Top MMA News Breaks Down UFC 143: Diaz vs. Condit
The UFC returns to the ever popular Mandalay Bay Events Center for their Superbowl weekend fight card in Las Vegas, Nevada on February 4th. After a long and stressful couple of months, Carlos ‘The Natural Born Killer’ Condit and Nick Diaz will go head to head for the UFC Interim Welterweight championship to see who will eventually take on current Champion Georges ‘Rush’ St. Pierre while he heals from surgery. The five main card bouts will be live on Pay-Per-View. There will be four preliminary bouts that will be on FX in the U.S. and Rogers Sportsnet in Canada while the first two bouts of the night are likely to be aired on Facebook.
Nick Diaz (26-7) vs. Carlos Condit (27-5) for the UFC Interim Welterweight Championship
We have all heard the story over and over again. UFC Welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre was originally scheduled to fight Nick Diaz at UFC 137. After Diaz went missing for a while, the UFC took away his opportunity and gave it to Carlos Condit. St-Pierre suffered an injury and the main event spot was suddenly given to Nick Diaz and BJ Penn, where Diaz took out his anger on the face of Penn as he cruised to a very one sided decision. He used that victory to advertise his personality and called out St. Pierre which caused him to rage and ask for Diaz instead of Condit. The UFC then took Condit out and put Diaz in. One major St-Pierre surgery later and we have arrived to potentially one of the most entertaining matchups the organization could set up. Carlos Condit is coming off of an extremely impressive performance against Dong Hyun Kim where he rocked the Korean grappler with a flying knee and immediately finished the fight as soon as he hit the ground. Condit is well known as a finisher and of the 32 pro fights he has been in, only 3 have gone to decision. He is very well rounded and will need to bring his punishing style to the Octagon against Diaz, who has yet to lose since his doctor’s stoppage loss to KJ Noons back in 2007. This fight will no doubt be a war as both guys don’t come to prance around the cage. These are two fast paced, high action fighters that have the cardio of a couple of Bantamweights. The grappling advantage has to go to Diaz as he has proven that he is one of the most talented Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioners in the sport. Condit may be the better wrestler but he will not want to roll on the ground with Diaz. As for the stand up, they are two completely different fighters. Condit carries the versatility, throwing a wide variety of knees, kicks and punches while Diaz is an extremely unorthodox boxer that gets the job done. Diaz will likely frustrate Condit as he did to Penn and have him confused as to what to do. There is a decent chance he will look like his little brother Nate when he fought Donald Cerrone. Expect a variety of shots to the head and body of Condit as he batters him en route to a date with Georges St-Pierre later this year.
Prediction: Diaz via TKO Round 3
Who will be the new UFC Interim Welterweight champion?
- Nick Diaz (58%, 38 Votes)
- Carlos Condit (42%, 28 Votes)
Total Voters: 66
Fabricio Werdum (14-5-1) vs. Roy Nelson (16-6)
After being the first man to truly beat Fedor Emilianenko, Fabricio Werdum’s stock could not have possibly been higher. He went on to fight in a lacklustre decision loss to Alistair Overeem but is now slated for his return to the Octagon against ‘Big Country’ Roy Nelson. Nelson has shown a lot of issues recently in his game as his jiu-jitsu has looked a little iffy while he may be far too reliant on his one punch KO power which he showed in his first two UFC bouts. Nelson is the less talented fighter and there is a decent chance that he will need to depend on that one punch KO power or else he will need to turn this into a fight of strength by grinding out Werdum to victory. There is no doubt he has the strength advantage, but that may be the only real advantage he has. He showed in his last few fights he does not have the greatest cardio and can be beat up on his back or when he is up against the cage. Werdum has shown much improved striking, even in the Overeem bout where he statistically out struck the K-1 Champion. He has solid speed and technique in his stand up and trains with some of the best in the world which should give him the advantage as he manages to keep the fight standing for a decision win.
Prediction: Werdum via Unanimous Decision
Josh Koscheck (16-5) vs. Mike Pierce (13-4)
After finally getting back into the win column against Matt Hughes, Josh Koscheck is getting himself into a fight that he may not want to be a part of. Mike Pierce has proven that he can frustrate anyone in the Welterweight division by using his size and his wrestling to get past his opponents. He gave Koscheck’s teammate, Jon Fitch, some trouble and it could be argued that he defeated Johny Hendricks when they fought this past August. There is no denying that he has a decent chance of beating Koscheck for his first big name victory of his career but Koscheck may have too much to offer. Although Pierce trains with some of the best wrestlers in MMA (Team Quests Dan Henderson and Chael Sonnen), Koscheck is a proven Division I wrestler and is one of the few successful college amateur wrestlers to translate his grappling game into MMA. The biggest issue with Koscheck is that his improved offensive striking has left him overly confident on the feet and his defensive striking has shown quite a few flaws. It all really started with getting knocked out by Paulo Thiago, then after earning a title shot, he was picked a part by champion Georges St. Pierre and most recently allowed Matt Hughes to hurt him on the feet. If he is able to get past those issues, he should be able to use his speed and striking advantage to get by Pierce.
Prediction: Koscheck via Unanimous Decision
Renan Barao (27-1) vs. Scott Jorgensen (13-4)
One of the best prospects in all of MMA, Renan Barao, is not a prospect anymore after he dominated English boxer Brad Pickett at his own game. Scott Jorgensen will undoubtedly be his stiffest test yet as the wrestler possesses some of the best ground and pound in the Bantamweight division. He is one of the few guys in the division that can posture up and put a guy to sleep on the ground; however, Barao is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt and should be able to nullify Jorgensen’s biggest strength and force the wrestler to struggle if the fight does get there. The quickness and precision of his rear naked choke on Pickett showed the killer instinct of the Brazilian, who has won 27 straight professional fights. Jorgensen will need to turn this fight into an ugly one if he wants to win this by slowing down the pace of the likely more superior overall fighter and he will need to use the cage and his power to his advantage. He can very well come out victorious if he makes Barao feel as uncomfortable as possible but Barao’s abilities are still far too underrated in the UFC. He will come out and prove that he is worthy of title contention in the UFC and should be able to earn that by mixing in his speed and technique as he beats up Jorgensen on the feet before Jorgensen feels the need to take the fight to the ground where Barao will use his superior grappling to submit the former Bantamweight title challenger. There is a decent chance we witness the Nova Uniao product in a title fight in 2012.
Prediction: Barao via Armbar Round 2
Ed Herman (19-8) vs. Clifford Starks (8-0)
After not fighting in all of 2010 due to injury, Ed Herman finally returned in 2011 and looked extremely impressive in his two fights. Herman will be taking on Arizona State wrestling product Clifford Starks who came out victorious in his UFC debut against Dustin Jacoby. Starks has top notch wrestling and he will need to use it against Herman who is the far more experienced fighter. Herman will need to utilize his jiu-jitsu game if the fight manages to make its way to the ground and he should be able to find some success considering he is a BJJ black belt, so much of this fight depends on how he will handle a big wrestler on top of him. Herman is the better striker and more proven on the feet. How will Starks handle his first shot on a UFC main card? He has quite a bit of potential in the sport and he is being given a major step up in competition. He has a long way to go in the sport but there is a good chance of an upset. Herman is a very good fighter and a heavy favourite coming into this fight but wrestling trumps a lot in MMA and I think we will see a long and hard fought decision victory for Starks. It will likely not be so pretty but he should be able to surprise many and get the job done.
Prediction: Starks via Unanimous Decision