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UFC 143 blog: Carlos Condit wins close decision over Nick Diaz

Fabricio Werdum administers a beating of Roy Nelson in co-main event

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Carlos Condit hits Nick Diaz with a right during their interim welterweight championship bout Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. Condit won a unanimous decision and will likely face Georges St. Pierre in November.

Updated Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012 | 10:20 p.m.

UFC 143 Condit vs. Diaz

Carlos Condit connects with a flying knee to Nick Diaz during their interim welterweight championship bout Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. Condit won a unanimous decision and will likely face Georges St. Pierre in November. Launch slideshow »

UFC 143 Weigh In

Nick Diaz and Carlos Condit face off during the weigh in for UFC 143 Friday, Feb. 3, 2012 at Mandalay Bay. Launch slideshow »

Dana White media chat part 1

Dana White media chat part 2

Note: Scroll to the bottom of the page for full results from the preliminary card.

Nick Diaz was incredulous to the point that he threatened to retire after the UFC 143 main event.

In an interim welterweight championship bout that couldn't have possibly been any closer, Carlos Condit won a unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 48-47) over Diaz.

"I think I'm done with this MMA," Diaz said afterward in the octagon. "I don't need this (expletive). I pushed the guy forward the whole time and landed the bigger shots."

Diaz congratulated Condit, whom he called a great fighter, but criticized the judges. Most of Condit's offense came from leg kicks that Diaz described as "baby" strikes.

Diaz played the aggressor role for most of the fight by moving forward, but it wasn't enough. Diaz appeared to be at his best early, pushing the pace in the first and second rounds, but allowed Condit to take control for most of the final 15 minutes.

"I'm not going to accept the fact that this is a loss," Diaz said.

Condit described the moment as a dream come true. The Albuquerque native will now either wait for welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre to heal from ACL surgery or defend the interim title.

Condit credited sticking to the game plan as the reason he came out victorious. He refused to brawl with Diaz despite repeated taunts, and scored points with a more technical kickboxing game.

Diaz vs. Condit was a close fight in a night that didn't have many of them. Fabricio Werdum destroyed Roy Nelson in the heavyweight co-main event. The Brazilian took a unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) over the local fighter.

Welterweight Josh Koscheck and bantamweight Renan Barao picked up significant victories. Koscheck scored a split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29) over Mike Pierce, while Barao shut out Jorgensen on all three judges' scorecards.

Check back later for full coverage of UFC 143 and look below for full results and round-by-round coverage of the main card.

Nick Diaz vs. Carlos Condit

Fifth Round Diaz's cut is closed up. Condit is breathing no harder than Diaz, who was supposed to have a pronounced cardio advantage. Condit lands the first combination. He also checks a kick from Diaz. Diaz is really moving forward with his kicks early in the round. Condit gets inside and Diaz isn't finding much of a rhythm. Diaz pushes forward, but only lands one jab before Condit is safely back in the center. Condit lands a powerful leg kick that almost puts Diaz on the ground. He then kicks Diaz in the head. The upset may be in store. Diaz clinches Condit up and throws two knees to get some momentum back. Two minutes left and Condit is the one coming forward. Only for a second. Now it's Diaz who sends Condit into the fence with a combination. Condit counters a charging Diaz with a shot to the body. Diaz pulls Condit down from his back. He's got one hook in and is working his way for a rear-naked choke. Diaz now has a body triangle, looking for a submission as hard as he can. He wraps his arm around Condit's neck and this could be it. Condit fights his way loose, but Diaz still rains punches from behind. With 10 seconds to go, Diaz is in dominant position. Condit sweeps and so does Diaz. Bell rings and Diaz probably did enough. He wins 48-47 on the Las Vegas Sun scorecard. Carlos Condit defeats Nick Diaz by unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 48-47).

