Koscheck-Pierce, Jorgensen-Barao Planned For UFC 143Former UFC welterweight title challenger Josh Koscheck has been given a new opponent for UFC 143 on February 4, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Koscheck, who was scheduled to face Carlos Condit, now battles fellow wrestler Mike Pierce on the card. The bout was officially announced today.

Also targeted for UFC 143 is a bantamweight bout between rising star Scott “Young Guns” Jorgensen and Brazilian standout Renan “Barao” Pegado. Jorgensen has won seven of his past eight, with the lone defeat coming in a WEC title fight. Barao is unbeaten since his losing April 2005 pro debut.

Koscheck (16-5-0) returned from a nine-month injury hiatus and defeated former UFC Welterweight Champion Matt Hughes at UFC 135. He considered a move to 185 pounds, but received a marquee fight with Condit at 170 for next year. With Condit now stepping in to replace an injured Georges “Rush” St. Pierre against Nick Diaz at UFC 143, Koscheck will instead square off with Pierce (13-4-0), who has won four of his past five. Koscheck and Pierce possess excellent wrestling skills and much-improved striking. The winner will move one step up the welterweight ranks, though both fighters likely need a few big wins in order to reach title contention.

Jorgensen (13-4-0) has quickly risen to become one of the top bantamweight prospects in the sport. He fell short in a five-round title fight with then-WEC Bantamweight Champion Dominick “The Dominator” Cruz at WEC 53, but has bounced back with two solid wins inside the Octagon. Barao (27-1-0, 1 NC) holds one of the most impressive unbeaten streaks in MMA. The 24-year-old has won all but one of his 28 fights since falling in his pro debut and has finished 19 opponents to date. Barao won twice under the WEC banner before joining the ranks of the UFC, where he has since submitted Cole Escovedo and Brad Pickett, and a win over Jorgensen could position Barao for a UFC 135-pound title shot.

UFC 143: “Diaz vs Condit” takes place on February 4, 2012 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. The event features a UFC Interim Welterweight Championship bout between Nick Diaz and “The Natural Born Killer” Carlos Condit.



(Photo Credit: Sherdog.com)