UFC welterweight Carlos “The Natural Born Killer” Condit took home the UFC interim belt after frustrating Nick Diaz in a close five-round battle at UFC 143 Sunday in Las Vegas.
Condit utilized excellent movement to stay out of trouble and kept his distance for most of the fight, peppering leg kicks and quick combinations while dancing away from any major damage to win a unanimous decision over former Strikeforce champion Diaz.
The normally high-volume striker Diaz was the one moving forward for most of the fight, but couldn’t gain control as he struggled to keep Condit in front of him.
Diaz fired some good combinations, trapping Condit against the cage for brief exchanges in the early rounds, but spent more time trying to get into Condit’s head than actually connecting to it.
As early as the first round, Diaz dropped his hands and made shrugging gestures as if to ask Condit why he was moving back and avoiding direct exchanges. At the end of the second round, Diaz would stalk Condit with a staredown almost all the way back to Condit’s corner. Near the end of the fourth, Diaz grabbed a hold of Condit’s leg on the ground and refused to let go for a few moments after the bell rung.
Condit came into the fight with a clear-cut strategy and executed it perfectly. He never let Diaz get a groove in this fight, and though he never landed the big, heavy shots that he’s known for, he did enough damage in the standup to pull through with the decision.
In the fourth round, Condit landed a leg kick with his left leg then followed it with a high kick with his right that landed right on Diaz’s face. The combination drew a strong reaction from Condit’s trainer Greg Jackson, who raised his hands in triumph after the combination.
Diaz had his moments late in the fifth round as well, dragging Condit to the ground and dropping straight onto Condit’s back. Diaz nearly locked in a rear naked choke but Condit was able to survive and roll out of it as the fight ended.
Unfortunately for Diaz, that wasn’t enough for him to win the fight.
With the victory, Condit booked himself a fight with UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre, who is currently sidelined with an ACL injury.
Diaz hinted at retirement from the sport in his post-fight interview, clearly disagreeing with the judges’ decision, calling Condit’s strikes “baby kicks” and saying he wanted no part of the sport if that’s what it took to win fights.
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