UFC 143: Carlos Condit crowned interim welterweight champion
Rob Nash looks back at Carlos Condit's victory over Nick Diaz to win interim welterweight championship belt in Las Vegas
Carlos Condit wins interim welterweight championship belt
It was a huge victory for Carlos Condit as he defeated Nick Diaz by an unanimous decision to become the new interim welterweight champion of the world. The victory earns Condit the right to face current welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre in November to unify the belts.
Condit was well prepared for Diaz’s challenge and he played a very smart fight in making sure not to get pushed up against the cage to avoid the brutal boxing combinations of his Californian opponent.
The bout lasted 25 minutes in what was a close fight and as predicted neither fighter, for the most part, had any intention of taking the fight to the ground.
In the first round, it was a kickboxing match, with both fighters taking time to feel each other out. The second was all Diaz as he managed to unload his trademark boxing combinations, connecting with hooks to the body and face from all angles. He began to taunt his opponent, which clearly affected Condit as he got noticeably stiff with his striking.
Just when it looked as though Condit presented no real threat to his 28-year-old rival, he found his rhythm in the third round, landing several strikes and connected with a beautiful head kick. In the fourth round, a visibly frustrated Diaz continued to push the pace but he was unable to land any significant strikes as Condit continued to circle to the centre of the octagon, preventing Diaz from implementing his game.
The fifth and final round saw Condit in control once again, landing kicks to the legs and body until the last minute of the round when, much to the surprise of the crowd, Diaz managed to take Condit down and wrap him in a body triangle and attempt an arm bar, but the submission was fended off.
After the fight, a visibly upset Diaz, although congratulating the new champion, made the shocking revelation that he is contemplating a possible retirement from the sport while claiming he won the fight.
Nevertheless, it didn’t take away from the fact that Condit is a newly crowned champion and will now face off against St Pierre in what will be his toughest challenge yet.
Welcome back Fabricio Werdum
Fabricio Werdum returned to the UFC on Saturday night in style when he defeated Roy Nelson courtesy of an unanimous decision.
The Brazilian’s key to victory was undoubtedly his footwork and much improved striking. It looked as though it was going to be a short ending for Nelson in the first round when Werdum took his back early and looked to apply a rear naked choke.
But Nelson, no stranger to being trapped on the ground, used his technique to get out of the position and rose back to his feet. In the second round, we saw a much improved Werdum apply the Muay Thai clench and he delivered several knees, landing on the jaw of his American opponent – shots that would have knocked most heavyweights unconscious.
But Nelson, known for having one of the best chins in Mixed Martial Arts, was not going to go down easily and he kept pressing forward, looking to unload his overhand right, and in the third round he did. But it was not meant to be, as Werdum recovered quickly and stayed on the outside landing all sorts of kicks and punches, leaving Nelson in a bloody mess by the end.
‘Big Country’ showed great heart and determination but he was no match for the technical Brazilian who looked outstanding and put on the best performance of his career in the UFC. The knees he landed were some of the best seen in the octagon and mirrored the style of pound-for-pound the best fighter in the world, Anderson Silva.
Not even current champion Junior Dos Santos was able to do that much damage to Nelson and Werdum has proven he is one of the elite fighters in the division, moving towards title contention.