UFC 143 Fight Card: Info and Predictions for Every Fight

G DAnalyst IIIFebruary 1, 2012

UFC 143 Fight Card: Info and Predictions for Every Fight

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    On Saturday, February 4th, 2012, the Ultimate Fighting Championship will travel to Las Vegas, Nevada for the highly anticipated UFC 143.

    UFC 143 will take place at the Mandalay Bay Events Center beginning at 7:00 p.m. PT and 10:00 p.m. ET.

    In the main event of the evening, welterweights Nick Diaz and Carlos Condit will square off for a chance at the UFC's 170-pound interim title.

    In total, the fight card consists of five main card fights and six preliminary bouts.

    The following slides display info and predictions for every fight at UFC 143.

    Let's take a look.

Rafael Natal vs. Michael Kuiper

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    Rafael Natal

    Career Record: 13-3-1

    UFC Record: 1-1-1

    Key Wins: Paul Bradley

    Key Losses: Rich Attonito

    Michael Kuiper

    Career Record: 11-0

    UFC Record: 0-0

    Key Wins: David Marcina

    Key Losses: N/A

    In the first bout of the evening at UFC 143, Rafael Natal will look to win his second consecutive fight when he takes on UFC newcomer Michael Kuiper.

    Natal will hold the advantage, as he's much more experienced, but Kuiper has yet to taste the feelings of defeat in his career.

    When action begins, Natal will attempt to put Kuiper on his back and submit him early as he's done in the past.

    If Kuiper can shake off any nerves that may be present, and remain on his feet, he'll have a chance.

    Prediction: Natal by Unanimous Decision

Dan Stittgen vs. Stepehen Thompson

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    Dan Stittgen

    Career Record: 7-1

    UFC Record: 0-0

    Key Wins: Curtis Bailey

    Key Losses: Justin Edwards

    Stephen Thompson

    Career Record: 5-0

    UFC Record: 0-0

    Key Wins: Patrick Mandio

    Key Losses: N/A

    If there's one thing you can say about Stephen Thompson it's that he never, ever loses.

    In fact, before coming to the sport of mixed martial arts, Thompson took part in professional kickboxing, where he held a record of 57-0 with five world championships.

    His opponent, Dan Stittgen, will have his hands full throughout the evening, as he'll be facing one of the better up-and-coming strikers in the UFC today.

    Neither Stittgen nor Thompson have fought inside the Octagon to date, meaning fans should expect a slow start.

    Prediction: Thompson by Unanimous Decision

Matt Brown vs. Chris Cope

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    Matt Brown

    Career Record: 12-11

    UFC Record: 5-5

    Key Wins: John Howard

    Key Losses: Chris Lytle

    Chris Cope

    Career Record: 5-2

    UFC Record: 1-1

    Key Wins: Chuck O'Neil

    Key Losses: Che Mills

    In one of the more interesting bouts of the evening in Las Vegas, Nevada, Matt Brown will enter the Octagon in a must-win situation in order to keep his job in the UFC.

    Brown's weakness has been his inability to defend against the submission, as he's been caught nine times in his career.

    But Cope hasn't showed much of a skill set on the ground and will attempt to keep action on his feet.

    Cope will attempt to use his knockout power on Brown, but his opponent has never been defeated by KO in his career.

    Prediction: Cope by Split Decision

Alex Caceres vs. Edwin Figueroa

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    Alex Caceres

    Career Record: 6-4

    UFC Record: 1-2

    Key Wins: Cole Escovedo

    Key Losses: Jimy Hettes

    Edwin Figueroa

    Career Record: 8-1

    UFC Record: 1-1

    Key Wins: Johnny Bedford

    Key Losses: Michael McDonald

    Alex Caceres will set foot inside the Octagon with one weakness: defending against the submission.

    Edwin Figueroa is one of the more underrated fighters in his respected division and has the skill set to knockoff Caceres.

    Caceres will come out of the gate looking for the knockout blow, but the question is whether or not he can capitalize on it.

    When the rubber meets the road, Figueroa will find a way to take Caceres to the ground and finish him from there.

    Prediction: Figueroa by R2 Submission

Matt Riddle vs. Henry Martinez

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    Matt Riddle

    Career Record: 5-3

    UFC Record: 5-3

    Key Wins: DaMarques Johnson

    Key Losses: Lance Benoist

    Henry Rodriguez

    Career Record: 8-1

    UFC Record: 0-0

    Key Wins: Jake McKnight

    Key Losses: Wilson Reis

    Henry Rodriguez recently got the biggest phone call of his life when he was told he'd be filling in to fight Matt Riddle in a welterweight showdown at the Mandalay Bay Events Center on January 4th.

    However, Rodriguez's minimal time of preparation may ultimately be the downfall in his performance when action begins at UFC 143.

    Riddle certainly isn't the flashiest fighter, but he has the ingredients to get the job done when it matters.

    If Rodriguez can come out swinging for the fences, he has a chance to catch Riddle and get his first Octagon victory.

    But that will be a difficult task in and of itself.

    Prediction: Riddle by Unanimous Decision

Dustin Poirier vs. Max Holloway

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    Dustin Poirier

    Career Record: 11-1

    UFC Record: 3-0

    Key Wins: Pablo Garza

    Key Losses: Danny Castillo

    Max Holloway

    Career Record: 4-0

    UFC Record: 0-0

    Key Wins: Eddie Rincon

    Key Losses: N/A

    When the lights go out at UFC 143, featherweight Dustin Poirier will look to continue on his red-hot streak when he meets Max Holloway in the final preliminary bout of the evening.

