For the first time in over three years, someone not named Georges St. Pierre will have UFC Welterweight gold wrapped around their waist. Nick Diaz and Carlos Condit, similar, in-your-face fighters, will go toe-to-toe for the right to be named Interim Champion of the Welterweight division in what should be an absolute explosion in the octagon. Although St. Pierre is clearly still the champ, and will no doubt return to action and eventually have his say, but the UFC had to have a title on the line in their Super Bowl weekend headliner.
Nick Diaz is quite the polarizing figure. In looking inside his life, training and personal relationships in the UFC 24-7-like series, UFC Primetime, its hard not to be sucked in. His social anxiety, trust issues and unwavering dedication to his craft are just pieces to the puzzle that is, Nick Diaz. Fans want more, and they'll get their money's worth tonight.
Carlos Condit is no slouch. Undeterred, Condit will get right in his face and test his dynamic striking talents against Diaz's. If anyone can match the pace on the feet and overwhelming boxing of Diaz, it's Condit. This fight has guaranteed fireworks. Both fighters will get hit hard, and look worse for wear at the post fight presser, but only one will have 12 pounds of gold to wear.
On to the picks.
Carlos Condit vs. Nick Diaz
Nick Diaz is riding an 11 fight win streak, heading into this championship bout. He has finished all eleven of those fights, whether it be via stoppage or submission. Diaz goes full speed ahead, gets in your face and does not stop until the referee rips him off. What Diaz may lack in power, he makes up for it by doing damage through accumulation. He throws and lands so many punches and because of his strong chin, he can stand in the pocket and throw them, non-stop, all night. When you run triathlon's on your day off, the pace you can bring to a fight rarely can be matched.
However, Condit is every bit the athlete Diaz is. Condit has one of the best striking arsenals in the Welterweight division and a superb submission game. Both fighters will have no trouble going 25 minutes, but with the weapons these fighters possess, I don't see the fight lasting too long.
Condit is riding a four fight win streak, with his last two wins, stoppages, worthy of Knockout-of-the-Night honours. His picture perfect flying knee KO of previously undefeated Dong-Hyun Kim, was his signature moment inside the octagon and earned him a shot at the title.
While Condit will be game, he has never fought a man like Nick Diaz. Diaz will be able to walk through Condit's best shot tonight and eventually overwhelm him with his patented barrage of punches. Diaz will set up a dream matchup with Georges St. Pierre later this year, after he beats up Condit in a bloody war and Fight of the Night.
Pick - Nick Diaz via 3rd Round TKO
Fabricio Werdum vs Roy Nelson
Werdum, rejuvenated after his submission win over MMA legend, Fedor Emelianenko, will get another shot in the UFC starting with Ultimate Fighter winner, Roy Nelson. Nelson, whose underrated MMA talents are overshadowed by his comical exterior, will be a formidable opponent for the Brazilian. If Nelson has improved on his gas tank, I think he'll get the better of the exchanges on the feet, before utilizing his weight when the fight hits the mat, to take home a ho-hum decision win.
Pick - Roy Nelson via Unanimous Decision
Josh Koscheck vs Mike Pierce
In the lead up to the fight, Pierce has done his best to make a name for himself and get under the skin of Koscheck, by talking trash and wearing a blonde wig to the weigh-in. Pierce is a talented, hard-nosed and very determined fighter, who gave Jon Fitch all he could handle, but despite his confidence in himself, Koscheck's on a different level. Pierce is a gatekeeper in the division, Koscheck is still one of the elite, and his experience and power will shine tonight. Koscheck will stuff takedown attempt after takedown attempt before connecting with an upper cut and finishing the fight with punches on the ground.
Pick - Josh Koscheck via 2nd Round TKO
Renan Barao vs. Scott Jorgensen
Barao has won 27 straight fights, and is likely one more away from a title shot. Jorgensen, one of the best wrestlers in the division, will give him some fits in this bout. Barao's striking talents will be nullified by Jorgensen's wrestling and Barao's shot at the title will be lost in a frustrating night.
Pick - Scott Jorgensen via Unanimous Decision
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