UFC on FOX: Lawler v Voelker

Robbie Lawler (26-10)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’11” Age: 33 Weight: 170 lbs Reach: 74″
  • Last Fight: TKO win / Rory MacDonald (7-11-15)
  • Camp: American Top Team (Florida)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Southpaw / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Good

Supplemental info:
+   UFC Welterweight Champion
+   Elite XC Middleweight Title
+   81% finish rate
+   12 first round finishes
+   20 KO victories
+   KO power/heavy hands
+   Powerful left kicks(head & body)
+   Accurate & deceptive check R. Hook
+   Devastating left hand
+   Underrated wrestling ability
^   80% TD rate over 27 fights
+   Effective ground striker
+   Good get-ups/explosive scrambles
^   Excellent use of Butterfly Guard
–    Lackadaisical kicking defense
–    Susceptible to activity lulls
+   Overall durability/recovers well


Carlos Condit (30-8)

Staple info:

  • Height:6’2″ Age: 31 Weight: 170 lbs Reach: 76″
  • Last Fight: TKO win / Thiago Alves (5-30-15)
  • Camp: Jackson-Wink MMA (New Mexico)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Muay Thai
  • Risk Management: Moderate

Supplemental info:
+   Former UFC Interm WW Champ
+   WEC Welterweight Title
+   93% finish rate
+   21 first round finishes
+   15 TKO/KO victories
+   13 Submission wins
+   Excellent kicking variety
+   Dangerous knees
+   Accurate elbows
+   Improved boxing & headmovement
+   Active guard game
^   Constant sweeps & submission chains
–    Struggles with wrestling pressure
+   Effective scrambler/get-up ability
–    Head upright on retreats
^   Shows consistent L. hand availabilities
+   Excellent cardio/comes on late


With two careers spent hunting in the same waters, Robbie Lawler & Carlos Condit are perfect parallels of violence as they state their cases for Gold. Not many complaints, nor bold predictions, as this matchup is almost too promising in it’s possibilities. Although I initially felt this way going in, my view of this fight is much more clear after reviewing extensive footage. I’ll do my best here to explain the key factors that will allow each man to expand their paths to victory, and the reasonings behind my prediction(of course all viewpoints are ultimately subjective, my breakdowns are simply here to help your reference points).

Starting off with “The Natural Born Killer”, Condit operates out of an ever-evolving & seemingly sophisticated Muay Thai stance. Known for having a great striking base from his years with Mike Winklejohn, Carlos has made even more improvements to his Boxing and range-finding game since working with Brandon Gibson. At a long frame of 6’2″ these skills are not only crucial for Condit, but something he really needed to tie his game together. As we’ve seen in the last few years of his career, Carlos’s understanding & application of Boxing range has helped him manage distance(especially in regards to takedown threats) and even help open up his deadly knees & kicks.

Despite said improvements on his hands, I feel Carlos’s kicking game will be paramount in dethroning the Champion. I see the Front Kick in particular to be the key technique to a Condit victory. Even in his recent UFC resurgence, Lawler has traditionally shown a lackadaisical kicking defense. In watching film you’ll see that Robbie will reluctantly check or block Thai kicks, and show even less resistance for said Front kicks(With almost all attempts of recent opposition landing). Though not typically a “fight ending technique“, the front kick is an excellent distance management tool that can allow Carlos space from Lawler’s heavy handed attacks, and even open up his own offense(as Condit shows a knack for misguiding opposition into head kicks & knees).

As noticeable as Robbie’s kicking defenses may or may not be, I found Condit’s defensive liabilities are surprisingly much more apparent. Despite never being knocked out nor seldomly seeming hurt(credit an awesome poker face), Carlos Condit in plain english gets hit a lot.. at least a lot more than you’d expect. Although showing improved offensive head movement, Carlos tends to lean his head heavily right or upright upon retreat. This habit has shown to cost him a healthy amount of punches, especially of the left handed nature. Consistently hit with jabs & hooks from orthodox opposition, the left overhands & crosses from Southpaws have also shown to find natural homes and even sway the momentum standing(as seen in fights with Nick Diaz & Johny Hendricks). Not to mention most of these instances of retreat vulnerability took place between the inner black Octagon lines and the Fence, which just so happens to be Robbie’s preferred Kill Zone.

