The Ultimate Fighting Championship returned to the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada tonight for UFC 143: “Diaz vs Condit.” The event was headlined by a UFC Interim Welterweight Championship bout between Nick Diaz and “The Natural Born Killer” Carlos Condit.
Also on the card, Fabricio “Vai Cavalo” Werdum returned to the Octagon to face fellow heavyweight contender Roy “Big Country” Nelson. Elsewhere, former welterweight title challenger Josh Koscheck squared off with Mike Pierce. MMARising.com has live play-by-play for tonight’s card.
UFC Interim Welterweight Championship
“The Natural Born Killer” Carlos Condit vs Nick Diaz
Condit landed a series of leg kicks to open the fight and circled away from a Diaz clinch attempt. Condit missed with a head kick and ate a left cross counter. Diaz closed in with punches and landed four before Condit circled out. Head kicks were exchanged and Diaz landed a one-two. Condit resumed kicking at Diaz’s lead leg, but Diaz countered with kicks of his own.
A combination and a body kick from Condit seemed to anger Diaz and he began to taunt. Condit landed more kicks and missed with a spinning elbow. Punches were exchanged in close and Diaz landed to the head and body. Condit responded with a leg kick and a glancing spinning elbow strike. A one-two landed for Condit late in the round and he kept Diaz at bay with front kicks. 10-9 Condit.
Condit again kept his distance in the second round and threw kicks and a flying knee. Diaz punched his way into a clinch, but Condit quickly broke away. A spinning backfist partially landed for Condit and he landed more leg kicks. Diaz put his hands down and began taunting, then threw two quick punches. Condit kept his composure and stuck to his arsenal of kicks including one to the face.
Diaz closed in with two lead right hooks and a combination. Right hooks landed for both and Condit followed with a kick-punch combo before backing away. Diaz pushed the pace with punches, but Condit’s counter kicks remained effective. Diaz flurried to the body and Condit fought out with a knee. Condit jabbed and landed leg kicks in the final minute while staying largely out of Diaz’s range. 10-9 Condit.
The third round began with punches from both fighters and Condit threw a variety of kicks. Diaz countered with combinations, but Condit’s defence was solid and he stayed outside of Diaz’s range. Condit flashed out head kicks and continued to target Diaz’s lead leg. More kicks and a flurry scored for Condit and Diaz answered right back with a kick to the upper body and a one-two.
Diaz grazed a kick off of Condit’s chin and he began to mix up his strikes to try to set up combinations. Condit stuck to the outside and landed leg and body kicks. Diaz flurried and Condit circled out. A jumping kick set up a solid right cross for Condit and he landed more leg kicks. Diaz cracked him with a pair of left hands, but Condit replied with a flying knee and a standing elbow. Both landed kicks before the bell. 10-9 Condit.
Condit continued to frustrate Diaz by circling and picking his shots with single leg kicks. Diaz ducked under a head kick and threw a counter one-two but missed. Condit jabbed and landed a front kick to the face. Diaz tried to pin him in a corner, but could not and resorted to clinching for a takedown. Condit stayed up and landed a combination before backing away.
Diaz tried to clinch again and Condit evaded. Condit landed more kicks and circled on the outside as Diaz chased him down. A right hook to the body and a leg kick landed for Condit and he followed with a kick-punch combo punctuated by a head kick. Condit landed a knee and the fighters traded kicks. Diaz caught a front kick, but Condit pulled his leg free and avoided two kicks from Diaz. 10-9 Condit.
Both fighters landed leg and body kicks in the first minute of round five and Diaz appeared to be picking up the pace. Condit’s strategy of kicking from the outside remained very effective and Diaz came up short with counters. Three straight kicks missed for Diaz and Condit landed a hard leg kick. He followed with a right hook and a head kick. Diaz clinched and Condit quickly broke free.
