Now, I'm a Tom Lawlor fan. I love his goofiness, I love his fighting style and I love how he lives about 45 minutes from me. That said, I was nervous for him coming into Saturday's fight against Francis Carmont at UFC 154.
He was 2-3 in his last five, and two of those losses came by submission. That plays perfectly into Carmont's hand. Carmont was 3-0 in the UFC with two of those wins coming by submission. While is is a striker more than a grappler, he owns a major size edge over Lawlor.
When the two started fighting, I got reminded of something. Lawlor has a lot more experience against high-level opponents than Carmont. Lawlor pressed Carmont to the cage and kept him there. Carmont had little answer but got a hometown gift-wrapped decision. So what did we learn?
Yup, the Refs are Making it One of THOSE Nights
Don't you hate this stuff? I don't know what, exactly, changed of late with the refs but they all seem to believe they're in EliteXC's cage, rather than the Octagon.
Lawlor is a wrestler, but was repeatedly discouraged from plying his trade by the ref and obviously ended up on the wrong end of a bad decision. The fight was by no means electrifying, but it is always frustrating to see a fighter get robbed of a win.
It hits me harder, given how I'm a Lawlor fan. It hits Lawlor hardest, though.
Was the decision incorrect?
Dana White is Probably Getting Mad Now
This is one of the biggest cards of 2012 and one of the few that has not been rocked by injuries. In spite of that, we have seen back-to-back-to-back decisions now, none of them particularly great. White also has to be disappointed by the results.
Mark Hominick failed to get back on track, even fighting in his homeland. Rafael dos Anjos won convincingly, but Mark Bocek looked bad enough to make the win unimpressive but good enough to make everyone ask why dos Anjos couldn't finish. Then, what was supposed to be a coming-out party for Carmont was foiled by a bad decision.
White has to be frustrated by how this has gone. Not only have the fights failed to impress, but the expendable pawns just keep beating the guys who actually have value to the company.
There's a Long Way to Go for Carmont
Carmont got the win, and he obviously has the talent to become a force at middleweight. That said, Lawlor just exposed a major hole in his grappling game.
Lawlor is a fun fighter and a solid wrestler, but is by no means a scary opponent. Still, he was more than good enough to keep Carmont exactly where he wanted him from start to finish.
Carmont has been training at the Tristar gym, and with that comes GSP. He is going to need to seriously up his game if he wants to make good on all the hype surrounding him.
The Montreal Fans Know Bad Calls When They See It
The fans roared hard when Patrick Cote got himself a DQ win over Alessio Sakara. I kind of joked about it in my last “What We Learned” article. That said, they showed no hometown favoritism when Francis Carmont was declared the winner.
Again, the decision was downright wrong. Lawlor did not destroy Carmont, but he clearly established himself as the fighter that was in control and Carmont had no answer to that.
This reminded me of the time when Michael Bisping was showered with boos by the London crowd when he was wrongly given the decision over Matt Hamill.