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UFC 143- Nate Diaz Vs Carlos Condit: A Fan’s View of the Main Card
According to a Yahoo! Sports report, Carlos Condit is extremely calm as he heads into his Feb. 4 bout against Nick Diaz for the UFC interim welterweight championship belt. "It's not what you say or how you act," Condit said in the report. "At the end of the day, when all is said and done, it's what you do when the bell rings that really matters."
Here's some picks and predictions for the main card of UFC 143:
Nick Diaz vs Carlos Condit
Diaz (27-7-1) hasn't tasted defeat in over four years and despite being a veteran of over 30 cage fights, he is still in his prime at 28 years old. This one is my early pick for Fight of the Night for the simple fact that both fighters' strong points are in their standup skills and both men will be looking for a dynamic finish.
Diaz, a BJJ and boxing tactician, has the striking skills to earn a knockout victory, while Condit (27-5) features some of the best endurance in the industry. In a five-round headlining bout, Condit has the advantage if this one goes the distance, but Diaz's boxing prowess may prove to be too much for the "Natural Born Killer" to handle.
The Pick: Diaz by second round TKO
Roy Nelson vs Fabricio Werdum
While Nelson may be the gatekeeper of the UFC's heavyweight division at this point in his career, he's still a very dangerous fighter. The burly 35-year-old is coming off a win over Mirko Cro Cop, but it's read that performance because his challenger was an aging 37-year-old legend at the end of the line of his fighting career. A win over Werdum would prove he can hang with the top heavyweight contenders in the world, while a loss would only add fuel to his critics' assessment that he falters against elite competition.
While Werdum (14-5-1) hasn't appeared in the UFC since 2008, he's still a legitimate top-five heavyweight and a win here would do wonders to put him in line for a title shot against Junior dos Santos somewhere in the near future. Nelson (16-6) has the talent to hold his own against the bottom tier of the UFC's heavyweights, but he struggles when the lights are shining brightest.
The Pick: Werdum by first round submission
Josh Koscheck vs Mike Pierce
In many ways, Josh Koscheck (16-5) is going through what Rich Franklin faced in 2006 and 2007 as far as wiping out an entire division, only to falter when the title is on the line. Georges St. Pierre is Koscheck's kryptonite, but his recent injury situation leaves the welterweight division completely up for grabs and now's the time for "Kos" to take advantage of the opportunity.
MMArising.com lists Koscheck as the No. 8 welterweight and a convincing win over Pierce would likely propel him into the top five. He is an excellent wrestler with strong takedown defense, which gives him the distinct advantage over Pierce (13-4).
The Pick: Koscheck by first round TKO
Renan Barao vs Scott Jorgensen
The UFC is in dire need of young, talented fighters to help ease the blow from its slew of recent retirees, and "Barao" gives the league exactly what it needs- a fast-rising prospect with fan appeal and marketability.
The 24-year-old has brilliant strikes- and combined with his exciting arsenal of knees, kicks, and takedowns- Barao is on track for a bantamweight title shot against Dominick Cruz before the end of the year if he can get past Jorgensen (13-4).
Jorgensen has the wrestling advantage, but Barao is better in almost every other category.
The Pick: Barao by first round submission
Ed Herman vs Clifford Starks
In an intriguing middleweight tilt, the undefeated Starks (8-0) battles Ultimate Fighter 2 alum Ed Herman for a shot at cracking into the middleweight top 10 ranks.
The clock is ticking for the 31-year-old Herman, who missed close to two years due to a knee surgery, but he is the winner of two straight fights in the octagon. Will he ever be a legitimate middleweight contender while competing in the same division with legends like Anderson Silva and up-and-coming stars like Chris Weidman and Michael Bisping?
The answer is probably 'No', but if he can continue to put on exciting fights and win more often than not, he'll keep earning spots on PPV cards. This one could be a snooze-fest for the casual fan, as both Herman and Starks will likely look to take this fight to the canvas.
The Pick: Herman by split decision
Eric Holden is a lifelong UFC fan and supporter of mixed martial arts. Follow him on Twitter @ericholden.
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