More leg kicks were exchanged and Diaz ducked under a head kick. A knee and a right hook scored for Condit, as well as a combination seconds later. Diaz landed a nice one-two and took Condit’s back. He dragged him to the mat and tried to set up an armbar and a rear-naked choke. Condit defended and rolled for a kneebar at the bell. 10-9 Diaz, barely. Very close round and a close fight overall.
Winner: Carlos Condit by Unanimous Decision (49-46, 49-46, 48-47) after five rounds. He improves to 28-5-0 and becomes the UFC Interim Welterweight Champion.
Fabricio “Vai Cavalo” Werdum vs Roy “Big Country” Nelson
Werdum was effective with kicks early on and he tripped Nelson with a leg kick. Werdum quickly took Nelson’s back, but Nelson scrambled to his feet. Werdum scored with knees to the body, but Nelson countered well with uppercuts. More knees landed for Werdum and Nelson reversed the clinch against the cage. Werdum landed even more knees and a bloodied Nelson covered up.
Nelson tried to wear Werdum down with knees to the thighs, but he continued to bleed heavily from the face and time was called to check his cut. The fight continued and Werdum landed a knee and a leg kick. Nelson countered a one-two with a right hand and Werdum fell to his back. Nelson entered his guard and had to stand to escape an armbar. Werdum got to his feet and landed a right hand and a knee. He just missed with a spinning wheel kick as the round ended. 10-9 Werdum.
Nelson fell to a knee after Werdum drilled him with a knee to the body to begin round two, but he returned to his feet and landed a leg kick. Werdum landed grazing head kicks and right hooks, then followed with knees as Nelson tried to counter with looping punches. A hard leg kick and another head kick backed Nelson up, but he gamely continued to throw right hands.
Werdum landed a body kick and a knee, then a right hook to the body. He stayed on the outside and circled while landing occasional kicks to the lead leg and upper body. Nelson countered a knee with a right hook that forced Werdum to retreat momentarily. Werdum landed two more knees and Nelson connected with an overhand right just as the bell sounded. 10-9 Werdum.
Werdum ducked under a right hook from Nelson in the final round, but Nelson tried for a standing guillotine choke. Werdum freed himself and landed knees. Another knee and a left hand backed Nelson up to the cage and Werdum kept the pressure on with punches and more knees. Werdum landed a front kick to the face, but Nelson seemed to be unfazed.
The fighters traded punches and Werdum mixed in leg kicks. He threw a head kick that glanced off of the top of Nelson’s head. Werdum tried for a knee and Nelson ducked under it. He missed with a looping overhand right and Werdum scored with a switch kick and a combination. Werdum landed jabs and a right hook to the body in the final seconds. 10-9 Werdum.
Winner: Fabricio Werdum by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) after three rounds. He improves to 15-5-1.
Josh Koscheck vs Mike Pierce
Pierce closed the distance right away and looked for a takedown. Koscheck stayed on his feet and landed a knee to the body. Pierce landed a hard uppercut and a follow-up right hook as he broke away from the clinch. Pierce jabbed and dropped levels in search of a takedown, but Koscheck again stuffed it and the fighters separated.
Pierce stunned Koscheck with a right hook, but Koscheck answered back with a hard right hand of his own and both men threw power punches in close. Koscheck countered a one-two with a left hook and he landed a right hook soon after. Pierce latched onto a leg and backed Koscheck up to the cage. 10-9 Koscheck.
Pierce clinched early in the second round and the fighters battled for position against the cage. Koscheck backed away and Pierce jabbed. An inadvertent clash of heads opened a cut on the top of Pierce’s head, but he continued to find a home for his jab. Koscheck connected with quick punches and attempted a knee from a Thai clinch.
Pierce backed Koscheck up against the fence, but Koscheck landed a knee to the body. He circled away from the clinch and time was called after Pierce was poked in the eye. Action resumed and Koscheck took Pierce down against the cage. Pierce worked back to his feet and punches were exchanged as the round came to a close. 10-9 Koscheck.
