Thursday, 2 February 2012

UFC 143 - Diaz vs Condit Preview

Article first published as UFC 143: Diaz vs Condit Preview on Technorati.

This Saturday night one of the most tumultuous build ups in UFC history comes to a head as Carlos Condit and Nick Diaz fight for the Interim Welterweight Title on pay per view. This fight has been some time and drama in the making and in the meantime, Nick Diaz has developed a tremendous (and marketable) feud with Georges Saint-Pierre, who he would meet late this year, should he win. 

Via mmaconvert

Recent History
  • Nick Diaz is currently on an 11 fight win streak, including his recent demolition of UFC legend BJ Penn
  • Carlos Condit has won 12 of his last 13.  
  • Condit has sat out since July, as he had expected to be fighting GSP in late October, a bout which was cancelled.
via mmaweekly
Carlos Condit uses his long reach to control distance while he figures his opponents out.  His kicks further emphasize his reach advantage over most opponents.  When he feels he has his opponent hurt he is ready to let fly with vicious knees, either jumping or in the clinch.  While he favors this standing attack, he is no slouch on the ground and absolutely has the ability to finish with submissions.

Nick Diaz is also a rangy fighter, but is much more comfortable trading blows in close quarters, relying mostly on boxing.  While his technique and head movement might not be the crispest you can find in MMA, it is the sheer volume of punches he throws  which overwhelms his opponents.  In his last fight with BJ Penn, Penn could not take advantage of any holes in the Diaz defense since there was no respite from the onslaught he suffered.  Nick expertly mixes between medium and high powered shots in order to pace himself.  Should this fight make it to the mat, Diaz is a Brazilian Ju Jutsu black belt under Cesar Gracie and a proficient submission artist.

Head to Head

Stylistically, this is one of the most fun fights the UFC has put on for some time.  Diaz and Condit both bring immensely well rounded games and unquestionable work rate and endurance, so you can expect this to be high octane for a potential 25 minutes.

These two fighters have similar skill sets, albeit with pretty definitive styles.  I expect Condit to try and stay out of prolonged striking exchanges, instead trying to maintain distance and engage on his own terms.  For Diaz, the key will be pressuring Condit and get him moving backwards so that he can trap him against the cage fence and barrage him with punches.  I don't see this fight going to the ground with both fighters preferring to throw strikes, but if it does Nick Diaz has the better pedigree for submissions. 

Nick Diaz by a close and enthralling decision. 

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