On overcast and dreary Superbowl Sunday morning, all I can think about is UFC 143 and the fallout from that card. Twitter and Facebook exploded with personal score cards and outrage following the announcement of Carlos Condit's decision victory over Nick Diaz. Full disclosure I had the fight 48-47 Condit.
Condit clearly won rounds 1 & 4, while Diaz clearly won 2 & 5 and round 3 seems to be the swing round. Now some people are saying that Diaz needs to be given rounds based on Octagon Control and Aggression. Carlos Condit's performance here is a prime example that Octagon Control does not simply mean "the guy coming forward". Condit controlled the distance for much of the fight but in the rounds he won he had clear generalship of the space between fighters. Condit's ideal distance for striking seemed to be an inch further away than where Diaz felt comfortable, and the cat-and-mouse game over that distance made for a very interesting fight.
- On social outlets and here on Bloody Elbow I've seen people accusing people of a Kalib Starnes leveling of running. First of all, I highly suspect that people who claim that have not watched the infamous Starnes vs Quarry match, because if you have seen that you would know nothing we have seen before or since has ever come close to that. Secondly, escape situations that are disadvantageous is a completely legitimate part of fight. Go look at Nick Diaz fights and you'll see that Diaz's offense comes from trapping guys against the fence, getting them to shell up and overwhelming them with punches. Every time Condit felt his back on the fence, he slipped a punch and escaped out back to the center of the Octagon. This happens in boxing all the time, guys don't want to get trapped in corners. It isn't running, it is escaping a bad position, like how guys get out of side control.
- Can we please stop acting like Roy Nelson is a weight-watchers membership away from being a Top 10 Heavyweight? Nelson is a nice fighter at Heavyweight but he does not have elite level skills and Fabricio Werdum showed this pretty clearly. Werdum has always had good clinch striking, but his striking at range looked much better and on the ground, well Nelson wanted nothing to do with Werdum's guard. Yes, Nelson is a Renzo Gracie black belt, but there are black belts and then there are ADCC champions. Werdum beat Nelson in every aspect of that fight, and Nelson's weight had nothing to do with it, he was not skilled enough to resist.
- Oh and please don't start beating the 'Nelson needs to go to 205' drum. More athletic, more skilled opponents are not going help Nelson's career. Nelson is at the right weight for him, he is just never going to contend at that weight.
- Josh Koscheck looked awful. And we shouldn't be surprised, Kos was a member of the original TUF cast. How many guys from that original season are still winning relevant fights in the UFC? The old guard is fading out at Welterweight and it seems Koscheck is the next perennial contender who will no longer be contending. Mike Pierce should have won that fight.
- Oh and Herb Dean needed to take a point from Koscheck for that eye poke, at least. After taking two points from Alex Caceres, how can Dean justify not taking one point from Koscheck after warning him about extending those fingers moments before the eye poke?
more after the jump...
- Ed Herman's takedown was sweet. Love seeing Judo techniques working their way into more and more MMA fighter's clinch game.
- Matt Riddle looked like complete garbage and won based on the "Leonard Garica Effect". Riddle fights to his detriment and does not listen to his corner. He gets put in with a real, serious UFC welterweight and he gets killed.
- On the other end of the spectrum, Matt Brown did an excellent job of listening to his corner. In the break between Rounds 1 and 2, Brown's corner told him that Cope dropped his left hand when Brown punched to the body. First thing Brown did in Round 2 was throw a jab to the body and then an overhand right. Coming after the Matt Riddle fight, it was impressive to see a fighter accepting coaching so well. And the fight ending sequence was set up by a body shot followed by right hand.
- Alex Caceres deserves another shot in the UFC. I thought he won that fight. He arguably won all three rounds before point deductions. That said, this was not a very technical fight. Brookhouse said it on Twitter, it looked like two BJJ white belts who had been rolling for 2 and 3 months respectively. One was bad and the other was worse. Figueroa is turing into giving up his back into an art form and Caceres didn't seem to understand that the arm has to be under the chine to finish a choke.
- Joe Rogan's love affair with both Gable Grip RNCs and Diamond MMA cup talk continued in the Caceres/Figueroa fight.
- I liked the new opening, but I would have liked to seen more submissions or ground positions.