Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
The UFC has a new interim welterweight champion: Carlos Condit, who won a hard-fought unanimous decision victory over Nick Diaz at UFC 143.
After 25 minutes of action inside the Octagon, Carlos Condit defeated Nick Diaz in a hard-fought unanimous decision at UFC 143. The victory earns Condit the UFC interim welterweight championship and the right to face No. 1 welterweight Georges St. Pierre, who is recuperating from a knee injury and expected to return late this year.
The judges scored the fight 49-46, 49-46 and 48-47 for Condit.
"Hats off to Nick Diaz," Condit said afterward. "He's a warrior. I've got nothing but admiration and respect for how he fights."
Diaz was so unhappy with the decision that he said afterward he might retire from the sport.
"That ain't right," Diaz said. "I pushed him back the whole fight. ... I think I'm done with this MMA. ... I don't need this s--t."
In a very close first round, both men took some time feeling each other out and then they proceeded to engage in a tough and even kickboxing exchange, with the fight never going to the ground and neither man wanting to take it there. Diaz appeared to be more comfortable with the pace of the fight as the first round ended.
In the second round it became more Diaz's fight, as he began to land more of his trademark high-volume punching. He also started to do more of his taunting. In his corner after the round, Condit's coach Greg Jackson said, "Don't fall for it when he's talking to you," apparently concerned that Condit was getting sucked into Diaz's fight.
In the third Condit began to make it more his own fight, mixing knees and elbows in with his punches and kicks and diversifying his striking. But Diaz landed some hard punches as well in a very competitive, exciting round that was just heating up after five minutes.
Condit was coming alive in the fourth round, landing good solid shots and maintaining just as active a pace as Diaz. The fourth was a very good round for Condit, who had to feel good about his chances heading into the fifth.
And at the start of the fifth Condit looked great, and Diaz looked like he was wearing down. However, as the fifth went on Diaz got a second wind, and in the final minute of the fifth round Diaz took Condit down and took his back. Diaz wrapped Condit up in a body triangle and nearly sunk in a rear-naked choke, but Condit managed to pull free just before the fight came to an end, and the judges decided that Condit had won it.
And now Condit will prepare to face St. Pierre.
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