Pierce finally managed to get Koscheck down to the mat in the final round, but Koscheck promptly scrambled to his feet. He landed a one-two and an uppercut. Pierce answered with short punches and a knee while holding onto a Thai clinch. He landed a lead left hook soon after and defended against a Koscheck takedown attempt. Referee Herb Dean separated the fighters and Pierce jabbed.
Pierce was poked in the eye again and time was called. The fight continued and Koscheck was not deducted a point. Pierce jabbed again and landed a right hook. Koscheck fired back with a combination and a left hook to the body. He took Pierce down, but Pierce stood and landed a spinning elbow at the bell. 10-9 Pierce. Fight could go either way after three very close rounds.
Winner: Josh Koscheck by Split Decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29) after three rounds. He improves to 17-5-0.
Renan “Barao” Pegado vs Scott “Young Guns” Jorgensen
Barao opened the fight with a hard kick aimed at Jorgensen’s head. Jorgensen blocked it with his hand and the fighters traded leg kicks. A spinning back kick and a flying knee sent Jorgensen backpedalling and he was unsuccessful in trying to get Barao down to the mat. Barao jabbed and landed a front kick. Jorgensen answered with an overhand right and attempted a takedown.
Barao stayed on his feet and broke free of the clinch. Both fighters landed one-twos and Barao continued to mix up his strikes with leg kicks and quick punches. Jorgensen scored with a counter left hook and ate another leg kick. Barao reversed a clinch and pressed Jorgensen against the cage. He backed away and landed a spinning wheel kick to the face. 10-9 Barao.
Jorgensen dropped levels for a takedown to begin round two, but Barao stuffed it and resumed kicking at Jorgensen’s lead leg. The fighters exchanged punches and Barao backed Jorgensen up with right hands. He landed a spinning back kick to the body and Jorgensen pulled guard. Barao landed short punches from the top until Jorgensen scrambled to his feet.
Jorgensen pushed forward with a combination and began to find a home for his jab. Barao looked to put together one-twos and he landed a spinning back kick to the body. Punches were exchanged and Barao landed a nice right hand. He followed with a leg kick and another right hook, but Jorgensen landed two more jabs late in the round. 10-9 Barao.
Jorgensen kicked off the action in the final round with an overhand right and a quick two-punch combo. Barao landed leg kicks and the fighters traded jabs. Barao connected with a flurry that set off a brief exchange of power punches. The pace began to slow somewhat until Barao threw a flying knee. Soon after, he threw another spinning wheel kick that glanced off of Jorgensen’s chin.
Jorgensen bloodied the nose of Barao with jabs and landed a handful of right hooks, but Barao countered effectively with two-punch combos and leg kicks. Two more hard leg kicks scored for Barao and Jorgensen checked a third. In the final seconds, both fighters landed punches and Barao narrowly missed with a spinning back kick. 10-9 Barao.
Winner: Renan Barao by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) after three rounds. He improves to 28-1-0, 1 NC.
Ed “Short Fuse” Herman vs Clifford Starks
An uppercut from Starks wobbled Herman early on and Starks followed with a right hook. Herman quickly regained his composure and threw a series of uppercuts of his own. Starks pinned him against the fence and landed short punches as Herman countered with knees. Starks backed away and landed a hard right cross. Another powerful right scored for Starks and he remained aggressive with punches.
Herman landed a grazing uppercut and clinched. Starks backed him up to the cage again and the fighters battled for position. Herman landed two knees and a pair of uppercuts. He snuck in standing elbows and another knee. Starks cracked him with another right hand, but Herman scored a takedown. Herman landed short elbows, but Starks swept and punched from the top until the bell. 10-9 Starks.
Starks opened round two with a right hook and the fighters inadvertently clashed heads. Starks backed Herman up to the cage, but Herman swept out his leg and moved straight to mount. Starks gave up his back and Herman worked to secure a rear-naked choke. Herman readjusted his grip and got his arm under Starks’s chin. Starks rolled, but had nowhere to go and tapped out.
Winner: Ed Herman by Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) at 1:43 of round two. He improves to 20-8-0.
(Undercard results and play-by-play on Page Two.)