At last weekend’s UFC on FOX, the leading mixed martial arts promotion lucked out with both key bouts–Chael Sonnen vs. Michael Bisping and Rashad Evans vs. Phil Davis–ending in favor of the more-marketable title challenger.
That luck was not present at UFC 143.
Ahead of the show, a potential Georges St. Pierre vs. Nick Diaz match had been viewed as the most commercially-appealing option in the Welterweight division and very likely in the entire UFC. Carlos Condit, Diaz’s opponent in the UFC Interim Welterweight Championship match, is a talented, respected fighter, but his charisma and star quality are known weak spots.
But Condit ended up pulling out the victory, winning a unanimous 48-47, 49-46, 49-46 decision over Diaz. Condit outpointed Diaz with evasive, accurate striking, and though Diaz, as always, pushed forward and controlled the center of the cage, Condit rarely let himself get cornered and thus gave Diaz no opportunity to deliver his signature barrages of punishing strikes.
Throughout the show, the UFC announcers had long said that the winner was moving straight into a fight with GSP this fall, effectively making the idea of the Interim Championship meaningless. Prior to Saturday, Condit, however, had said he would be willing to defend the belt in the interim (and, after all, isn’t that the whole point?).
Following the reading of the official decision, Diaz protested the idea that he could lose a fight in which he spent the entire time pressing forward while the opponent ran away, and said he is definitely quitting mixed martial arts. They pay him way too much, Diaz confirmed, but not enough to deal with this kind of outcome.
Fabricio Werdum b. Roy Nelson via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Josh Koscheck b. Mike Pierce via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
Renan Barao b. Scott Jorgensen via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Ed Herman b. Clifford Starks via submission (RNC) at 1:43 of Round Two
Dustin Poirer b. Max Holloway via submission (mounted triangle and armbar) at 3:23 of Round One
Edwin Figueroa b. Alex Caceres via split decision (28-27, 27-28, 28-27)*
Matt Brown b. Chris Cope via KO (punches) at 1:19 of Round Two
Matt Riddle b. Henry Martinez via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
Rafael Natal b. Michael Kuiper via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Stephen Thompson b. Dan Stittgen via KO (head kick) at 4:13 of Round One
*Caceres was docked two points for an illegal groin kick