With Lawler showing little interest in the ground and Condit arguably not possessing the wrestling to take it there, the common forecast for this storm is that it may remain standing. Although Condit’s game is ultra-impressive and ever-evolving, I’m not sure how I feel about his chances going head-to-head or even evading Lawler’s corralling offensive pressure. Though well conditioned himself, the Champion has shown a propensity to lull in activity mid-fight. Now this may be due to strategy or pacing, but with a Killer who comes on late like Condit, Lawler cannot afford breaks with his “hit you & hurt you” approach. With both men ridiculously tough & durable it almost feels like a crime to predict a stop on either end. However, with no man ever taking a Decision win over Condit without using wrestling, I see the nature of this knife fight forcing the referees hand before the final bell.


Official Pick: Lawler – Inside the Distance

Official Outcome: Lawler – Decision.


Stipe Miocic (13-2)

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’4″ Age: 33 Weight: 245 lbs Reach: 80″
  • Last Fight: TKO win / Mark Hunt (5-10-15)
  • Camp: Strong Style Fight Team (Ohio)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Boxing
  • Risk Management: Good

Supplemental info:
+   NAFFS Heavyweight Title
+   NCAA Div. 1 Wrestler
+   Gold Gloves winner
+   5 first round finishes
+   10 KO victories
+   Good cardio/very athletic
^   Consistent volume & output
+   Mixes TD’s with punches well
^   Favors single-legs
–    Counter availabilities
^   Head stagnates mid-combination
–    Lacks kick checking
+   Good chin/recovers well

Andrei Arlovski

Andrei Arlovski (25-10)

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’4″ Age: 36 Weight: 241 lbs Reach: 77″
  • Last Fight: Decision win / Frank Mir (9-5-15)
  • Camp: Jackson-Wink MMA (New Mexico)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Good

Supplemental info:
+   Former UFC Heavyweight Champ
+   Multiple Sambo Accolades
+   17 KO victories
+   13 first round finishes
+   KO power/heavy hands
+   Strong in clinch
+   85% takedown defense rate
+   Accurate right hand
+/-Blitzes in after hurting opponent
^   Open to counter strikes
–    7 KO losses(last in 2011)
+/-Effectively stall from bottom
+   Improved overall striking


In the evenings co main-event is a Heavyweight showdown between Stipe Miocic vs Andrei Arlovski. Stipe is the on paper favorite coming into this matchup and I can totally see why. Despite being long marked the division’s contender with his athletic transition game, Miocic has recently struggled with back issues that inevitably sidelined his appearance in Dublin last October. With Miocic still showing physical rehab work leading into this fight(via his Instagram), I strongly feel this will be the live intangible heading into this battle.

I always avoid putting heavy weight into what some would consider “private issues” or “personal intangibles”, because I don’t feel it makes for ethical or accurate analysis. That being said, there are sometimes where it qualifies as a justified intangible and allow me to explain why. First off, I believe the key factor in this fight will be Stipe’s “Frankie Edgar-like” transition game, and how effective he can be to keep Arlovski working & guessing(which has traditionally shown to take away from his offense).

Though Arlovski has abandoned ground intents in fights, his Sambo base still translates to his deceptively strong clinch game and a takedown defense rate of 85%. This means Miocic’s usual cage pressure(and the Double-leg’s he favors from there), may not be as effective as anticipated. That said, Stipe’s transition game in the open caters to his shown single-leg snap downs, which I see being the key takedown technique to ground Arlovski. This technique off his jab is not only Miocic’s go-to takedown, but it also requires the most inadvertent back leverage of anything else he uses in his arsenal(especially the the way in which he executes “running the pipe” to finish).

This is where said “back intangibles” come into play, and here’s how the numbers will tell us it’s validity within the first round. With Miocic’s 47 official takedown attempts over a 9 fight period, he roughly averages 3 to 4 official takedown attempts per round. This may not sound that impressive, but when you put up those numbers consistently at Heavyweight, Miocic’s overall output has arguably pushed him ahead in the pack(coming only second the likes of Cain Velasquez as far as activity goes). If the first round manages to go by with no sign of takedown intentions, it may tell us the physical state Stipe is really at for this fight.

As a noted intelligent fighter with good risk management, I’m sure Stipe and his team know Arlovski’s best chance to win this fight is for Miocic to stand & trade. Even if Stipe manages to ground the Former Champ, Arlovski shows effective stalling techniques & guard retention to get fights stood up(which Referees will seemingly do faster at Heavyweight). All that said, I believe this fight will primarily take place standing where we’ll see Stipe’s in & out Boxing against Andrei’s counter striking. Though Arlovski’s improved kicking arsenal could have play given Stipe’s reluctance to check, I believe his counter punching will be the key to his victory.

