Get warmed up for the Super Bowl by watching some hard-hitting action with the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s UFC 143 this Saturday, Feb. 4, live on Pay-Per-View at the Mandalay Events Center in Las Vegas.
After a rash of knee injuries, including a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre is once again sidelined for ten months. St-Pierre is out indefinitely until he can fully recover and get back to fighting. So, with no fighting welterweight champion, Nick Diaz will face Carlos Condit for the welterweight Interim title belt.
The co-main event welcomes back Fabricio Werdum to the Octagon after a great run in the UFC-owned mixed martial arts (MMA) company Strikeforce. Werdum will be taking on fan-favorite, Roy “Big Country” Nelson.
The main card will be available only through Pay-Per-View, while the preliminary card will be aired partly on facebook.com/ufc and the rest on live cable television.
Nick Diaz vs. Carlos “Natural Born Killer” Condit
Nick Diaz – Stockton, Calif., 6-0, 170 pounds, 27-7-1
Carlos Condit – Albuquerque, N.M., 6-2, 170 pounds, 27-5-0
Mixed martial arts’ most ornery veteran, Nick Diaz, will do battle with former World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) welterweight champion Carlos Condit for the welterweight title while Georges St-Pierre is out on injured reserve. Diaz has evolved into one of the best boxers in mixed martial arts (MMA) and is in the most elite class of Brazilian jiu-jitsu. He’s definitely in his prime and has never looked better.
Condit is a huge welterweight and a crafty veteran who brings a wealth of experience to the Octagon. This should be an excellent matchup as both fighters like to stand and bang, which will make for an exciting main event. Condit, before moving over to the UFC, successfully defended his belt three times. This should be a great technical bout for both the casual and the hardcore MMA fan.
Diaz by Unanimous Decision
Roy “Big Country” Nelson vs. Fabricio “Vai Cavalo” Werdum
Roy Nelson – Las Vegas, 6-0, 265 pounds, 17-6-0
Fabricio Werdum – Porto Alegre, Brazil, 6-4, 239 pounds, 14-5-1
Fabricio Werdum enters the UFC for a second time as he faces big Roy Nelson. Werdum hit the jackpot last year when he was the first one to successfully defeat the MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko. This was a monumental upset winning ESPN’s “MMA’s upset of the year award.” Werdum has been on a roll as of late winning three out of his last four bouts against elite competition.
Nelson has had a rough go of it inside the Octagon lately, but considering his last three opponents have all been heavyweight champions, we’ll give him a pass.
This seems to be the weirdest matchup on the card. Nelson is so deceiving that he looks like he should be working at Sears on the tire rack (no offense Brett Rogers), but has proven many times he clearly belongs. Big Country has great standup and although Werdum is a submission wizard, it would be a surprise, but not totally shocking, if Big Country were to submit him.
Werdum by Submission (Rear Naked Choke)
Josh “Kos” Koscheck vs. Mike Pierce
Josh Koscheck – Waynesburg, Pa., 5-10, 170 pounds, 18-5-0
Mike Pierce – Portland, Ore., 5-8, 170 pounds, 13-4-0
Mike Pierce has slid underneath the radar going 5-2 in the welterweight division in the UFC. This will be a huge step forward for him if he can get past a solid top 5 power such as Josh Koscheck. St-Pierre has cleared out the division so much that someone needs to step up and be a legit challenger. Koscheck had his shot twice, so it’s time for some new blood. Pierce can be in the talks with a dominating win, but a decision will not cut it.
Koscheck by TKO (Strikes)
Renan Barao vs. Scott “Young Guns” Jorgensen
Renan Barao – Natal, Brazil, 5-6, 135 pounds, 29-1-0
Scott Jorgensen – Payson, Utah, 5-4, 135 pounds, 13-4-0
Barao by Unanimous Decision
Ed “Short Fuse” Herman vs. Clifford Starks
Ed Herman --Vancouver, Wash., 6-2, 185 pounds, 19-7-0
Clifford Starks – Sacramento, Calif., 6-0, 185 pounds, 8-0-0
Herman by Unanimous Decision
Dustin Poirier vs. Max Holloway
Poirier by TKO (Strikes)
Matthew Riddle vs. Jorge Lopez
Riddle by Unanimous Decision
Alex Caceres vs. Edwin Figueroa
Figueroa by TKO (Strikes)
Matt Brown vs. Chris Cope
Brown by TKO (Strikes)
Dan Stittgen vs. Stephen Thompson
Thompson by Unanimous Decision
Rafael Natal vs. Michael Kuiper
Natal by Submission (Rear Naked Choke)