Fourth Round Condit continues to use his kicks. If he can keep his distance, this fight might be his to win. Condit is a tad more aggressive early and coming at Diaz more than before. But he's not letting Diaz's hands-up taunt get to him. Condit comes forward and Diaz grazes him with an uppercut. Diaz pounds Condit's body with a left hand. Condit throws a kick that he leaves his body open for a one-two punch from Diaz, who then locks up. Condit is out and lands some meaningful strikes on the way back to the center. Diaz looks for another opening that isn't there as he tosses another Condit leg kick to the side. Diaz backs Condit up to the cage, but it wasn't a success. A right hand lands on Diaz's jaw. Now, a kick to the body from Condit gets the crowd roaring. Diaz catches the next kick, but no takedown attempt. They lock up and Diaz gets the best of an exchange. Condit jabs Diaz, who has a cut opened under his eye. A Diaz head kick sends Condit moving back. Condit throws a kick that Diaz catches to end the round. Condit wins another and it's tied at 38 going into the final stanza.

Third Round Diaz stalking Condit, and a right hand sends him barreling into the fence. Condit leg kicks, but Diaz is checking them. Condit's counter striking is working in doses, but Diaz is the one moving forward. Condit lands his biggest shot of the fight with a right hand at the 1:30 mark of the round. Condit throws an inside leg kick. A combination scores for Condit, but Diaz gets some back with a kick to the chest. More kicks have been exchanged in this fight than anyone expected. From Condit, it's usual. But Diaz is using more leg strikes than normal. Diaz chases down Condit and lands two more punches before he's out. Diaz is angered by Condit's unwillingness to engage. He starts talking to Condit and sticking his hands out. Condit kicks Diaz to the chin. And then to the stomach. Diaz keeps talking. He gets Condit off balance with a left hand to the jaw. A flying knee from Condit hits Diaz in the face. Then, an elbow does the trick for Condit. Diaz lands the last combination before the ball. Condit falls over after a kick. A close round, but this one goes to Condit. Diaz leads 29-28.

Second Round Condit throws first, but misses with a hook and head kick. Diaz catches one of his kicks and the ensuing spinning back fist from Condit after he gets loose misses by a wide margin. Condit continues to look for the spinning back fist, but Diaz catches him and throws him against the cage. Back in the center now, and Condit whips a leg kick. Diaz taunts and yells at Condit. It might be getting in his head, as more of Diaz's punches are landing when he comes from lower angles. Diaz catches another one of Condit's kicks, but doesn't put his opponent on his back. A body-body-head combination works for Diaz, who has transformed into the sole aggressor. Condit looks to counter, but Diaz is in and out. Condit starts working his kicks again. They've been the most successful part of his arsenal. Condit goes to Diaz's body before the former Strikeforce champion returns the favor. Diaz lands about six consecutive shots to Condit's rib cage against the fence. Diaz kicks now. Condit is mostly moving backwards, but keeping up offense with his jab. But Diaz is landing a higher percentage. They have to be separated at the bell by the referee as Diaz wins another 10-9 round.

First Round Condit lands the first strike with a leg kick. He goes back to it twice more. Diaz closes in, but Condit moves out of the way. Condit would like to keep this fight at a distance. Diaz would not. Diaz comes in and locks up for a second, but this fight has gone according to Condit's plan for the first minute. Diaz chants start in the crowd. But his counter right hand misses. Diaz lands his first significant strike of the night with a jab square in the face of Condit. Diaz is backing him up now and controlling the action. Diaz ducks under a head kick from Condit. Dueling chants now for both men. Diaz has Condit backing up for the better part of a minute. Condit's leg kicks are landing, but not doing any damage. Diaz gets out of the way of a spinning back fist Diaz starts to taunt Condit, who won't stop with the leg kicks. Diaz locks him up after one and goes to the body for some dirty-boxing punches. Diaz jabbing away now and Condit isn't dealing with the speed particularly well. A short spinning back fist works for Condit. Condit comes forward with 10 seconds to go and Diaz taunts him as he throws a right. Good first round for Diaz, who leads 10-9.

Roy Nelson vs. Fabricio Werdum

Third Round Blood covers Nelson as he comes to the middle to start another round. Werdum shoots in and Nelson grabs a hold of his neck. Nelson has a standing guillotine that appears deep. Nelson cranks, but Werdum is alert. Nelson doesn't have the choke. Werdum pops his head out and hits Nelson with another knee. He punishes Nelson with a combination to back him up to the fence. Werdum walks back to the center and Nelson, with his hands down, follows. Werdum's jab is hurting Roy. He puts his hands down and Werdum pounces with a front kick to the face. Nelson nearly falls down, but somehow stays up. Werdum keeps his distance, opting against an aggressive approach against an obviously-in-trouble Nelson. With one minute left, Nelson lands a left hand to Werdum's temple. But Nelson is gasping for breath. He's got nothing left. Werdum wins an exchange. He goes to the body and then the head. It's a succesful return to the UFC for the Brazilian, who wins 30-27 on the Las Vegas Sun scorecard. Fabricio Werdum defeats Roy Nelson by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).

