UFC 143: Diaz vs. Condit – Preview & Event Coverage
By Justin Bolduc
The UFC has made a habit of delivering solid events on Super Bowl weekend, and this weekend is no different. UFC 143, which takes place at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, features an interim welterweight title bout between former WEC champion Carlos Condit and former Strikeforce Champion Nick Diaz.
In an excellent, although overshadowed, co-main event is a heavyweight pairing between former IFL champion and The Ultimate Fighter 10 winner Roy Nelson against PRIDE and Strikeforce veteran Fabricio Werdum. The main card also features welterweights Josh Koscheck and Mike Pierce, as well as PDG’s Match-Up of the Night between bantamweights Renan “Barao” and Scott Jorgensen. The remaining main card bout, airing on pay-per-view, pits The Ultimate Fighter 3 finalist Ed Herman against undefeated Clifford Starks.
The preliminary card features six bouts, with two airing live on the UFC’s official Facebook page and the other four airing for free on FX. On the Facebook portion of the card welterweights Daniel Stittgen and Stephen Thompson each make their UFC debuts, while Rafael Natal faces undefeated Michael Kuiper.
On the FX portion of the preliminary card fan favorite Matt Riddle faces UFC newcomer Henry Martinez and “The Immortal” Matt Brown meets The Ultimate Fighter 13 semi-finalist Chris Cope. Also featured is a stand-out bantamweight bout between Alex “Bruce Leeroy” Caceres and Edwin Figueroa and a featherweight bout between contender Dustin Poirier and UFC newcomer Max Holloway.
Nick Diaz (26-7, 1 NC) vs. Carlos Condit (27-5)
UFC Interim Welterweight Championship
In what could potentially be the best fight of the year UFC contenders Nick Diaz (7-4 UFC) and Carlos Condit (4-1 UFC) face off this weekend for the UFC interim welterweight title. Each fighter enters this bout already tasting championship gold in the past, with Diaz rejoining the UFC as the Strikeforce welterweight champion and Condit joining the UFC as the WEC welterweight champion.
Diaz enters Saturday’s bout on an impressive eleven-fight win streak and having won fifteen of his last seventeen. During his streak Diaz became the first Strikeforce welterweight champion by stopping Dream welterweight champion Marius Zaromskis. Diaz then traveled to Japan where he submitted PRIDE veteran Hayato “Mach” Sakurai with an armbar.
Diaz then earned a decision in a rematch with K.J. Noons, the last man to defeat him, to defend his Strikeforce title. Diaz then defended his title twice more, submitting Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos and knocking out Paul Daley. Most recently Diaz rejoined the UFC where he won a one-sided decision over former UFC champion B.J. Penn.
In twenty-six professional victories Diaz has stopped eight opponents by submission and 13 by knockout or TKO. He holds notable career victories over Drew Fickett, Muhsin Corbbrey, Frank Shamrock, Josh Neer, and Gleison Tibau.
Carlos Condit first made waves with hardcore fans with an impressive appearance in the 2006 Rumble on the Rock welterweight tournament where he earned wins over Frank Trigg and Renato “Charuto” Verissimo. He had then went on to make a name for himself by becoming the last ever WEC welterweight champion.
Since losing his UFC debut in a fight of the night performance against Martin Kampmann, Condit has found himself on a four-fight win streak. Condit’s first UFC win came by split decision against fellow contender Jake Ellenberger. Condit was then on the verge of losing a decision against prospect Rory MacDonald, but a late-fight rally saw the former WEC title holder stop his opponent with ground and pound with seven seconds remaining in the bout. Most recently Condit earned a pair of first round knockouts over former contender Dan Hardy and previously undefeated Dong Hyun Kim.
Condit enters his thirty-third professional mixed martial arts bout having won thirteen times each by submission or TKO. He owns notable career wins over Brock Larson, Carlo Prater, Hiromitsu Miura, John Alessio, and Koji Oishi.
Roy Nelson (16-6) vs. Fabricio Werdum (14-5-1)
Roy Nelson (3-2 UFC) enters Saturday’s bout coming off a win over PRIDE’s 2006 Open-Weight Grand Prix champion Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic. Prior, Nelson was on a two-fight skid against current champion Junior Dos Santos and former champion Frank Mir.
Nelson entered the UFC as a former IFL champion by way of The Ultimate Fighter. Nelson reached the finals on the tenth season where he knocked out previously undefeated Brendan Schaub. Nelson followed up with a thirty-nine second knockout over prospect Stefan Struve.
Nelson owns nine of his career wins by knockout or TKO and five by submission. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt owns notable victories over Mario Rinaldi, The Ultimate Fighter 2 finalist Brad Imes, Antoine Jaoude, and UFC veteran Fabiano Scherner.
Fabricio Werdum (2-2 UFC) first joined the UFC after a successful PRIDE career. A contract dispute saw Werdum leave the promotion where he compiled a 3-1 record, losing his most recent Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix semi-final match-up against Alistair Overeem.