    Poirier is believed to be the next best thing, as he's just 23 years of age.

    That being said, Holloway has yet to lose in his mixed martial arts career and is one of the best conditioned fighters in the 145-pound weight division.

    But he's yet to face an opponent with the versatility of Poirier.

    Prediction: Poirier by R1 TKO

Ed Herman vs. Clifford Starks

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    Ed Herman

    Career Record: 19-7

    UFC Record: 6-5

    Key Wins: Kyle Noke

    Key Losses: Demian Maia

    Clifford Starks

    Career Record: 8-0

    UFC Record: 1-0

    Key Wins: Dustin Jacoby

    Key Losses: N/A

    In what has potential to be one of the most exciting fights of the evening, Ed Herman and Clifford Starks will meet in the first of five main card bouts.

    Starks will enter action having never lost in his career, as he holds a perfect 8-0 record.

    Herman is a jack-of-all-trades fighter and has what it takes to finish the fight from any area inside the Octagon.

    Starks needs to show he can feel comfortable on the ground and in the stand-up if he wants a chance to be declared victorious.

    But when it comes down to it, Herman will be too much to handle.

    Prediction: Herman by R3 Submission

Renan Barao vs. Scott Jorgensen

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    Renan Barao

    Career Record: 27-1 (1)

    UFC Record: 2-0

    Key Wins: Brad Pickett

    Key Losses: Joao Souza

    Scott Jorgensen

    Career Record: 13-4

    UFC Record: 2-0

    Key Wins: Jeff Curran

    Key Losses: Dominick Cruz

    While Urijah Faber is set to receive a title shot against Dominick Cruz at some point in 2012, Renan Barao and Scott Jorgensen could very well be next in line.

    Barao is arguably the most underrated fighter in the UFC today, as he hasn't lost a bout in 28 consecutive outings.

    Jorgensen certainly isn't the flashiest bantamweight in his respected division, but he is consistent and has exceptional conditioning.

    Fans in attendance at the Mandalay Bay Events Center can expect this bout to exceed past the second round.

    When all is said and done, it'll be Barao who moves closer towards UFC gold.

    Prediction: Barao by R3 Submission

Josh Koscheck vs. Mike Pierce

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    Josh Koscheck

    Career Record: 16-5

    UFC Record: 14-5

    Key Wins: Matt Hughes, Anthony Johnson

    Key Losses: Georges St-Pierre

    Mike Pierce

    Career Record: 13-4

    UFC Record: 5-2

    Key Wins: Paul Bradley

    Key Losses: Johny Hendricks, Jon Fitch

    Many fans were surprised when it was announced that Josh Koscheck's next bout would be against fellow welterweight Mike Pierce.

    Pierce's resume has been lackluster, but he could make some noise when action begins, as he has one-punch knockout power.

    Koscheck is clearly the well-rounded fighter and will attempt to wrestle Pierce to a decision victory or overpower him in the stand-up.

    Either way, it'll be Koscheck who reigns supreme and makes a case for a title shot of his own.

    Prediction: Koscheck by R2 TKO

Roy Nelson vs. Fabricio Werdum

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    Roy Nelson

    Career Record: 16-6

    UFC Record: 3-2

    Key Wins: Mirko "Cro Cop", Brendan Schaub

    Key Losses: Junior Dos Santos, Frank Mir

    Fabricio Werdum

    Career Record: 14-5-1

    UFC Record: 2-2

    Key Wins: Fedor Emelianenko, Alistair Overeem

    Key Losses: Alistair Overeem, Junior Dos Santos

    After spending time away from the Octagon, Fabricio Werdum will make his return to take on Roy Nelson in the co-main event of the evening.

    Nelson showed his best performance of his career in his recent victory over Mirko "Cro Cop," where he weighed in eight pounds less than in his previous bout.

    However, Werdum has fought and defeated much more legitimate opponents than Nelson, ultimately meaning he could take the cake in his first fight back.

    But regardless of how this heavyweight showdown will end, fans can expect a slugfest early and often.

    Prediction: Werdum by Unanimous Decision

Nick Diaz vs. Carlos Condit

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    Nick Diaz

    Career Record: 26-7 (1)

    UFC Record: 7-4

    Key Wins: BJ Penn, Paul Daley

    Key Losses: Diego Sanchez, Sean Sherk

    Carlos Condit

    Career Record: 27-5

    UFC Record: 4-1

    Key Wins: Jake Ellenberger, Rory MacDonald

    Key Losses: Martin Kampmann

    In the main event of the evening at UFC 143, Nick Diaz will look to impose his spectacular boxing skills on Carlos Condit for the chance of being the UFC interim welterweight champion.

    However, Condit will be able to hold his own on his feet and has much more power in his punches than Diaz.

    Diaz's game plan will consist of quantity instead of quality, as he'll attempt to win points from the judge's scorecards.

    If the bout finds its way to the ground, both Diaz and Condit have the experience to defend against the submission.

    The biggest question will be answered in the conditioning aspect of the fight, as Diaz is arguably the most conditioned fighter in MMA today.

    Prediction: Diaz by Unanimous Decision

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