Second Round Werdum knees Nelson to the face again. Nelson drops to his knee and Werdum looks to take the Las Vegas fighter's back. But Nelson is deceptively quick and leaps back to his feet. He's not as fast as Werdum, though. Werdum is doing what he wants by rushing forward and throwing a combination with his right hand and body kick. Nelson's cut is re-opened and blood is pouring down his face. Werdum kicks Nelson in the knees. He nearly loses his balance, but Nelson comes forward and flings his right hand. Nelson glances at the clock at the exact midway point. He's swinging hard at Werdum, but not hurting him. Werdum's athleticism is a little much for Nelson, who is breathing hard. Werdum looks fresh and backs out of the way of another telegraphed right hook. Nelson's corner instructs him to let his hands go, but Werdum kicks him to the body. Here comes Nelson. A right hand sends Werdum retreating. Nelson follows up with a couple more overhand rights, but Werdum regains his bearings. Werdum dominated the majority of the round and picks up some more points with another 10-9 round.

First Round Nelson gets the loudest reaction of the night so far after the introductions. He tries to feel Werdum out, but the Brazilian attacks after 30 seconds. He hits Nelson with a knee and leg kick. He comes forward again and jabs Nelson, who loses his balance and goes to the ground. Werdum takes his back. Nelson sweeps to get out and is back on his feet. Werdum alternates throwing his knees to Nelson's body. This is starting to resemble the beating Nelson took against Frank Mir last May. Nelson reverses position against the cage and wins a dirty boxing exchange. But Nelson takes another knee for Werdum and crunches as it lands. He felt that one. One of Werdum's knees opened a large cut above Nelson's eye. There's blood on Werdum's chest, blood on Nelson's back and blood dripping down the Las Vegas native's face. It's everywhere. Doctors are summoned to check on him, but the fight continues. Werdum tries to leg kick Nelson, but he catches it. Nelson hits Werdum with a right hand that sends him to the ground. The crowd goes wild, as Nelson hovers over and unleashes his right hand to Werdum's face. Werdum is trying to get Nelson to come into his guard, but it's not happening. A late flurry of strikes sends Nelson against the cage. Werdum wins the first, 10-9.

Josh Koscheck vs. Mike Pierce

Third Round They touch gloves and Koscheck smiles as he throws the first strike. He's got Pierce's rhythm down. Koscheck is bothering him on the feet. Pierce shoots in and takes Koscheck down, but only for a second. Koscheck wall-walks to his feet and reverses position. Koscheck feeds Pierce a knee. A right hand comes crashing into Pierce's cranium. Now, Koscheck throws a combination. Koscheck, much to the dismay of the crowd, is winning in the clinch. It's the opposite of the first round. Pierce jabs, but Koscheck answers and shoots in. He can't get Pierce to the mat, but they are tied up against the fence. Koscheck still has a hold of one of Pierce's legs. The referee splits them apart. Pierce complains of an eyepoke and the action is stopped. Koscheck protests, but rests in a neutral corner. The fight starts again and Pierce will need a big finish for the victory. With a minute left, Koscheck lands about five successive shots. He's working his right hand and going to the body now. Koscheck gets a double leg takedown and this could seal it. Pierce is back to his feet, but Koscheck still has him tied up. They exchange as the bell rings and Koscheck wins another round on the Las Vegas Sun scorecard to take the fight, 29-28. Josh Koscheck defeats Mike Pierce by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29).

Second Round Koscheck jabs and Pierce answers. Pierce goes for a single leg again, but Koscheck thwarts it. He reverses position along the fence and lands some close-range shots. Pierce rushes in and hits Koscheck to the body. A cut has opened to the top of Pierce's head as Koscheck tries to counter some looping right hands from the challenger. Koscheck comes forward as the blood really starts rushing down Pierce's face. They lock up momentarily and Koscheck hits Pierce with a big knee to the body. Koscheck pounding away in the clinch. Pierce breaks out and Koscheck has him retreating. Koscheck lands a combination before getting Pierce down along the fence. Koscheck is looking to pass to Pierce's back. But Pierce is up and back in the middle with 40 seconds to go. Pierce's head is very bloody, but it's another close round. Las Vegas Sun gives that round to Koscheck and it's tied 19-19 going into the third.

