Condit kept his head straight
Date: 2012-02-05 00:00:00
Submitted By: Come Get You Some
If Carlos Condit waits for Georges St. Pierre, the Ultimate Fighting Championship will get the bout it expected all along. Judges delivered a unanimous decision to Condit on Saturday against Nick Diaz at UFC 143 in Las Vegas. Condit becomes UFC's interim welterweight champion while 170-pound titleholder Georges St. Pierre recovers from a torn knee ligament. St. Pierre doesn't expect to return until October or November; Condit hasn't decided whether to take another fight to stay busy in the meantime. But he has been positioning himself over the last several months to face St. Pierre bout. UFC replaced Diaz with Condit for an October title fight that was subsequently postponed by a St. Pierre knee injury preceding his current ailment. But a championship bout has been Condit's horizon since he knocked out Dong Hyun Kim in July. Dana White, president of UFC parent Zuffa, last fall described Condit as the leading title contender before officials decided to put Diaz into the title picture to satisfy popular demand. St. Pierre wanted Diaz to win this past weekend because of bad blood brewing between the two since last year. But previous statements suggest Condit provides the more difficult match puzzle to solve. "Condit has more power, way more diversity of attack than Nick Diaz has," St. Pierre said in September. "I think he's going to be a way more dangerous opponent than Nick Diaz." The greater variety of Condit's offense was evident at UFC 143. While Diaz stalked forward and tried trapping him against the cage fence for boxing exchanges, Condit controlled the pace and terrain of the fight by continuously circling or darting in and out while mixing up kicks and punches. PHOTOS: UFC 143 gallery AS IT HAPPENED: UFC 143 play-by-play Diaz normally overwhelms foes with rapid punches, but he found himself slowed him down Saturday. More than a quarter of Condit's attempted strikes were kicks to the legs of the plodding Diaz. In the end, Condit threw more blows overall while holding an edge in significant strikes, according to FightMetric, which saw him outlanded Diaz every round but the second. Compustrike counted a greater total of successful strikes from Condit in the first, third and fourth rounds. Condit and St. Pierre normally share the resources of Greg Jackson as their chief cornerman. His influence can be seen in Condit's decision tonight to avoid extended striking exchanges with Diaz. "I didn't expect the fight to as technical as it was," White said at the UFC 143 post-fight press conference. "I expected these two guys to go at it." Jackson has previously said that he will not coach in fights involving two men in his network. Condit has characterized a bout with St. Pierre as merely business. "We train at a camp with the best fighters in the world, and eventually we're bound to meet up in a title match," Condit said last year. "Honestly, it's the kind of problem that you want to have at a camp, having the two best guys in the world fighting at your place." For a fight with Condit, St. Pierre would stay with his main camp at Tristar gym in Montreal with trainer Firas Zahabi. Condit normally works out of Jackson's gym in Albuquerque, N.M., but the other half of the coaching partnership there, Mike Winkeljohn, can oversee the training of fighters in bouts that Jackson avoids. While Jackson might have influenced their philosophies of fighting, Condit and St. Pierre employ very different styles. Even when he fights as carefully as he did against Diaz, Condit flows constantly, attacks from unusual angles and tries the occasional fancy strike such as a flying knee or head kick. Condit on the ground has effective scrambling, a skill that came in handy on Saturday; after Diaz mounted his back in the fifth round, Condit turned the situation around and ended the fight on top. CAPTIONBy Kelvin Kuo, US Presswire St. Pierre prefers a more conventional approach almost predictable in its rigor. He won his first title by kickboxing against wrestler Matt Hughes. He defeated another wrestler, Josh Koscheck, for the second time by sitting behind a jab. Wins against smaller fighters BJ Penn and Matt Serra saw St. Pierre use his size, strength and adept wrestling to wear them down with ground-and-pound. A similar approach worked against Thiago Alves, an aggressive striker and skilled jiu-jitsu practitioner but poor wrestler. One of St. Pierre's Tristar teammates, Rory MacDonald, knows something about putting Condit on the ground. MacDonald had three takedowns against him in the first round of their June 2010 fight, though Condit eventually won with a late stoppage. Condit's vulnerability to takedowns reared its head late in the fight with Diaz, who pulled him down in the final round. But Condit's training camp for Diaz largely emphasized kicks and movement rather than counterwrestling. Last year Condit spent months getting ready for ground fighting, having trained first for an expected bout with BJ Penn and subsequently for St. Pierre before the loss of the welterweight title bout last fall. "We were training for BJ to come in with a game plan to maybe take me down and utilize his ground skills," Condit said before the late October event. "I imagine St. Pierre will be looking to do the same, so not much has changed."