Francis Carmont was lucky to earn a split decision victory against Tom Lawlor at UFC 154 this evening in what proved to be a very dull encounter that received the thumbs down from the Montreal crowd.

Lawlor quickly closed the distance in the opening minute of the fight and clinched up against the cage with Carmont, clearly not keen to trade strikes at range with his lankier opponent.

The referee’s not happy with the stalling action and after a while opts to break them apart, but Lawlor is immediately looking to close the distance again and soon manages to do so.

Again the referee impatiently urges them to do something, and Carmont obliges by trying a kimura, but he can’t secure it.

They separate again and Carmont is able to work a few body kicks. Lawlor presses in again and lands a nice uppercut.

With the round coming to a close Carmont goes looking for a takedown attempt, but Lawlor grabs a hold of a guillotine choke and drops down with it. It looks tight, but Carmont stays calm and before the bell is able to escape.

Carmont looks to land rangey strikes early in the second round with his body kicks still being his best weapon, though he’s not landing anything particularly hard and Lawlor seems unphased.

As with the first round Lawlor still wants to work in the clinch and tries a takedown, but his first attempt isn’t successful. Soon after he tries again though, and this time he does get him down.

Lawlor doesn’t do a whole lot with the position, continuing to make it an ugly fight with a little ground and pound, while Carmont isn’t offering much from his back either. He throws his legs up a couple of times looking for a possible triangle, but it’s more in hope than in expectation.

In the final minute there’s a sense of deja vu as Lawlor again falls back with a guillotine choke, and again Carmont rides it out and breaks free before the bell.

Onto the third round and the fans really aren’t enjoying this grinding battle. There’s not a whole lot of meaningful action here, but Carmont’s kicks are the most notable strikes, while Lawlor continues to employ a clinch-based strategy with less success than the earlier rounds.

Towards the end of the round Carmont is able to briefly take Lawlor down, but isn’t able to do anything with the position and mercifully the fight comes to an end.

There’s not a whole lot of action to judge on here so this one was going to be tough to score. In the end Lawlor’s grinding clinch work and guillotine attempts were apparently not enough for two of the judges, and it’s Carmont who earns the split decision victory (29-28 x2, 28-29).

The result is a little unfair on Lawlor, but he paid the price for putting too much emphasis on grinding and not enough on actual offense, while Carmont can consider himself lucky to have earned a decision based on what little he offered over 15 minutes.

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