STOCKHOLM – Michael Kuiper may have gotten a little too comfortable, but despite an early-fight knee injury, Tom Lawlor capitalized on it.
The veteran UFC middleweight failed on numerous first-round takedown attempts. However, with Kuiper scoring his own takedowns and feeling comfortable in the clinch, Lawlor capitalized and secured a second-round submission win.
The bout was part of the preliminary card of today’s UFC on FUEL TV 9 event at Ericsson Globe Arena in Stockholm. It streamed on Facebook ahead of a main card on FUEL TV.
Heading into the bout, Lawlor, who ditched his usually elaborate cage entrance, knew his best shot at victory was on the ground. But the heavy-handed Kuiper clearly drilled extensively and shucked off most of his attempts. In fact, in the first round, the Dutch fighter scored three of his own takedowns and then took top position when Lawlor tried to shoot in on an apparently injured knee late in the round.
However, in the following round, with Kuiper clearly comfortable in close quarters and anxious to secure another takedown, Lawlor smoothly slapped on a tight guillotine choke and pulled guard. Kuiper initially fought off the choke, but about 15 seconds into the hold, the judoka finally relented and tapped out.
The stoppage came at the 1:05 mark of the second round.
“I didn’t hurt my knee, guys,” said Lawlor, who dedicated the fight to a sister he lost 12 years ago in a car accident. “Michael Kuiper hurt me knee on the first judo throw he did. It was hard to fight back from it.”
But he did, and Lawlor (9-5 MMA, 5-4 UFC) now moves his UFC record over .500 and improves to 2-1 (with a split-decision defeat to Francis Carmont) in his past three fights. Kuiper (12-2 MMA, 1-2 UFC), meanwhile, has now dropped two of three since opening his career with an 11-0 mark and signing with the UFC.
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(Pictured: Tom Lawlor)
John Morgan contributed to this report