Interim welterweight title up for grabs in main event
LAS VEGAS – HeavyMMA is at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas for Saturday’s UFC 143 pay-per-view. We’ll have live round-by-round and fight-by-fight coverage of each bout on the main card right here starting at 10 p.m. Eastern.
The main event is an interim welterweight title fight between former Strikeforce champion Nick Diaz and Carlos Condit. The winner will hold the belt while champ Georges St-Pierre recovers from ACL surgery. In the co-main event, heavyweight Roy Nelson, winner of Season 10 of “The Ultimate Fighter,” welcomes Fabricio Werdum back to the UFC for the first time in more than three years. And former top welterweight contender Josh Koscheck fights Mike Pierce in a bout that has quickly escalated to a grudge match.
Ed Herman vs. Clifford Starks
Herman Twitter: @EdHermanufc | Starks Twitter: @cliffordstarks1
Round 1: Left jab for Starks, and a right cathces Herman. Herman going inside for an uppercut, and he just misses three in a row. Starks clinches up and pushes it to the fence. They break after a little inactivity and Starks lands a straight right, then another. Then a left jab. Herman is looking for those big uppercuts again, and they start to brawl before they tie up. Herman lands a couple nice knees and again looks for that big uppercut. They tie up again, and Starks lands a nice three-punch combo on the break. Herman forces the fight down to the canvas with a minute left in the round, but Starks bullies his way out of there and gets on top. That’s where he’ll finish the round, and he’s going to earn a 10-9 first round on the HeavyMMA card.
Round 2: Two big uppercuts from Herman open the round, and again they just miss. He throws an outside leg kick and slips, but Starks lets him back up. They clinch on the fence. Herman eventually earns the trip takedown, and he gets to mount. He wraps around and takes Starks’ back. He’s got the rear naked choke on, but it might not be deep enough. But he’s got him locked up pretty tightly. And soon enough, Starks has to tap. That’s three straight for Herman since returning from that near two-year injury layoff – all by stoppage.
Result: Ed Herman def. Clifford Starks, submission (rear naked choke), 1:43 Round 2
Renan Barão vs. Scott Jorgensen
Barao Twitter: @renanbaraoufc | Jorgensen Twitter: @scottjorgensen
Round 1: Early smacking body kick from Barao. Then he goes to the legs. Jorgensen throws jabs, and Barao comes back with the kick. Then another to Jorgensen’s lead leg. Spinning back kick pushes Jorgensen back. Then Barao comes with a flying knee. But Jorgensen looks for the takedown – and can’t get it. Good left jab from Barao. Barao looks very comfortable in there. Big right misses from Barao. Nice right from Jorgensen. Jorgensen again shoots for a takedown, but it’s not there and Barao stuffs it and clinches up. Jorgensen breaks it off and we go back to the center. Teep from Jorgensen to keep some distance and they trade jabs. Jorgensen gets inside and lands a right. Then another leg kick for Barao. Jorgensen pushes in, but can’t get the fight to the ground. Barao turns him around and pushes his back to the cage. Good spinning back kick lands from Barao. Then a front kick is on the mark. It’s a very clear first round for Barao, 10-9 on the HeavyMMA card.
Round 2: High kicks from Barao aren’t there, and Jorgensen drops down again to try and get it to the ground. Not there, though. Outside leg kick from Barao. Nice short uppercut from Jorgensen, but Barao returns fire with a nice right. He eats a combo, then a right, then another. Then another, followed by a spinning back kick. Jorgensen shoots in for another takedown and pulls guard instead. Jorgensen is looking for a kimura. But he can’t get it and settles for full guard. Eventually, the fight works back to the feet with 1:40 left in the round. Nice body kick from Jorgensen, but Barao stays right in there. Nice spinning back kick again to the body. Jorgensen answers with a leaping kick, and then eats a right. Barao lands a nice front kick right before the horn. It’s another 10-9 round for Barao going to the last.
