185 lbs: Tom Lawlor vs. Aaron Simpson
Odds: (+200 Lawlor / -260 Simpson)
Tom Lawlor and Aaron Simpson, two up and coming Middleweights, will meet to see which breaks into the mainstream of UFC’s 185 pound division and which heads back to the drawing board. Lawlor failed to impress on The Ultimate Fighter, but has recovered nicely with two UFC wins, including a guillotine choke over Simpson’s teammate C.B. Dolloway. Simpson, for his part, parlayed an undefeated record on small shows into a career in WEC and then UFC, and has yet to taste defeat as a professional.
Lawlor, a colorful character who drew attention on The Ultimate Fighter by urinating on a fruit platter and knocking out housemate Dave Kaplan in the living room, failed to make an impression with his skills inside the ring, being knocked out by Ryan Bader in the first round. After the show, though, Lawlor looked very impressive in his two UFC appearances. A well-rounded fighter with decent striking and good submissions, Lawlor has the tools to succeed in the UFC.
Simpson, an undefeated prospect, made a name for himself the right way – inside the ring. After working his way up through smaller shows, Simpson found himself grandfathered in to the UFC after WEC closed all its higher weight classes. A two-time NCAA All-American wrestler, Simpson has got a serious pedigree and has done a great job of translating it into Mixed Martial Arts. It also doesn’t hurt that Simpson trains every day with C.B. Dolloway and Ryan Bader, two of Lawlor’s last three opponents.
Lawlor shows some promise, but Simpson has the superior background, superior training camp, and superior athleticism. This fight is fairly even on the feet, but Simpson’s wrestling gives him the advantage because, unlike Simpson, Lawlor is going to have to be conservative to combat takedowns. I expect Simpson to get the best of the standup exchanges for a round or two before putting Lawlor away with a late T/KO.
Fight Prediction: Aaron Simpson via second round T/KO.