UFC 143: RECAP
Written by Matt Marcone
Carlos Condit is the new interim UFC welterweight champion.
Condit answered his critics Saturday with a very close decision win over crowd favourite Nick Diaz.
Condit was able to circle and move, landing several leg-kicks and jabs but never came close to finishing the Stockton native. Judges scored the bout 49-46, 49-46, and 48-47, much to the chagrin of the Vegas crowd.
Diaz verbally taunted Condit the entire fight, landing a wicked body shot combination and nearly finished him with a rear-naked choke.
“This ain’t right,” Diaz told colour-commentator Joe Rogan. “I pushed him back the whole fight. I walked him down. I got the take down. I’m the guy who went on top. Had I thought I wasn’t ahead, I’d bet you anything I’d have finished that arm lock.”
“While he was talking, I was landing punches,” Condit said.
Perhaps most shocking was the bombshell announcement that followed.
“I think I’m done with this MMA,” Diaz said. “It’s been great out here. I’ve had a good career. You guys pay me way too much, but I don’t think I’m going to get enough to keep going in this. It’s been a good time.”
If UFC 143 was Diaz’ last fight, one of the sport’s most prolific fighters is walking away in his prime. Condit now faces teammate Georges St. Pierre for the undisputed title later this year.
In the co-main event and fight of the night, Fabricio Werdum was able to out-strike Roy Nelson for three straight rounds. Many thought Werdum’s best chance to win the fight was to take it to the ground, but he proved he’s more than a one-trick pony.
Werdum landed some devastating knees in the clinch that ultimately paid dividends, with “Big Country” unable to mount any serious offence. All three judges scored it 30-27 in favour of the Brazilian.
Other fights saw Josh Koscheck win a controversial split decision over fellow wrestler Mike Pierce; the bout could’ve gone either way.
Rising Brazilian bantamweight star Renan Barao outpointed Scott Jorgenson for three rounds, improving his record to an impressive 28-1-1.
UFC newcomer Stephen Thompson showed why he hasn’t lost in combat competition since he was a young teenager. He knocked out Dan Stittgen with a beautifully timed head kick, earning him knockout of the night honours and improves to 6-0.
Submission of the night went to featherweight Dustin Poirier, who improved to 4-0 inside the Octagon.
Next stop for the UFC is February 15th on Fuel TV where Jake Ellenberger takes on fellow welterweight contender Diego Sanchez.