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Lawler beats Condit in brawl, retains UFC welterweight title

Las Vegas — Robbie Lawler defended his UFC welterweight belt with a bruising split-decision victory over Carlos Condit at UFC 195 on Saturday night.

Lawler (27-10) was awarded the narrow decision after an outstanding five-round brawl at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Condit (30-9) landed 120 more strikes and wobbled the champion multiple times, but Lawler’s power did enough damage to win three rounds on two judges’ scorecards.

Robbie Lawler

Robbie Lawler

Lawler and Condit established a lofty benchmark for the best fight of 2016 with their thrilling, draining slugfest. Both fighters landed huge strikes and big knockdowns, yet both bounced up and kept fighting into a brutal fifth round in which they struggled to lift their arms for punches or defense.

At the final bell, the fighters stood side-by-side with their arms on the cage in mutual exhaustion and respect.

“There was two winners tonight, and let’s do it again,” Lawler said after the decision.

Earlier, Stipe Miocic stopped Andrei Arlovski with punches 54 seconds into the first round, likely earning a heavyweight title shot with a victory in the UFC’s traditional New Year’s week show in its hometown.

Condit appeared to be disappointed, but not surprised, after losing for the fourth time in six fights despite landing 198 strikes to 78 for the champion.

“I thought there was a good chance I was ahead,” Condit said. “I knew he was going to come out guns-a-blazing. You have to come out and fight. I wasn’t hurt neurologically, but I was roughed up a little bit. I thought I had three rounds in the bag, but that happens.”