Stipe shows fight-to-fight improvements in his Boxing and overall movement, however, his head position will often stagnate mid-combination which has cost him counter shots in the past. If Miocic is not healthy and/or his transition game fails, I don’t like his chances standing with Andrei and only having three rounds in which to work. With a night full of close matchups, I feel Arlovski has some of the most dog value on this card. But tread carefully, after all it’s Heavyweight MMA.

Official Pick: Arlovski – Decision

Official Outcome: Miocic – KO – Round 1.


Lorenz Larkin (16-4)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’11” Age: 29 Weight: 170 lbs Reach: 72″
  • Last Fight: TKO win / CSantiago Ponzinibbio (6-27-15)
  • Camp: Millennia MMA (California)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+   Regional MMA Titles
+   BJJ Blue Belt
+   7 first round finishes
+   10 KO victories
+   KO power
+   Fast hand speed
+   Good distance management
^   Closes distance quickly
+   Excellent jab
+   well-timed uppercut
+   Solid kicking variety
^   Accurate spinning attacks
–    Lack leg kick checks
–    Struggles when pressure fought
^   Especially when backed into cage


Albert Tumenov (16-2)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’11” Age: 24 Weight: 170 lbs Reach: 75″
  • Last Fight: TKO win / Alan Jouban (10-3-15)
  • Camp: K Dojo (Russia)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox/Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Good

Supplemental info:
+   Regional MMA Titles
+   Master of Sports: Boxing (Russia)
+   10  first round finishes
+   11 KO victories
+   KO power
+   Accurate defensive & offensive L. Hook
+   Manages distance well
+   Strong core/counter wrestling
^   Good bridge & Scrambles from bottom
+   Excellent right hand
^   Creates subtle openings with angles
+   Fast switch head kick
–    Body kick vulnerabilities
^   Baits/catches to counter strike
+   Solid chin & durability


You can’t bring a card out West without a proper gun fight, as the UFC matchmakers grace us with Lorenz Larkin vs Albert Tumenov. In the matchup that’s excited me the most since it’s inception, it’s very hard to see how this technical shootout does not deliver(for however long it lasts). Given both mens lack of interest for takedowns or cage clinches, I suspect this fight will largely be contested & determined on the feet.

With each fighter requiring comfortable spaces to operate their striking games, I believe this matchup may come down to who can disrupt & discomfort the other more effectively. I’ve been following Larkin’s career since his Strikeforce days, and despite coming from a heavier weight class, I believe he’ll carry a slight speed advantage in this fight. Lorenz’s hand speed is accentuated by his foot speed, as you’ll see him dart in & out of striking range. This is something he’ll need in spades if he means to stifle Tumenov’s rhythm.

Albert’s no slouch in the speed department himself, but it’s his technique & timing that he uses to equalize range and speed advantages. In his past fights we’ve seen Albert read and time opposition to set up his deadly counter attacks. Offensively, Tumenov will step into space while subtly taking an off-setting angle, which he’ll use to set up his accurate right hand. This coupled with the proper pressure could be effective against Larkin, who traditionally struggles when being pressure fought.

Though Larkin displays excellent offensive movement, he also shows a habit of moving straight back into the cage when pressured defensively. Often exposing his head, Lorenz will usually retreat in a “Philly Shell“(power hand high-lead hand low). This in particular will expose Larkin to Albert’s said right hands and other offensive tools(as we saw in his last fight against Alan Jouban). I feel Larkin’s best chance of disrupting the Russian’s game is to lean heavily on his kicks, where I feel he has the advantage. With Tumenov showing far less kicking defense than punch defense, Lorenz could potentially frustrate & sway the momentum of the fight here.

That said, Albert has shown durability in all areas as he’ll gladly eat or catch kicks to counter strike. I’m a huge fan of both men and would hate to see either lose, but sadly they both can’t be winners. Ultimately, I feel that Tumenov’s chin and precision pressure will be the key factor in this fire fight.

Official Pick: Tumenov – Inside the distance

Official Outcome: Tumenov – Decision.