Round 3: Jorgensen’s corner was quite displeased with him between rounds and yelled at him to win teh fight. If he’s to do that, he’ll need a finish here in the third. But he eats five or six punches from Barao a minute in. Barao has been very precise with his punches and kicks, and Jorgensen circles outside to try to avoid them. Jorgensen looks for an uppercut, but it’s not there.Nice right from Jorgensen, but Barao answers back. Barao is a little bloodied from his nose, and he has slowed down. But Jorgensen is bloodied, too. Very little action here in the third, and Jorgensen isn’t going to get the finish he needs. It’s another 10-9 round for Barao, and he should win the fight 30-27.
Result: Renan Barao def. Scott Jorgensen, unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Josh Koscheck vs. Mike Pierce
Koscheck Twitter: @joshkoscheck | Pierce Twitter: @mikepierce170
Round 1: Pierce takes the center. He shoots early for a single, but Koscheck defends. He pushes Koscheck to the cage and looks for knees. He throws a couple body shots. Koscheck tries to break and throws some body punches of his own. Pierce foot stomps each foot. Knee to the body from Koscheck. The crowd boos what it perceives as not enough activity just as Koscheck breaks and gets back to the center. Jab from Pierce isn’t quite on the mark. Pierce again comes forward, but Koscheck ties him up. Koscheck now pushes the fight to the cage. Again the crowd boos, and again they break. Couple of left jabs from Pierce, then a right that lands nicely. Koshceck fires back, and they start to slug it out. Pierce looks for a single-leg takedown to end the round, but it’s not there. Still, Pierce, the underdog, gets the first round 10-9 on the HeavyMMA card.
Round 2: Significantly less action this round, though Koscheck does manage to open up a cut on Pierce’s head that he tries to go after to capitalize on. And with a minute left in the round, the crowd gets a reason to cheer as Koscheck shoots in for a takedown. He works for position, but Pierce gets up. Koscheck checks the clock and sees he has 20 seconds left. HE works more jabs to close the round and eats a short uppercut from Pierce, to no avail. The crowd boos what it considers a pretty stale second round. Heavy gives the second to Koscheck, 10-9.
Round 3: Koscheck works more jabs and dances away from Pierce’s punches as the crowd starts to boo just 30 seconds into the frame. Pierce jumps in for a single, grabs hold and gets a nice trip takedown. But Koscheck quickly gets back up and manages to spin Pierce around to put his back against the fence. The crowd boos again as Herb Dean warns the fighters to work. The crowd starts a “Koscheck sucks!” chant, just minutes after cheering his takedown. Halfway through, the round is wide open for the taking. Koscheck shoots for a single, but Pierce defends along the cage. After the break, the fight stops while Pierce gets a moment after an open-hand swipe from Koscheck catches him in the left eye. On the restart, Koscheck brings a little more shazam to his punches, then shoots in and gets a double-leg takedown that is going to close out the fight. Koscheck will hold the position and look for his back as the round closes. It’s a 10-9 third for Koscheck on the HeavyMMA card, and the fight for him 29-28. The crowd is not pleased, though, for what could have been a barnburner that turned into much ado about … well, very little.
Result: Josh Koscheck def. Mike Pierce, split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Roy Nelson vs. Fabricio Werdum
Nelson Twitter: @roynelsonmma | Werdum Twitter: @FabricioWerdum
Round 1: They touch gloves and we’re starting this battle of big men. The crowd instantly chants “USA! USA!” for Nelson. Werdum pushes with a kick, then lands a couple kicks. The weight is the same. But Werdum is much taller. Nelson slips, and Werdum instantly takes his back looking for a rare naked choke. But amazingly Nelson gets back to his feet. Werdum gets a Thai plus and looks for knees. Nice knees from Werdum and Nelson is still in trouble. But Nelson spins things around and pushes Werdum to the cage. Nelson is cut above his nose. And more big knees from Werdum. Nelson is pretty much holding on for dear life here. But he hangs on and defends against the cage. At 1:40 they are stopped and restarted, but not before a doctor looks at Nelson’s nose. It’s fine, and he’ll be able to continue. Werdum looks for knees early on the restart. Then Nelson tries to stalk. He catches a kick and throws a right and knocks Werdum down. Nelson moves in, and it looks exactly like when Werdum submitted Fedor. He’s going to go for the triangle, but he can’t get it. Nelson tries to drop down and land a few shots. But Werdum gets back to his feet and lands some good shots as the round ends. Despite the knockdown from Nelson, it’s a 10-9 first round for Werdum.
