Yesterday, UFC 143 brought us a new Interim Welterweight titleholder with Carlos Condit’s decision victory over the favored Nick Diaz. While many view this victory as controversial and perhaps even unwarranted, there are several reasons to view Condit’s performance as nothing short of masterful.
Let’s take a look at why Condit’s victory was a great performance in the Octagon on Saturday.
First of all, Condit landed more overall significant strikes than Diaz did, a huge motivating factor in the eyes of today’s MMA judges. According to FightMetric, Condit scored a total of 151 significant strikes, as compared to only 105 for Diaz. Diaz did seem to be pushing the action forward in the Octagon, but it also seemed that he was, at times, content to put his hands down and taunt Condit rather than moving in to add his own portion of significant strikes. Much of Condit’s success came in the form of leg kicks, which allowed him to use precision while staying out of harm’s way. He scored 18 power leg kicks and a total of 68 significant leg strikes. While many were outraged at his stick-and-move style, Condit’s striking gameplan kept him out of the pocket of one MMA’s most highly-touted boxers while scoring him much needed points of his own.
Condit also did more overall damage, and landed more significant strikes to the head during this bout. Condit landed twelve of his own, compared to eight for Diaz. This may not sound like a huge discrepancy, but when one looked at both fighters directly after the bout on Saturday night, Diaz no doubt appeared to have taken the most damage, with a sizeable cut under his eyes and intermittent bruising. Condit had a small black eye but otherwise looked to be in relatively good shape for having survived five full rounds with a fighter that many thought was the next to derail GSP for the Welterweight title. This has to be taken into full account when scoring the bout for the judges, who, being ringside, can clearly see that Condit did more damage to his opponent with strikes.
Also knowing his opponent to be a very talented boxer, Condit used great movement to avoid taking damage. These angles and footwork were top-notch, and obviously frustrated the always ready-to-brawl Diaz. He did use a very elusive style derided by many fans, but his constant ducking and jumping in and out of the pocket seemed to be the kryptonite for the well-known standup game of Diaz. It is nothing short of amazing that Condit outclassed Diaz in footwork and movement, areas that Diaz is highly touted for due to his seemingly endless cardio.
Diaz did utilize his vast BJJ background in the fifth round, taking Condit’s back and winning the round, but it was not enough to pull out the decision. Condit, a fighter previously known for his always looking to finish his opponents, stayed just far enough from Diaz, not get caught up in his opponent’s comfort zone. Landing a higher volume of quality strikes, he fought effectively, utilizing his great footwork and angles to cut off the strengths of his favored opponent.
While not the explosive brawl that most fans were hoping for, Carlos Condit brought a solid gameplan to the cage and executed it with surgical precision on February 4, earning himself the UFC Interim Welterweight championship in the process.