Las Vegas, Nevada’s MGM Grand hosted UFC 143 this past weekend, and I must say I swung and missed on the two main events. Carlos Condit walked into his interim Welterweight Title bout with Nick Diaz with a sound game plan and a full tank of gas, and Heavyweight Fabrizio Werdum battered Roy Nelson mercilessly, and both earned solid wins. The big surprise is that Nick Diaz went from being the hottest commodity on the UFC roster, to possibly retired and never fighting again. Most telling about that situation is that the normally in control UFC President Dana White really looks at a loss on how to deal with Diaz. So where does the UFC go from here?
I am glad I was not a judge for the Diaz and Condit fight. It looks like most observers gave the first two rounds to Diaz and the third, fourth and fifth to Condit. at least that is how Dana had his scorecards. The pivotal fifth round is hard to score for Condit – it was relatively even round, but Diaz secured the back and forced Condit to spend the final minute of the round vigorously defending. I don’t know.
The fight was definitely close enough that it could have gone either way. It’s not like Diaz was robbed or that Nick absolutely trashed Condit and the judges are completely insane. This was a very close and hard fought fight, and Diaz did leave it to the judges.
Additionally, Condit did a lot of great things in the fight, and he definitely looked fresher going into the championship rounds. Though Diaz has a reputation for cutting up, Condit deserves some credit for marking Diaz’ face. The punch stat numbers show he had a higher rate of striking. Diaz, who is also know for his conditioning, looked tired.
So now Condit will face Georges St Pierre upon GSP’s return. Dana has mentioned a possible bout with Josh Koschek for Condit as he awaits GSP. I’m not sure I like that fight, but let’s talk another day about that. I would like to see Nick Diaz back, I really don’t care who he fights, but a Jon Fitch fight would pit two former number one contenders.
In the heavyweights, Fabrizio Werdum made a big return to the UFC by trashing veteran Roy Nelson. Nelson appears to be unable to break through against the top tier of heavyweights, and has now dropped three of four.
As for Werdum, his striking and his conditioning looked improved. Werdum needs a tough followup fight, perhaps against Frank Mir or Cain Velasquez. Werdum is going to have to keep improving and keep winning to earn a title shot.
Overall, the UFC would have been better off for marketing purposes if Nelson and Diaz had won, but in Condit and Werdum, they got the guys who were the better fighters this past weekend.