After an extremely closely contested fight Carlos Condit was announced as the new UFC welterweight interim champion, earning a unanimous decision victory over Nick Diaz.
The two contrasting styles of the men could be seen in the first round. Diaz was all about pushing the pace and looking to engage with his hands, while Condit was utilizing movement, keeping out of punching range as much as possible and instead looking to use his leg kicks to slow down his opponent.
Condit’s strategy certainly seemed to frustrate Diaz somewhat as he began to talk to him in the final couple of minutes, urging him to come at him and fight. Condit stuck to his gameplan though and so it made for a very close opening round.
Diaz continued to taunt Condit in the second round, even opening his arms wide at times encouraging him to strike. He was also looking to clinch with him at times in an attempt to get him to stay in one place long enough to land some punches on.
There was one moment of classic Diaz in the round as he pressed forward and got Condit up against the cage, allowing him to unleash with a barrage of blows to the head and body.
Condit had a couple of nice body shots of his own during the round though and was still using his leg kicks to score points too, and his movement in general was still having the effect of stopping Diaz from landing strikes in the same kind of volume that we’ve seen from him in previous fights.
At the same time it’s Diaz who was pushing the pace throughout the round, so it’s another tough one to score.
The third was again close, but Condit looked to be getting slightly the better of it with his counter striking style and abilitiy to fluidly throw either hands or feet at a moments notice paying off.
Diaz had a few notable moments of his own, landing hard with straight punches down the pipe, but he wasn’t badly hurting Condit with them and those moments weren’t coming frequently enough to decisively win him the round.
In the fourth a familiar pattern continues. Diaz presses forward with mean intentions, but can’t get off with his combinations and often has to resort to single strikes, while Condit continually circles out of harms way while managing to find openings to fire off counter strikes and in particular kicks to the legs and body.
The only change to the action is a few attempts from Diaz to take Condit down, but he is unsuccessful and unless something drastic happens this one looks to be heading to a very close decision.
Diaz started off the final round by taking a leaf out of Condit’s book and landing a series of kicks.
A minute later it was Condit who was retaliating with kicks off his own, and he found a home for a head kick, the most significant strike of the round so far.
Diaz goes for a takedown, but again Condit shrugs him off.
With just a minute to go Diaz finally finds a way to get the fight to the floor, managing to spin behind Condit, take his back and drag him to the mat. He looked for a choke, but Condit is wise to it and fights it off, managing to break free just as the bell sounds.
Down to the judges and they’ve got a hell of a job to sort this one out given the close nature of the fight.
They take their time over the decision, but in the end they see it unanimously and they see it in favor of Carlos Condit (48-47, 49-46 x2) who is now the UFC’s interim welterweight champion.
Really you could make an argument for either man winning – Condit’s strategy worked well at nullifying the worst of Diaz’s offense and he landed the greater volume of strikes, but at the same time Diaz was the aggressor throughout, pushing the pace and certainly taking the lions share of ‘Octagon control’.
Condit gets it though, and that means he’s booked himself a blockbuster fight with Georges St.Pierre later in the year.