Carlos Condit was able to use movement to keep Nick Diaz from really ever getting off through the majority of five rounds in the UFC 143 main event and it was good enough to win him the interim welterweight championship. As for Nick Diaz? It was enough to send him into retirement.
...or at least what he says will be his retirement.
I scored the fight 49-46 for Condit, it seemed pretty clear to me that he won the first four rounds, even if the first two were reasonably close. I thought the fight was a thoroughly enjoyable affair that saw Condit fight smart and never allow himself to get pinned up against the cage where Diaz has done his best work over the past few years. While many felt it was "running," to me it was taking advantage of Diaz's footwork and openings to get back out into the middle of the cage where he could score with leg kicks and pick and choose when to engage with combinations.
The reality is, strategy is important at the upper end of fight sports. In the same weight class where we saw the whole "Georges St. Pierre got too strategic once he got to the top of the sport" cries, we now are seeing it with Condit. Maybe it's that there are so many dangers at 170 that sometimes it takes a strategic approach to get the win.
Asking Condit to stand and trade with Diaz is asking him to do the same thing that got fighter after fighter busted up by Nick.
Carlos earned his victory and his shot at St. Pierre. I know I'll be looking forward to that fight when the time comes.
- I have a feeling Diaz thinks by "retiring" from the UFC, he can try the boxing thing that he has floated so often. Once the UFC lets him know that their contract doesn't exactly allow that, I have a feeling we'll see Diaz right back in the UFC Octagon.
- Diaz is still absolutely one of the best 170 pounders in the sport and will trouble almost anyone in the sport. I hope he really isn't walking away, even if I do really hate his inability to ever handle failure with any semblance of professionalism.
- I can't wait for the next round of cries that Roy Nelson suddenly cut to 205 pounds and learn a completely new way to fight at 35 years of age. The Roy Nelson who has proven time and time again that he can't handle top end heavyweights is the real version. He's the only one you're getting, so just accept it.
- Fabricio Werdum's muay thai looked very solid tonight. He was able to work knees, leg kicks and decent punching combinations to wreck Nelson over three rounds. He had some scary moments where Nelson appeared to get in with big enough power to sting him, but Werdum would just fire back and take the fight right back over. I'm not sure I buy into the idea that he can hang with Junior dos Santos because he was better at beating up Roy Nelson, but it was an impressive performance.
- Josh Koscheck survived an ugly, ugly fight against Mike Pierce. I don't know what to say other than that Pierce's toughness and Koscheck's inability to diversify his striking beyond "throw right hand hard" made the fight a bit harder than it really should have been.
- The real defining moment from the Koscheck/Pierce fight was Herb Dean not taking a point from Koscheck. After one warning "in the action" for reaching out with his hands open, and then a time where Dean stopped the fight to warn Koscheck to not poke the eyes, Koscheck eventually poked Pierce in the eye. That is exactly a situation where a point should be taken. Koscheck was given a clear warning and did not heed the referee's instructions, resulting in a foul. That was a failure on Herb's part, and totally inconsistent from earlier in the evening when he took two points from Alex Caceres for a second horrible low blow.
Much more after the jump...
- Renan Barao beat a very tough opponent in Scott Jorgensen at 143. But he displayed some cardio issues that cause some concern for a potential title fight and he also wasn't quite exciting enough in victory to elevate him to that status as a title challenger some of us were hoping for. I think he needs one more solid win before putting him in a title fight.
- Clifford Starks is a talented fighter and good enough that Ed Herman's win over him carries some solid meaning. Herman's last few fights have been very impressive and encouraging after a horrible injury layoff.
- Max Holloway did a good enough job despite being trounced by Dustin Poirier that people are still saying that he's got a bright future. I can't say I disagree but I'm still more excited about Poirier's future as I remain more impressed by him every time I see him.
- Alex Caceres lost his fight against Edwin Figueroa entirely because of a two point deduction for kicks to the groin. For those wondering, a two point deduction is completely legitimate and the violence of both kicks make me not too upset about it having happened.
- Chris Cope will hopefully never be on another UFC card. Props to Matt Brown for finishing him in violent fashion.