A golden rule that is common in all combat sports is “Never let the outcome fall in the judges’ hands.” With three of its main card fights resulting in decisions, UFC 143 was not in compliance with this law.
Here’s how three fights were determined on a night featuring a stellar card:
For a fighter who was of the belief that he was above fighting anyone the caliber of Mike Pierce, Josh Koscheck did not do much to vindicate his claim. For the most part, this bout was a stalemate. The two welterweights were able to work in some strikes. In fact, the climactic moment of this fight came 3:17 into the first round when the two had an exchange of significant punches that found home for both fighters. Afterwards, the excitement fizzled out, remaining absent for the rest of the fight. During the break between rounds two and three, an audible chant of “Koscheck Sucks” echoed throughout Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay Events Center. If not for a two-to-one takedown count, which favored Koscheck, this one would’ve resulted in a draw. Koscheck narrowly escapes a tough one.
The shots that Roy Nelson took from Fabricio Werdum conveyed two messages:
1. No ordinary man would be seen standing, let alone fighting, after taking such brutality.
2. Big Country is no ordinary man.
As the two sized each other up, chants of “USA” shook the arena. With a right knee to Big Country’s midsection, Werdum landed the match’s initial shot. Nelson charged in with an attempted right hook, only to have his feet swept from under him, giving his back to Werdum. The Brazilian went to secure a rear naked choke hold, but resilience would not allow Big Country to concede the fight so soon. Nelson got back to his feet, only to find himself on the receiving end of some knees. In return, he tapped Werdum with two upper cuts in the clinch. Werdum countered with more knees and for a few seconds, the two offered a fair exchange; Werdum with knees and Nelson with upper cuts. The artillery that these two threw at one another was nothing short of remarkable. At the 2:56 mark, it was discovered that Nelson was bleeding as a result of Werdum’s knees. The bloodshed was not enough to alter the intensity of this fight. Big Country took shots from Vai Cavalo that would’ve put just about put anyone to sleep. Not only did he eat those blows, he answered with many of his own. In fact, Nelson countered a kick from Werdum with a straight right jab that sent Werdum to the mat. The two would continue to hit one another with bombs and scud missiles, but through it all, Werdum was able to go the distance and outlast his foe in a memorable matchup.
The main event of UFC 143 featured a commencement exercise that not only saw the crowning of a new Interim Welterweight Championship, but the appointment of a Mixed Martial Arts Genius. Given the aggression in which Carlos Condit and Nick Diaz bring in their attacks, the expectation was for these two to bang their way to victory. While that was the intent of arguably one of the sport’s most polarizing fighters, an X-Factor came into play that completely altered the outcome of the fight. Knowing the danger that came with locking horns with Diaz, The Natural Born Killer did something that no other Diaz opponent has ever done. For 25 minutes, Condit made himself an elusive target. This proved to be two-edged sword for Condit. One, the difficulty it presented frustrated Diaz, who is used to landing strikes at will. Two, it granted Condit the openings needed to secure the striking advantage. Condit’s “stick-and-move” strategy minimized Diaz’s game plan and earned him a spot in the unification title fight with current Welterweight champion George St. Pierre.
With four fight cards already in the rear view, UFC has only completed one-eighth of its 2012 fight schedule. Up next is the debut of UFC on Fuel TV, which pits Diego “The Dream” Sanchez and Jake “The Juggernaut” Ellenberger in a welterweight main event. Don’t be fooled by the non-Pay-Per-View factor because broadcast televised fights have hidden gems within that are worth your viewing. As always, enjoy the fights.
By Antoine Hoffman