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UFC 143 main card recap: Carlos Condit earns interim title with decision victory over Nick Diaz

Carlos Condit used discipline and a sound game plan to solve the riddle of Nick Diaz.

“The Natural Born Killer” used punishing kicks and very active footwork to avoid being trapped against the cage, effectively neutralizing the main strength of Diaz over five rounds of action en route to a unanimous decision victory. The win also earns Condit the interim UFC welterweight title.

Instead of engaging in a war of words with Diaz, Condit used his kicks to counter the verbal barrage of a stalking Diaz to start the fight. As Diaz advanced, Condit continued to land kicks before disengaging close to the cage and circling away to reset and launch his stick-and-move attacks. Diaz was able to touch the body of Condit, but not with his usual volume of punches as Condit used his footwork to avoid any serious Diaz-esque barrages on his way to an early lead after one round.

Diaz started to find his rhythm in the second, but again ate multiple kicks as Condit continued to circle and found a way to avoid being pressed up against the cage, which is something past opponents have failed to do. It would set the tone for the rest of the fight. Condit tried to open up with a flying knee and a spinning elbow but missed as Diaz continued to come forward. Diaz finished the round strong, tripling up on his jab and finding a home for a couple of right hooks.

In the third, Condit started to put together some effective kick-punch combinations as Diaz continued to come forward and press the action. Diaz again tried to cut off the cage and force Condit to fight with his back on the fence, but Condit stuck to his game plan, countering effectively before circling out and taking the center of the octagon. “The Natural Born Killer” then scored with more leg kicks as a frustrated Diaz gave chase around the cage. Diaz finally got off a short flurry at close range but after three rounds of action, it looked as if Diaz may be behind on the scorecards.

Going into the fourth round, neither guy looked fatigued, and Condit proved that he was ready to go into the championship rounds, still remaining disciplined and firing off more blistering leg kicks. Diaz landed a stiff counter left hand, but was unable to put together his patented multiple-punch combinations as Condit again was able to disengage before taking significant damage.

Diaz came out in the final round with a sense of urgency, firing off multiple kicks of his own before landing a nice combination to the head of Condit. After a few exchanges that saw both fighters score, Diaz was finally able to drag Condit to the ground and secure back control. Once there Diaz started working for a rear-naked-choke, but seemed fixated on setting up a submission attempt on one of Condit’s arms. Diaz secured a body triangle as time wound down on the bout, and went for the arm with under ten seconds to go. Condit avoided the armbar, and scrambled to end the round on top of a turtled up Diaz.

When the scorecards came in, it would be Carlos Condit (28-5 MMA, 5-1 UFC) that would be the winner via unanimous decision with scores of 48-47, 49-46, and 49-46.

“It’s pretty surreal,” Condit said. “I couldn’t have done it without my coaches. I did what they told me, and I walked away with the victory.”

In his post-fight interview, a frustrated Nick Diaz (27-8 MMA, 7-5 UFC) hinted at retirement.

“You guys pay me a ton, but I don’t think I’m getting enough to keep going on,” Diaz told Rogan. “I don’t need this [expletive]. I pushed this guy back the whole fight. … I don’t want to play this game anymore.”

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