Round 2: Big knee for Werdum and Nelson stumbles. But he gets back up. Good leg kick from Nelson. High kick from Werdum just misses. Nelson is doing the stalking here, but it’s Werdum who is landing more shots again. Big knee from Werdum opens the cut on Nelson’s head again. A couple nice rights from Nelson are countered by Werdum. Werdum circles away and Nelson pushes back to the middle to reset. Outside leg kick from Werdum. Nelson tries to dirty box, but backs out of it. Then a big knee again from Werdum and a left-right combo. The crowd gets a little restless, hoping to see some of the more highlight-reel-esque stuff like the first round. Werdum lands some knees and kicks, but Nelson just keeps on coming and lands several big shots of his own that back Werdum up. The crowd erupts, believing Nelson has turned the tide. But the round will end as another 10-9 for Werdum.
Round 3: Werdum shoots in 30 seconds into the round and Nelson gets a buillotine. It’s pretty tight. The crowd is loving it. But Werdum breaks out of it. Nelson is still plenty bloody, but he’s pushing onward. The crowd again chants “USA!” for Nelson. Werdum clinches and again backs Nelson up with a knee. Nelson breathes heavily, then backs away. Big front kick to the face from Werdum, and it spins Nelson’s head around. But still he keeps coming. Amazing chin and stamina and heart and everything else at this point just to still be in there. Most people would’ve been done early in the first round. With two minutes left, Werdum just misses a high kick. He backs Nelson up with some jabs, and just misses an uppercut. Then goes with a knee. High kick from Werdum is partially blocked. Nelson again stays upright and looks to keep coming forward. A pair of left jabs land for Werdum. He’s going to get this round 10-9 and the fight 30-27 on the HeavyMMA card. But Roy Nelson certainly made a lot more fans with his heart.
Result: Fabricio Werdum def. Roy Nelson, unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Nick Diaz vs. Carlos Condit
Diaz Twitter: @nickdiaz209 | Condit Twitter: @carloscondit
Round 1: The two fighters touch foreheads as Steve Mazzagatti gives the instructions. Yesterday’s civility at the weigh-ins is in the past. Diaz takes the center, and Condit throws an outside leg kick, then inside. Diaz then lands a left that pushes Condit back a little. Inside leg kick from Condit is awfully close to the groin, but Diaz has no problems with it. The crowd starts chanting “Diaz!” for the 2-to-1 favorite, who works inside and nearly gets a clinch. They split apart and Condit again works an inside leg kick that is very close to too high. A condit head kick just misses the mark, and Diaz resets. Diaz then throws a high kick that is partially blocked, then lands a right jab and a left. A good body shot from Condit lands. A pair of leg kicks from Condit land, and Diaz answers with one. Spinning back fist misses from Condit. And Diaz starts talking to Condit. Diaz drops his hands and gestures to Condit. Spinning elbow from Condit is ducked under bu Diaz. Body-head combos from Diaz are precise, but Condit counters nicely. Good jab from Diaz, and then a head kick. More body-head from Diaz, and another spinning back fist misses from Condit. It’s a close first round, but HeavyMMA gives the slight nod to Diaz, who landed a little bit more.
