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Remembering the classic UFC bout between Carlos Condit and Nick Diaz

The welterweights met in a highly-anticipated main event at UFC 143 in Las Vegas.

Diaz , right, trades punches with Condit.
Diaz , right, trades punches with Condit.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

4 FEBRUARY, 2012. The Mandalay Events Centre, Las Vegas.

Two of the world’s most accomplished and feared fighters at 170lbs stare intently at each other from across the cage as a heaving crowd of almost 10,000 teeters on fever­ pitch.

It’s UFC 143 — the men in question are Carlos Condit and Nick Diaz, and they have been scheduled for a five-round contest to decide who will become the UFC’s interim champion, in the prolonged, injury­-enforced absence of Georges St­ Pierre.

Though, the consensus is, this pair will not require 25 minutes to settle things.

Back story

It’s a fairly convoluted one. Nick Diaz intermittently fought under the UFC banner between 2003 and 2006. When he finally left the company permanently, he fought for a plethora of other promotions, winning titles with the WEC and, latterly, Strikeforce. When his return to the UFC was secured in 2011, it was greeted with almost universal approval.

Diaz vacated his Strikeforce crown, and was scheduled to face St ­Pierre at UFC 137 on 29 October.

However, Diaz failed to show for a promotional press conference, compelling Dana White to pull him from the bout and give the shot to Carlos Condit, a former WEC champion who had been victorious in his last four bouts. Condit had been scheduled to fight BJ Penn in the co-­main event.

GSP then withdrew from the card due to a knee injury, so Condit elected not to compete, with Diaz and Penn subsequently matched in the main event.

Diaz thoroughly battered Penn over three rounds. During his post-­fight interview he claimed St­ Pierre — sitting cage­side­ — had faked his injury, which duly irked the champion.

In the post­-fight press conference, Dana White said GSP was so incensed that he demanded the UFC let him fight Diaz before Condit, and so it was decreed. However, he tore his ACL that December, so Diaz and Condit were finally paired off for UFC 143.

The fight

Nick Diaz developed a unique brand of fighting over his career, which rarely failed to excite. Initially a BJJ fighter, Diaz morphed into a fantastic boxer, and would literally walk opponents down while peppering them with jabs, straight rights and punishing body­ shots.

Although not blessed with a KO punch, the sheer volume of his punches was overwhelming. His capacity for punishment and penchant for antagonising foes completed the package. Condit, a consummate kick­boxer, was slightly more spectacular and, tellingly, cerebral.

Condit, along with his striking coach, Mike Wikeljohn, devised a strategy to negate the relentless march of Diaz. Condit avoided prolonged engagements, by landing his shots quickly. He varied his striking intelligently, utilising all four limbs which, in turn, kept Diaz wrong­-footed.

To be fair, Diaz hounded Condit for the duration, landing some considerable shots. And, although out-struck, he never looked in serious danger. Condit’s tactic proved a kind of death by a thousand cuts.

Aftermath

The judges awarded Condit the victory by unanimous decision: scoring it 49-­46, 48­-47 and 49-­46. It ended an 11 fight win-­streak for Diaz, who was left incredulous by the result. Many fans argued that Diaz had controlled the octagon and inflicted the more significant damage.

Both would go on to fight and lose to GSP in title fights, in each case by unanimous decision. Diaz once more left the UFC, prior to another return, while Condit would go on to lose to current champion Johny Hendricks and Tyron Woodley, before sustaining an ACL injury, currently preventing him from competing. Nick Diaz is set to face Anderson Silva at UFC 183.

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About the author:

Tom Rooney

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