight of the Year candidate.

Now … how about a rematch?

All good things come to an end …

Andrei Arlovski’s career was dead in the water when he left the UFC for greener pa$ture$. He made a boatload of money, but also dropped four straight fights. There were questions about his chin after three knockouts in four fights and frankly, his place in the sport seemed to be the “name” fighter who would help build younger fighters.

But something changed.

Arlovski’s UFC return saw him look better than ever. Four straight wins with a title shot looming. Unfortunately, Arlovski was sent to the fourth dimension last night by Stipe Miocic in the first round. It was a heck of a run, but all good nights come to an end.

PPV worthy fights on Fight Pass?

Ever since the launch of the UFC’s digital service, Fight Pass, there have been pay-per-view-worthy fights buried on the bottom of the card. Last night was no exception.

Dustin Poirier and Joseph Duffy were originally slated to meet in Dublin at the 3Arena, but Duffy was forced to pull out after suffering a concussion in training. They met at UFC 195 and were the featured bout on the Fight Pass stream in a tilt that lived up to the expectations with both men getting battered for the three rounds. Though Poirier got his hand raised in the end, he definitely didn’t walk out of the cage uninjured.

On an additional note, the digital service has changed what we’ve thought with regards to traditional matchmaking. The undercard was once where the UFC would give prospects a chance to prove themselves worthy of a fight contract. Now? It’s where top 10 fights compete in order to justify the subscription fee.

Other Thoughts!

– At the post-fight press conference, it sounded like Carlos Condit is contemplating retirement. As a fan of his fights, I’m hoping that those thoughts were just from the disappointment he was experiencing in the moment. He and Robbie Lawler put on an absolute classic bout and I’d like to think that those two men will meet again in the future.

– The biggest loser last night was definitely Joseph Duffy. Yes, I know that Andrei Arlovski would likely have earned a title shot with a win over Stipe, but Duffy was playing for a much greater reward. As the last man to defeat Conor McGregor, a win would give him an even greater ability to face the UFC featherweight champ in Dublin. Now? Well, now he’s left trying to figure out how to get that fight while coming off a loss.

Albert Tumenov is very quietly becoming one of the most exciting fighters in the welterweight division. He’s showed improvement in every single one of his fights and is now riding a five-fight winning streak. The win over Lorenz Larkin should put him on track to face some stiffer competition. Maybe a fight with Gunnar Nelson or Thiago Alves is in his future? I can only hope.

– Speaking of Lorenz Larkin, his run in the UFC can only be described as “disappointing.” He entered the promotion undefeated and riding a win over current UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler. But dropping four out of five straight fights forced him to welterweight and an overall record of 3-5 in the promotion, It may be time for him to reevaluate strategy going forward.

– The UFC’s heavyweight division is a total mess right now. Fabricio Werdum and Cain Velasquez are slated to meet next month at UFC 196 but there isn’t a clear challenger waiting in the wings. Did Stipe Miocic make a big enough statement last night to earn a shot at UFC gold? White said during the press conference that Miocic earned the shot, but will he and the UFC change their tune and hold out on naming a No. 1 contender until they can figure out a new contract with Alistair Overeem?

Brian Ortega is a prospect to watch. You heard it here first.

Follow Matt Roth on Twitter: @MattRoth512

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