Just after the New Year arrives, UFC 195 will descend on Las Vegas (Jan. 2, 2016). The MGM Grand Garden Arena is set to host a thrilling card headlined by “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler defending his Welterweight crown against Carlos Condit. Heavyweights Stipe Miocic and Andrei Arlovski will be the appetizer.
Let’s get you set for both fights.
(Also check out our UFC 194: Aldo vs. McGregor preview!)
Lawler vs. Condit
Lawler (26-10 career) beat Matt Brown by unanimous decision in July 2014 to earn the Welterweight championship. He defended his title with a split decision victory over Johny Hendricks in December 2014, and beat Rory MacDonald via fifth-round TKO in July. His only setback since the end of 2012 came in a loss to Hendricks in March 2014. The heavy-handed southpaw has earned 20 of his 26 career wins by way of knockout and comes into 2016 with just one setback in his last eight fights.
Condit (30-8 career) has lost three of his last five bouts but earned a championship opportunity by beating Thiago Alves (doctor stoppage) in May. He hasn’t fought a lot recently; the Alves battle was his only time in the octagon this year. His lone fight in 2014 against Tyron Woodley ended in a TKO loss due to a knee injury. In 2013, he fell to Hendricks via unanimous decision but rebounded with a TKO of Martin Kampmann. The Albuquerque native has 15 wins by knockout, 13 by submission, and hasn’t gone to the cards in three straight.
Lawler is almost a 2/3 favorite, and that is a pretty solid line. While Lawler has gone the distance recently, neither fighter has typically gone deep into matches during their careers. At a shade over even money, under 4.5 rounds is the smart bet.
Miocic vs. Arlovski
Miocic (13-2 career) has won four of his last five fights and, in his last fight (May 2015) TKOed Mark Hunt in the fifth round. The win over Hunt followed a five-round unanimous decision loss to Junior dos Santos. His only other loss came at the hands of Stefan Struve (TKO). The former Div. 1 wrestler has taken to throwing hands in his MMA career, earning nine of his 13 career wins by knockout. Four of his 15 fights have reached the cards.
Arlovski (25-10-1 career) has won six straight, including victories over Frank Mir and Travis Browne this year. In 2014, he beat Brendan Schaub and Antonio Silva. Seventeen of his career victories have come by knockout and the veteran Belarusian briefly held the UFC Heavyweight title in 2005. Like Miocic, his fights don’t go the distance all that often, with just eight of 36 career bouts lasting to the final bell.
The 32-year-old Miocic (who is four years junior of Arlovski) is nearly a 2/5 favorite and, while he is the better fighter at this stage, he’d have to beat Arlovski more than 70-percent of the time to make that worth your while. Arlovski at more than 2/1 is intriguing, but not an incredible bet. At 13/10, taking a shot at over 1.5 rounds seems like solid value.
(Photo credit: Lee Brimelow (cropped from DSC_0029) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo has been cropped.)