Werdum won his first post-UFC match-up against Mike Kyle in his Strikeforce debut by first round guillotine choke. Werdum then out-pointed Antonio Silva before becoming the first man (excluding Kohsaka’s cut) to defeat former PRIDE champion Fedor Emelianenko, submitting the Russian with a first round triangle-armbar.
Werdum, who is world renowned for his Brazilian jiu-jitsu prowess, owns eight mixed martial arts victories by submission and four by TKO. Werdum owns notable career wins over former Strikeforce champion Alistair Overeem, former UFC contender Gabriel Gonzaga, Brandon Vera, Roman Zentsov, and Tengiz Tedoradze.
Renan “Barao” (27-1, 1 NC) vs. Scott Jorgensen (13-4)
PDG’s Match-Up of the Night
“Barao” (2-0 UFC) has made a name for himself quickly with an impressive record and a seventeen-fight win streak – twenty-seven if you don’t include a no contest. “Barao” enters Saturday’s bout having most recently won two WEC appearances by submission and his two UFC appearances.
In his WEC debut “Barao” took two and a half rounds to submit Anthony Leone by armbar. He followed up with a first round rear naked choke over Chris Cariaso before the WEC merged with the UFC. In his UFC debut “Barao” out-pointed Cole Escovedo to earn a unanimous decision before most recently submitting top-ten ranked Brad Pickett with a first round rear naked choke.
The Nova Uniao stand-out has earned thirteen of his wins by submission and six by TKO. “Barao” was awarded his Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt in September by Andre Pederneiras, and just celebrated his twenty-fifth birthday on Tuesday.
Scott Jorgensen (2-0 UFC) quickly became a fan favorite and a contender with his tenacious style in the WEC. During his time in the WEC, Jorgensen amassed a 7-3 record.
Jorgensen found himself on an impressive five-fight win streak to earn a shot at Dominick Cruz’ WEC bantamweight title. Jorgensen first stopped Noah Thomas, before out-pointing highly-regarded Takeya Mizugaki. He then submitted Chad George in thirty-one seconds with a nasty guillotine choke before avenging a previous loss to Antonio Banuelos. A decision over Brad Pickett earned Jorgensen the shot at Cruz, which he lost in a one-sided decision to the champion.
Jorgensen has since rebounded however, winning his UFC debut by knockout in the first round over Ken Stone. Most recently Jorgensen won a unanimous decision over Jeff Curran at UFC 137, setting himself up on a two-fight win streak.
Additional Thoughts – Main Card
*Welterweight Josh Koscheck (16-5) was originally scheduled to face Carlos Condit, but after a line-up shift now sees himself facing tough, but unranked Mike Pierce (13-4). Koscheck (13-5 UFC) most recently knocked out former champion Matt Hughes to rebound from a championship loss to Georges St. Pierre. Koscheck owns notable career wins over Frank Trigg, Anthony Johnson, Paul Daley, Chris Lytle, TUF 1 winner Diego Sanchez, and Dustin Hazelett.
Pierce (5-2 UFC) has proven a tough fighter in a deep division, but has yet to crack into the top-ten ranks. After winning his promotional debut over Brock Larson, Pierce lost to Jon Fitch. Pierce then established a three-fight win streak over Julio Paulino, Amilcar Alves, and Kenny Robertson before losing a split decision to Johny Hendricks. Most recently however Pierce has earned a split decision over Paul Bradley.
*The opening bout of the pay-per-view broadcast sees TUF 3 finalist Ed Herman (19-8) take on undefeated Clifford Starks (8-0). Herman (6-5 UFC) enters Saturday’s bout on a two-fight win streak after stopping Tim Credeur with strikes and submitting Kyle Noke with a heel hook. Despite a shakey UFC career, Herman has established himself as a strong fighter in the middle of the division, owning wins over David Loiseau, Joe Doerksen, and Scott Smith.
Starks (1-0 UFC) enters his second UFC appearance undefeated in eight outings. Starks won his UFC debut over Dustin Jacoby by unanimous decision following a win in Shark Fights over Artenas Young.
UFC 143 Fight Card
Main Card (Pay-Per-View):
Nick Diaz vs. Carlos Condit (UFC Interim Welterweight Championship)
Roy Nelson vs. Fabricio Werdum (Co-Main Event)
Josh Koscheck vs. Mike Pierce
Renan “Barao” vs. Scott Jorgensen (PDG’s Match-Up of the Night)
Ed Herman vs. Clifford Starks
Preliminary Card (FX):
Dusitn Poirier vs. Max Holloway
Alex “Bruce Leeroy” Caceres vs. Edwin Figueroa
Matt Brown vs. Chris Cope
Matt Riddle vs. Henry Martinez
Preliminary Card (Facebook):
Rafael Natal vs. Michael Kuiper
Daniel Stittgen vs. Stephen Thompson
Post your comments directly below! You can also discuss the latest MMA & Video Game News in the PunchDrunkGamer Forums and don’t forget to Follow PDG on Twitter @PunchDrunkGamer and Like the PDG Official Facebook Page!