The UFC 143 results are in and we have a new interim UFC welterweight champion from the main event between Carlos Condit and Nick Diaz. An eventual showdown with current champion Georges St-Pierre seems almost inevitable now.
In the end, it was Condit who had his hand raised, but there will be controversy for quite some time about what really should have happened with the judging.
But the main eventers weren’t the only big winners and losers from Saturday night’s fight card. In fact, some of the people who were most affected didn’t even compete on the card.
With that said, let’s take a closer look at the real winners and losers from UFC 143.
Undefeated Stephen Thompson made his UFC debut on Saturday night as he competed against Daniel Stittgen in the opening bout on Facebook.
The karate expert started off slow and appeared to be looking for his opponent to make a move, but when Stittgen avoided being too aggressive, it appeared that the fight was going to be relatively boring.
Then Thompson exploded.
After missing a couple punches, Thompson came completely out of nowhere with a brutal right high kick to the jaw that flattened Stittgen with ease.
We may hear some comparisons to Lyoto Machida in coming weeks and months, but Thompson might actually be a better karate fighter.
“The Immortal” has been anything but his nickname in recent fights, having won just one of his previous five fights in the Octagon. Needless to say, with that kind of a record, Brown desperately needed a win if he hoped to keep his job with the organization.
Brown was given another journeyman-type fighter in Chris Cope who needed a victory himself, but the long-time veteran showed up with one of his best performances at UFC 143.
Utilizing the non-stop pressure that we haven’t seen from him in quite some time, Brown finally caught Cope with a huge right hand followed by a left that ended the fight in dramatic fashion.
This big bounce-back moment for his career could be just what he needs to get back on track.
One of the bright spots of The Ultimate Fighter 13, Chris Cope made a name for himself with his dramatic improvement from the beginning of the season to the end. From that point, he has only gotten better, but his performance at UFC 143 proved that he’s still not a top-level performer.
Cope suffered a brutal knockout at the hands of Matt Brown and has now lost back-to-back fights in the Octagon, each by a fairly intense KO.
He’s probably not in danger of losing his job yet, but Cope will definitely need a “W” the next time he gets back into the cage if he wants to stay in the UFC.
UFC 143 will be remembered for many reasons, but one of them will be the crazy fight between Edwin Figueroa and Alex Caceres.
Not only was this one of the least technical fights that has happened in the UFC in years, it also included two low blows from Caceres which knocked Figueroa down for almost 10 minutes combined.
In the end it was Figueroa who got the win, but only because referee took an unprecedented two points from “Bruce Leeroy” after the second low blow. Even then, the fight went to a split decision.
Both fighters were noted as “losers” for this one, but for different reasons. Caceres is a loser because he was officially noted as the loser as well as his complete incompetence in applying a rear-naked choke. Figueroa was a loser because it’s now questionable if he will be able to father children later in life.
What a beast!
Fighting undefeated newcomer Max Holloway, Dustin Poirier proved that he may very well be a future top contender in the UFC featherweight division.
“The Diamond” looked a little uncomfortable at first, but when the fight went to the ground, he completely took over. He nearly finished the fight with a traditional armbar, but Holloway rolled it over. Poirier didn’t lose control, though, and actually put on a triangle which he then rolled into a mounted triangle.
From there, the fight was over as Poirier applied a horrendous-looking triangle from that position which caused an almost instant tapout.
The excellent performance should move Poirier significantly up on the rankings despite Holloway not being the biggest name ever. In a division that seems to be nearly bare of all contenders, Poirier may have a real claim to be fighting for the title very soon.
It has been a long road back for Ed Herman, but “Short Fuse” has wasted no time in getting himself right back into the mix of things in the welterweight division, earning his third victory in the Octagon since June at UFC 143.
Herman fought the undefeated Clifford Starks, who was coming off of an impressive victory over Dustin Jacoby in his UFC debut at UFC 137. This powerful middleweight smashed Herman repeatedly in the first round with some huge punches.
Starks may have actually won the first round, but the experience of Herman took over in the second round.
