Photo by Esther Lin for MMA Fighting.
Carlos Condit used a solid, measured gameplan to capture the UFC interim welterweight title by winning a unanimous decision over Nick Diaz in the main event of UFC 143. Condit ignored all of the mind games Diaz tried to employ in the fight, and landed a ton of damaging kicks while staying away from situations where Diaz could truly open up on him. The scores were 49-46, 49-46 and 48-47 for Condit. He now has a date with UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre when he recovers from his injury. Diaz claimed he was going to retire in his post-fight interview.
Diaz took the center of the cage immediately, but it was Condit firing first with kicks. Diaz continued to walk down Condit and landed a couple of nice shots, while Condit responded with leg kicks. Diaz threw some kicks of his own, and started to drop his hands and talk to Condit. Diaz dug to the body with a big shot, but Condit again responded with a leg kick. Condit tried a couple of spinning elbows without success. Diaz closed out the first round by clowning a bit, but not landing anything.
Condit opened the second with a variety of flashy strikes, but nothing landed. Condit continued to work the legs, and he actually landed a spinning backfist. Diaz actually dropped his hands and begged Condit to him him, then open-hand slapped him when he didn't. Diaz talked some trash, but didn't land much until a good right connected halfway through the round. Condit landed a body shot, and Diaz clowned some more. Finally Diaz landed a solid combination, but Condit stayed calm and landed more kicks. Diaz stared Condit down to close out another close round.
The third saw more of the same as the first two rounds. Solid kicking game from Condit, and Diaz continually coming forward with solid combinations. Condit did a good job of circling away so he wouldn't get cornered and be prone to a Diaz flurry. Diaz landed a very big left hand with a minute to go, but it had no effect on Condit. Diaz upped the pace late, but ate a lot of leg kicks over the course of five minutes.
Diaz looked visibly frusrated at Condit's gameplan early in the fourth, but couldn't do much to keep Condit in front of him. Diaz dropped down for a single two minutes in, but Condit shrugged it off and landed a strike as he escaped. Condit started to land a lot more in he latter half of the round with nice combinations. Condit bloodied up Nick's eye with a jab late in the round.
Diaz continued to chase Condit around the cage in the fifth and opened up his own kicking game a bit more. The pace slowed ever so slightly, and less strikes were being landed by both for the first half. Condit landed a big head kick that didn't face Nick at all. Finally Nick clinched up with Carlos, but Condit escaped again and went back to attacking the legs. Diaz managed to land a nice right, but Condit responded with a good knee. Diaz managed to get Condit's back with 75 seconds to go and secured back mount. After locking up a body triangle, he tried valiantly to sink in a choke but Condit fought him off. The round and the fight ended in a big scramble, but the fighters hugged after the final horn.
Diaz is a former Strikeforce welterweight champion that expected to take on Georges St. Pierre for the UFC welterweight title here, but an injury to GSP gave Condit the spot and the bout was for an interim title. Condit, a former WEC welterweight champion, was on a four-fight winning streak entering the bout, with the last two wins coming by brutal knockout.