Round 2: Condit looks for a high kick again. Diaz marching him down a little, gesturing at him. Flying knee from Condit just misses. Condit’s eye is marked up. Spinning backfist is good from Condit, but Diaz avoids further damage. Diaz starts talking again, and he starts peoppering him with a couple jabs, checking Condit’s leg kicks. Condit mostly staying calm through the taunting, though. Diaz tries to get inside, but it’s not there. Nice right from Condit. Diaz still stalks and marches Condit down and lands a nice combo. Good combo from Diaz again lands, and Condit has a nice kick. Body shot from Condit lands, but Diaz mocks him and moves inside and starts landing a bunch of punches on the fence, right to the body. Good jabs from Diaz after a Condit body shot. It’s not a blowout by any stretch, but it’s another 10-9 round for Diaz, who stays right in Condit’s face after the horn.
Round 3: Head kicks from Diaz are off the mark. He fakes a shot and again marches Diaz down. Condit throws a good combo, though, and lands a nice body shot. Then a head kick. But Diaz again puts pressure on. Good combo again from Condit. But Diaz goes to the body, then to the head and Condit has to throw a shot and back out of the fence and gets back to the middle. Front kick from Condit, then a high kick from Condit is blocked. Inside leg kick lands. Two minutes in, Condit may be winning the round. Diaz gets some good shots off, then throws up a high kick. Diaz lands some shots to the body, then a front kick is on the mark. But Condit follows with a nice outside leg kick. Diaz goes Karate Kid for a minute, but it’s not there. Another outside leg kick from Condit lands. Diaz chases Condit down and backs him up and again starts talking. Jumping kick from Condit finds the mark, and a combo lands. But Diaz answers moments later with a knee. A big flying knee scores some points for Condit, but Diaz keeps coming forward. Spinning elbow from Condit just misses. Despite Diaz’s stalking, it’s a round for Condit 10-9 on the Heavy card.
Round 4: Condit again comes with the inside leg kicks to open. Diaz does the stalking, though. Body kick from Diaz. Then an inside leg kick. Nice lefts from each fighter. Diaz looks to tie up with a Thai clinch, but it’s not there. They finally clinch, really for the first time, and Diaz drops down looking for a single. But Condit hits a left on the break. Diaz again starts to gesture to Condit. Good body kick from Condit. Condit is landing his shots and then backing out of Diaz’s danger zone. Body shot from Condit, and then a really nice left. Then a kick to the head from Condit lands – and Diaz wipes his face and seems unaffected. He then catches a knee and looks for the takedown, but it’s not there. Again Diaz catches a Condit knee, but can’t take him down. High kick from Diaz mostly lands. And a spinning backfist just misses. Heavy is going Condit again this round, 10-9, again very close, and we have the fight all even at 38-38 going to the fifth.
Round 5: Traded kicks from each fighter, and Diaz lands. Condit checks a high kick. Then another. Then another. Left-right from Condit lands. A Condit high kick just misses, and so does another spinning back fist. Diaz just misses a spinning elbow. Then misses a spinning back kick. Big right kick from Condit smacks Diaz right in the mouth. But he stays upright and the crowd cheers. Halfway through the round, that’s a big point-scorer. They tie up and dirty box, with Condit maybe getting just a little better of it. Big body shot from Condit. Then an outside leg kick. Diza moves inside and ties Conidt up, taking his back with a takedown. Condit is looking for elbows as Diaz locks up his body. With a minute left, it’ll be interesting to see if Diaz can get the choke finish he’s looking for. He gets one arm in and Condit tries to push out. He does, But Diaz remains on his back. Condit escapes just as the fight ends and they keep fighting for a moment. Then they pick each other up and congratulate each other. HeavyMMA gives the last found to Diaz based on that takedown and submission attempt, 10-9, and has the fight for Diaz 48-47. But it should be very close.
Result: Carlos Condit def. Nick Diaz, unanimous decision, 48-47, 49-46, 49-46