First Round Pierce goes to the body with a right hand to start the bout and shoots for a single leg takedown. Koscheck stays up against the wall. The two have a dirty boxing exchange. But Pierce is using his strength to keep dominant position. He foot stomps Koscheck when nothing else is available. Koscheck loads up and hits Pierce in the stomach with a knee. The crowd starts to boo and the fighters break out of the clinch. They're back in the center of the octagon with three minutes left in the round. Pierce locks up again and Koscheck appears to say something to him. Koscheck lands a knee and they break out. Koscheck is starting to land his jab and find his range. Same goes for Pierce as he comes in and sends Koscheck stumbling back. A boxing bout has broken out, as both fighters are taking each other's best punches. Koscheck hits Pierce's side with a kick. Koscheck is coming forward and countering when Pierce engages first. Pierce feels the pressure and grabs a single-leg takedown. It doesn't work, as the round ends with the two in the clinch. Pierce takes the first that could have gone either way, 10-9.

Renan Barao vs. Scott Jorgensen

Third Round Jorgensen comes out aggressive and pushes forward. Barao counters to weather some of the storm. Barao finds his range about a minute in and pelts Jorgensen with a combination. Jorgensen keeps coming forward. He's landing a few jabs of his own. Jorgensen rushes in again and Barao catches him clean with a right hook. Jorgensen retreats and Barao meets him with a flying knee. A superman punch from Jorgensen fails to connect. Barao grazes Jorgensen's forehead with a spinning back kick. Barao has a small cut on his face, but he's still controlling the fight. Jorgensen is pushed back by a leg kick and constant jabs from Barao. The round ends appropriately, as Barao throws and lands more punches. Renan Barao defeats Scott Jorgensen by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).

Second Round Barao sprawls to stay on his feet after yet another takedown attempt from Jorgensen. Barao keeps feeding Jorgensen his jab. Jorgensen's corner urges him to take control and push the pace, but Barao is doing all of that. He jabs Jorgensen up against the fence before throwing a spinning back kick. Jorgensen steps off of the cage and Barao rushes in to take him down. Barao is in Jorgensen's guard and hitting his side with ground-and-pound strikes. Jorgensen throws elbows off his back, but spends most of his energy trying to get off. It's a success with about two minutes to go. Jorgensen hits Barao with a body kick. Jorgensen's striking looks better now, as he goes inside with a leg kick and also throws a punching combination. But Barao can land one strike for every four of Jorgensen's and have more impact. Barao takes another round, 10-9, and Jorgensen will need a finish to win this one.

First Round They are already bouncing around on their feet, setting the tone for what should be a fight with a quick pace. Barao goes to the body with a kick. He lands about three of his first six attempts. Jorgensen jabs and they're bouncing around the middle of the octagon again. A powerful spinning kick sends Jorgensen back. Barao follows with a jab that wobbles Jorgensen, who instictually shoots for a single-leg takedown. It's not there, so the fight will stay on the feet. That's where Barao wants it. Barao shoots in and locks Jorgensen up against the cage. They're out and exchanging in the middle of the cage. Jorgensen throws a short leg kick. Barao trying to find range with his jab. Jorgensen lands a couple right hooks, but nothing that bothers Barao much. Barao's punches are louder and inflicting more damage. Jorgensen shoots for a takedown with a minute to go, but Barao catches himself against the fence. Barao peppers Jorgensen's stomach with two knees. Jorgensen takes another body kick. Barao wins a clear-cut first round, 10-9.

Ed Herman vs. Clifford Starks

Second Round Herman lands the first couple punches. He's coming forward. He kicks Starks, who counters with a right hand that puts Herman on the ground. But he just lost his balance. Herman is back up. They're clinched up again now, but Herman throws Starks to the ground. The former Arizona State wrestler is in trouble as Herman transitions to his back. Herman locks in a choke. It's close and he gets the finish. Ed Herman defeats Clifford Starks by submission (rear naked choke) at 1:43 of the second round.