Diego Brandao (20-10)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’7″ Age: 28 Weight: 145 lbs Reach: 68.5″
  • Last Fight: KO win / Katsunori Kikuno (9-26-15)
  • Camp: Team Brandao (Brazil)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Muay Thai
  • Risk Management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+   TUF 14 Winner
+   Black Belt BJJ
+   10 KO victories
+   13 first round finishes
+   KO power
+   Underrated wrestling
^   Good Double-leg TD
+   Solid topside transitions
^   Head & Arms to passes
–    Takes breaks inside guard
+/-Aggressive strike conviction
^   Counter availabilities
+   Dangerous right hand
–     Propensity to fade


Brian Ortega (9-0)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’9″ Age: 24 Weight: 145 lbs Reach: 75″
  • Last Fight: TKO win / Thiago Tavares (6-6-15)
  • Camp: Blackhouse MMA (California)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+   RFA Featherweight Title
+   Black Belt BJJ
+   4 Submission wins
+   4 first round finishes
+   Improved striking
^   Diversifies attacks well
+   Accurate knees
+   Excellent transition game
^   Chains Submissions well
+   Dangerous off back (guard)
^   Active hips & strikes
–    Will succeed bottom
–    Shows little head movement
+   Consistent pace & conditioning


In a fun Featherweight scrap, rising prospect Brian Ortega will meet the dangerous Diego Brandao. A former prospect in his own right, Diego Brandao has had mixed success(and performances) thus far in his career. None the less, “DB” will arguably be the most stern test of Brian Ortega’s growing resume. Though young in his “on paper” MMA career, the long time Gracie Black Belt instructor has been bred for this for sometime now. From striking at a young age-to his progression in grappling, Brian has been competing in all forms of Martial Arts since  he was a teenager.

In the striking area in-particular is where I see Diego’s best chances in testing, and possibly taking this fight away from Ortega. Brandao’s right hand specifically could sway the momentum of this fight given Brian’s often stationary head position. Ortega’s consistent volume & ever growing arsenal(especially the comfort in which he employs it), has largely helped him in his overall success so far. That said, Diego’s explosive blitzes & knockout power puts him at a solid benchmark in the division that will certainly show us where Ortega is at in his standing game.

What can make the striking portion of this fight more of a reality, is Diego’s underrated wrestling game. Aside from his solid takedown ability, Brandao also bares an impressive TD Defense rate of 80% which could allow him to dictate where this fight takes place(assuming he chooses a disciplined approach). But given Brandao’s in-fight trends & the impressive ground skills of his own, I don’t expect the often emotional fighter to avoid ground exchanges(despite that being his opponent’s strength). Less we not forget, there are many ways for Brian to also get this fight to the ground, as we’ve seen him pull guard and succeed bottom to get what he wants.

Though succeeding bottom and playing from your back is often looked down upon in modern day MMA, you’ll run into outliers like “T-City” Ortega who make you eat your words. When the young talent was put against his previous toughest test, we saw him consistently threaten, damage, and often/eventually out-grapple the proven UFC Vet & BJJ Black Belt Thiago Tavares(and he did it largely off his back). Don’t get me wrong, Diego shows an excellent transition game from topside, as he displays a beautiful passing game off submission threats(often hunting head & arm chokes). However, Brandao’s stereotype of fading in fights(arguably due to consistent physical & emotional exertion) has shown to hold water.

Despite Diego’s takedown/top-game usually helping him win rounds, he’ll also use his said skills to take breaks in key positions. Inside the guard particularly is where Diego’s been caught speeding(or sleeping depending on viewpoint), as we’ve seen him somewhat consistently swept or threatened here. It’s hard to tell Brandao’s intent, much less his mindset in these exchanges, but it appears he’s so confident in his defense & skills, that he almost allows submission catches as he’ll often lackadaisically flow and escape from them. Though these transitions have opened opened up opportunities for Brandao in the past, it’s this specific area where “T-City” gets his name and makes his money. Couple Brian’s relentless work-rate off his back with Diego’s exertion issues, and I feel Ortega’s style will wear down the do or die nature of his Brazilian opponent.

Official Pick: Ortega – Inside the distance

Official Outcome: Ortega – Submission – Round 3.


