UFC 143 Fighter of the Night: Carlos Condit

Put your scorecard away.

Carlos Condit stuck to a game plan at UFC 143 and it worked out for him. The aftermath sees him as the interim UFC 170-pound champ and next in line to fight Georges St- Pierre… again.

Unlike the time he was first given a fight with GSP in late 2010 when Diaz failed to attend some pre-fight press conferences, Condit wasn’t shuffled into this position. Instead, the “Natural Born Killer” fought a game opponent and won – unless you, like a lot of people, disagree with the judges.

If that’s the case, Condit disagrees with you.

“I won the fight,” Condit said at the post-fight press conference when asked how he reacts to people on the Internet saying he ran in the fight with Diaz. “I landed a lot of effective strikes. I did what I went in there to do. If I sat there a fought Nick Diaz’s fight, it would probably be him sitting here with this belt instead of me.”

Pick a round, any round. It almost doesn’t matter at this point which ones you feel Diaz won or Condit won. In fact, it doesn’t matter at all. The judges scorecards are in the books and nothing can change about that.

So what happens going forward? According to Diaz, he’s done with fighting. But take that with a grain of salt.

As for Condit, he’ll don an interim title while learning to ride the new Harley Davidson he earned from the UFC 143 win. And as long as the UFC doesn’t force a rematch between Condit and Diaz before GSP returns from injury, the Natural Born Killer will get the next shot at the UFC welterweight champion.

A rematch between between Condit and Diaz is unnecessary for now. Condit can fight St-Pierre, Koscheck can have at it with Diaz, and assuming he gets by Diego Sanchez at next week’s UFC on Fuel TV event, Jake Ellenberger can tangle with Johny Hendricks. With these proposed match-ups, everything can work out, as opposed to forcing the issue with Condit fighting Diaz again.

But we digress.

Gold hardware, a motorcycle, and a chance to beat the best – these are the things Condit earned on Saturday night. That’s a pretty big upside, folks. He’s your UFC 143 Fighter of the Night.

Honorable mention: Welcome back, Fabricio Werdum

It wasn’t that long ago that Fabricio Werdum was first in the UFC. Oct. 25, 2008, saw a moment where an unknown Junior dos Santos threw an uppercut that knocked Werdum out and into the ranks of Scott Coker’s Strikeforce heavyweight division.

The knockout loss was a blessing in disguise, however, because it afforded Werdum the chance to rebound his career while still performing on a relatively large stage outside of the UFC. Throw in a win over then-world’s baddest man Fedor Emelinenko, and Werdum is talked about being a legitimate contender and UFC-worthy.

He proved on Saturday night that he is indeed worthy.

Against Roy Nelson, Werdum showed off an improved stand-up game, striking his opponent with an array of punches, kicks, and knees reflective of his coach, Rafael Cordiero.

UFC 143 was an event whose fallout was surrounded with the phrase “game plan.” With all due respect to Condit and his approach, Werdum executed his game plan flawlessly, cutting open Nelson’s face with pinpoint strikes – a far cry from his traditional jiu-jitsu exhibitions.

“I trained every day in Muay Thai,” Werdum said during the post-fight press conference.

“This was the (game plan), for sure.”

Stepping out of his grappling bubble was a big risk for Werdum, especially against a guy with a good right overhand punch. He played a tricky hand and came out on top in his UFC return, which earns him the honorable mention for UFC 143.

Worth a mention: Low blows that sound like coconuts cracking

It hurts to even write about it.

Alex Caceres lost his undercard fight against Edwin Figueroa. The reason? He kicked him in the unmentionables twice, resulting in two points being deducted from his scorecards and a decision loss.

It’s tough to see a guy get kicked in the groin, but when you add on a sound similar to coconuts falling 50 feet and cracking on unforgiving rocks, it makes for an extra cringe.

How does one avoid said sound effect? Steel cups. This will surely make a kicking opponent think twice about going low in the future. Your grandchildren will thank you one day.

You’re welcome.

Follow @Erik_Fontanez on Twitter or e-mail Erik Fontanez.
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