First Round They meet in the middle and Starks jabs. He seems to catch Herman early, who falls to a knee. Herman's back up and answers by with a couple of uppercuts that hit right on Starks' chin. They clinch up against the cage. Starks starting to knee Herman in the stomach. They break out and another jab from Starks sends Herman moving back. Herman's hands are down, and Starks is taking advantage. Herman hits Starks with an uppercut and they lock up against the cage again. Herman reverses position and throws knees into Starks' thigh. More knees from Starks until they break out and lock up again. The crowd is getting restless from the lack of action, but Herman is throwing knees when he can. Somewhat surprisingly, Herman is winning in the clinch but Starks is landing more when they stand and trade. Herman rushes in and takes Starks down. With 45 seconds left, this could steal "Short Fuse" the round. Starks gets out from under and passes. He rains down ground-and-pound punches before going into Herman's guard. Solid first round that Starks takes 10-9.

Pre-main card

Mixed martial arts fights are known for their unpredictably.

A bout hailed as a slugfest often turns into a wrestling match. A pairing between two grapplers sometimes becomes a striking war spent entirely on the feet.

That’s why the build-up to tonight’s UFC 143 main event between Nick Diaz and Carlos Condit may have sounded dangerous. The UFC has hailed the interim welterweight championship bout as a can’t-miss fight between two of the most ferocious opponents in all of the sport.

Neither Diaz nor Condit is going to hold anything back. They aren’t just looking to win. They are looking to destroy and finish their opponent.

If there ever was a sure thing as far as a fight living up to its promise, it’s Diaz vs. Condit. Diaz brings high-volume punching that Condit will match with arguably the most powerful pound-for-pound striking in the sport.

Although he weighed in at 169 pounds Friday, Condit hits with the force of a heavyweight. Just ask his last three opponents who have fallen victim to knockout defeats.

But Diaz is a different breed than Condit’s past foes. “The Natural Born Killer” himself has repeatedly referred to Diaz as the best guy he’s ever fought.

Diaz is even more dangerous on the ground than he is standing up. He’s a black belt under Cesar Gracie with eight career victories by submission.

Anything less than a contest in the running for Fight of the Night honors would register as a letdown for this main event.

Plenty other exciting matchups precede Diaz vs. Condit on the pay-per-view card. In the co-main event, Las Vegas native Roy Nelson welcomes Fabricio Werdum back into the UFC.

Werdum has developed an improved striking game to go along with his championship-level Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Nelson is the most svelte he’s been in years at 243 pounds.

Two other bouts with high stakes in their respective divisions, Josh Koscheck vs. Mike Pierce and Renan Barao vs. Scott Jorgensen, are also on the main card. A middleweight contest between Ed Herman and Clifford Starks will get the pay-per-view started in about an honor.

Check below for full results from the preliminary card and stay tuned for live round-by-round coverage of the main card beginning at 7.

Featherweight prospect Dustin Poirier won his fifth straight in the UFC. Poirier submitted newcomer Max Holloway at 3:23 of the first round with an arm bar while he was in full mount.

Two penalty points for illegal shots to the groin cost bantamweight Alex Caceres a victory against Edwin Figueroa. Because referee Herb Dean took two points in the second round for repeated — but unintentional — kicks to the midsection, Figueroa won a split decision (28-27, 28-27, 27-28) over Caceres.

Matt Brown knocked out Chris Cope at 1:19 of the second round in their welterweight bout. "I've got a right hand to knock out anybody," Brown said in the octagon after his victory. "You're going to see more of that."

Local welterweight Matt Riddle and late fill-in Henry Martinez gave the fans an early show with 15 minutes worth of back-and-forth slugging action. Riddle eked out a split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29) victory over Martinez in the end.

Rafael Natal scored a unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28) over Michael Kuiper in their middleweight bout. A memorable third round saw both fighters come close to a finish, as Kuiper knocked Natal down with a right hand early in the round before Natal nearly pulled of a triangle choke in the final seconds.

Stephen Thompson knocked out Dan Stittgen at 4:13 of the first round of their welterweight bout in spectacular fashion. Thompson, a former world champion kickboxer, connected with a kick to the side of Stittgen's head to put the fellow newcomer out cold.

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.