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Lawler hangs on to title in split decision victory

With his welterweight title on the line at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Robbie Lawler delivered everything a champion should in the fifth and final round of his UFC 195 main event against Carlos Condit Saturday night, delivering a ferocious assault that allowed him to win the round and the fight, allowing him to retain his crown via split decision.

“Carlos is a helluva fighter, comes from one of the best camps in the world,” Lawler said. “He had a great game plan, we battled it out. There are two winners tonight. Let’s do it again.”

More from UFC 195: Miss the fights? Order the UFC 195 replay | Dana White’s UFC 195 verdict | Final results | Post-fight bonus recap | Lawler defends title | Miocic wins quickly, Tumenov and Ortega take longer in main card | ’Mayday’ triumphant in return | Poirier, Tanaka go distance for wins | Watch Backstage interviews: Robbie Lawler, Carlos Condit: ‘I might be done’, Stipe Miocic, Albert Tumenov, Brian Ortega, Abel Trujillo, Michael McDonald | Watch Octagon interviews: Robbie Lawler and Carlos Condit, Stipe Miocic, Dustin Poirier | Watch: Post-fight press conference highlights | Picture perfect: Best snaps from UFC 195

Condit, the former interim welterweight titleholder, would certainly be open to that idea.

“I felt like I had three rounds in the bag, but that’s why you don’t leave it to the judges,” he said.

Scores were 48-47 twice and 47-48 for the 33-year-old Lawler, who successfully defended his title for the second time, moving to 27-10 with 1 NC. The number four-ranked Condit, 31, falls to 30-9.

Lawler applied a steady pressure on Condit to start the bout, standing within punching range throughout. A couple wild exchanges followed, but it was Condit striking first with a left hand that put Lawler on the deck briefly. Coconut Creek’s Lawler got up smiling and unhurt, as it was more of a balance shot, but Condit was encouraged by his early success and turned into the aggressor as the champion now moved into the role of counterpuncher.

Albuquerque’s Condit stayed busy in round two, fighting mainly behind a varied array of kicks, but Lawler was patient in his approach, and midway through the round, “Ruthless” landed with a right hand that sent Condit to the canvas. Lawler moved in for the finish, but Condit shook off the effects of the blow, prompting the champion to stand and put the fight back on the feet. Condit went back to his busy attack, but Lawler’s single counterpunches were still having the bigger effect.

The kicks kept coming in the third, but Condit’s peppering blows were superseded by the thunder Lawler was throwing in response, with the occasional toe-to-toe exchanges between the two favoring the champion since the challenger was forgetting his defense in the heat of those exchanges. In the final stages of the round though, it was Condit doing all the scoring, with a kick to the midsection causing the most damage.

The first half of round four saw Lawler continue to be outworked by Condit, who just kept throwing everything from all angles, leaving the champion unable to respond until Condit was out of range. Lawler did get off some shots when he was able to catch Condit against the fence, but those opportunities were few and far between, and in the final minute, Condit hurt Lawler with a series of shots.

Likely needing a finish to win the fight, Lawler went on the attack as soon as he finished touching gloves with Condit, but the challenger coolly picked back at Lawler while under fire. By the second minute, Condit was the aggressor, and he was fighting as if he was the one trailing on the scorecards. Lawler was not giving his title up without a fight though, and he emptied his tank with hard rights and lefts as the final minute approached. Now it was all heart from both men, and each had plenty of that in reserve, the crowd roaring as the final seconds ticked away and Lawler landed more telling blows that allowed him to keep his title.

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