Abel Trujillo (12-7)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’8″ Age: 32 Weight: 155 lbs Reach: 70″
  • Last Fight: Submission loss / Gleison Tibau (11-7-15)
  • Camp: Blackzillians (Florida)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+   NAIA Collegiate Wrestler
+   7 KO/TKO Victories
+   5 first round finishes
+   KO power / heavy hands
+   Strong power-double TD
+   Accurate & hard ground striker
+   Difficult to hold down
^   Effective scrambler
+   Deadly right hand
^   Closes distance well
+   Dangerous knees
–    Head often upright
–    Hands retract low off strikes
^   Counter availabilities


Tony Sims (12-3)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’11” Age: 30 Weight: 155 lbs Reach: 70″
  • Last Fight: Dec loss / Olivier Aubin Mercier (8-23-15)
  • Camp: Elevation Fight Team (Denver, CO)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Switch-stance / Boxing
  • Risk Management: Good

Supplemental info:
+   Regional MMA Titles
+   7x State Boxing Champ
+   Purple Belt BJJ
+   8 first round finishes
+   10 KO victories
+   Wrestling base
^   Well timed double-leg
+   KO power
+   Accurate striker
^   Dangerous L. Hook – R. Hand
+   Excellent footwork
^   Manages distance well
–    Struggles against fence
^   TD & Control availabilities


Once again the UFC will look to it’s exciting Lightweight Division to kickoff the main card, as Tony Sims draws the always dangerous Abel Trujillo. Despite this match being put together rather quickly, both men seem more than ready & willing as they’ll each attempt to get back in the win column. Given both fighters style of “Strikers with a Wrestling base“, I expect this match to be largely contested(and likely decided) on the feet. Training with the Blackzillians, Trujillo has made major leaps in his striking game under the tutelage of Henri Hooft. Possessing natural one-punch power, Henry has helped Abel shore up his technique and open up his game.

Trujillo’s most effective attribute standing is his ability to deceptively close distance. This is something that will be crucial if he means to catch the constantly moving Sims. Cutting his teeth in Boxing prior to his MMA career(7-time State Champ), Tony brings a very uniquely active(but effective) footwork styling. Consistently switching stances, Sims will do so according to his oppositions movement. This allows him to not just stalk, but also more safely dictate the terms of action. Should Abel fail to disrupt rhythm or find his own early, he could be in for a long(or short) night given Tony’s technical aggression.

Though Sims Southpaw looks, corner-cutting, and trap-setting could keep Trujillo in a state of perpetual catch up, it does not change the fact that he’s still playing with fire. We’ve seen Abel hurt, tired, and still close the show with his lights out power. Tony will also have to mind his natural tendency for head dips & rolls(habits often carried over from Boxing), as Trujillo bares explosive knee attacks from many ranges. That being said, I feel Trujillo is also be the more defensively liable man standing. With his head often finding it’s way upright, Abel will close the aforementioned distance with such conviction, that he’ll tend to retract his hands low of his power shots. This coupled with his propensity to brawl has shown to cost him in the counter strike department, an area where Tony Sims makes his money.

I believe Trujillo’s best chance in this fight is to utilize his underrated Wrestling game. Though I give the striking edge to Sims, The Four-Time NAIA All-American Trujillo, shows to have translated his wrestling base more effectively to MMA than Sims. Being one of the few men to takedown Khabib Nurmagomedov, Abel wields a mean power double-leg that could ground, or at the very least stifle Sim’s offense. Though Tony shows a well timed double-leg himself, his takedown and ground defense against high level opposition still remains questionable(as he struggled in his last fight with OAM). Though Trujillo’s devastating ground strikes could certainly sway momentum his way, it’s hard to not overlook that Abel tends to take damage in victory & defeat as he’s been significantly hit & hurt in 5 of his last 7 fights. Ultimately I do not see Trujillo’s style boding well against a Technician with a chin, especially one who carries a 100% finish rate.

Official Pick: Sims – Inside the distance

Official Outcome: Trujillo – Submission – Round 1.

Preliminary Card Predictions

  • McDonald def. Kanehara
  • Noke def. Morono
  • Kish def. Ansaroff
  • Holtzman def. Dober
  • Duffy def. Poirier
  • Soto def. Tanaka
  • Westcott def. Garcia

Recommended Plays

Fantasy MMA Picks

High Tier Picks:

-Robbie Lawler
-Albert Tumenov
-Tony Sims

Low Tier Picks:

-Carlos Condit
-Dustin Poirier
-Andrei Arlovski

Pieces for your parlay:

-Brian Ortega
-Albert Tumenov
-Tony Sims

Props worth looking at:

-Albert Tumenov – by KO/TKO
-Scott Holtzman – by Submission
-Brian Ortega – inside the distance

Fights to avoid:

-Stipe Miocic vs Andrei Arlovski
-Michael McDonald vs Massanori Kanehara
-Kyle Noke vs Alex Morono

For the complete analysis of future & past UFC events visit MixedMartialAnalyst.com and for future breakdowns & your latest in world-wide MMA news, stay tuned & follow @MMALatestnws MMALatestNews.com

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