With his back against the fence, Herman tripped Starks to the ground and right into side control. From there, it was only seconds later that Herman took the mount and then went right into taking Starks’ back.
Starks did his best to defend, but Herman’s jiu-jitsu was just too much and the rear-naked choke was inevitable. “Short Fuse” is now one step closer to a top-10 ranking.
One of the top five featherweights in the world on almost all MMA rankings, Scott Jorgensen was possibly one win away from a title shot coming into his UFC 143 bout against fellow top-10 opponent Renan Barao.
That type of opportunity usually turns into some impressive performances from most fighters, but it almost appeared to negatively affect Jorgensen, as he just was not very aggressive throughout the fight.
Jorgensen ended up losing a unanimous decision, 30-27, and unfortunately will fall back down the rankings.
A 30-27 decision might not have been what Barao would have preferred, but hey, a win is a win.
With his victory over Jorgensen, Barao is now a ridiculous 28-1 in his MMA career, with his only loss having come all the way back in his MMA debut back in 2005. He is 3-0 in the UFC and really has not been pushed to a close fight in any of his five fights under the Zuffa banner.
This was Mike Pierce’s chance to really put his name on the map. He called out Josh Koscheck and got the fight he wanted, but he couldn’t close the deal.
Pierce somehow won the fight on one judge’s card, but the reality is that this fight was thoroughly dominated by the former UFC welterweight No. 1 contender, both on the feet and in the takedown game.
Mike Pierce still has plenty of talent and can continue to climb the ranks, but Josh Koscheck is just not the kind of fight he should be requesting.
It wasn’t the best performance of his career, but Josh Koscheck proved that he is still absolutely one of the elite 170-pound fighters in all of MMA with his grinding decision over Mike Pierce.
Don’t let the one judge who gave the fight to Pierce throw you off. Koscheck won this fight fairly easily and the fans weren’t happy about it as they booed him relentlessly in the post-fight interview with Joe Rogan.
Koscheck has now gone 2-0 since his orbital bone-crushing loss to Georges St-Pierre at UFC 124. Unfortunately, the two losses he has to St-Pierre already make it unlikely that he’s going to get another shot at the champ anytime soon.
However, with St-Pierre possibly being out until later in 2012, there is a possibility that Koscheck may get a shot at the interim championship before then.
What an impressive performance from Fabricio Werdum.
After being the man to dethrone Fedor, Werdum’s momentum has slowed a bit after a loss to Alistair Overeem, but he got back on the right path on Saturday night with a crushing victory over Roy “Big Country” Nelson.
A dominant striking effort from one of the best jiu-jitsu practitioners in all of MMA, Werdum displayed Anderson Silva-like knees to the face that opened up a huge gash over Nelson’s nose early in the bout. From there, he used superior technique and an apparent reach advantage to pick apart Nelson for another two rounds on his way to a dominant decision victory.
Werdum should be back in or very near the top five in the heavyweight division with this victory.
You know what? He may not be the most technically sound and he’s probably never going to hold a major title, but Roy Nelson has to be the toughest mother----- on the planet.
Has someone ever taken as much of a beating as Roy Nelson has in his UFC fights?
Yeah, he has handed out a couple of his own knockouts and none of his opponents walk out of the cage without their share of battle wounds, but Nelson just takes epic ass-whoopings and just walks through them like a machine.
Win, lose or draw on the scorecard, Roy Nelson is a winner. I won’t listen to anyone who says otherwise.
Not many gave him a great chance to win a decision, but Carlos Condit did the unthinkable by out-striking and just fighting the smarter fight against Nick Diaz on his way to becoming the new UFC interim welterweight champion.
Diaz may still believe that he is the best fighter on the planet, but for one night, the best fighter was Carlos Condit.
The decision will undoubtedly be highly debated as Diaz’s fights always are, but it doesn’t matter. Condit is the winner and should eventually get his shot at the current UFC welterweight champion and Greg Jackson teammate Georges St-Pierre.
As great as he probably feels for his friend Carlos Condit, it’s hard to believe that he isn’t just a bit disappointed that he’s not going to get the fight he wanted against Nick Diaz.
Condit-GSP is a great fight. It will be highly anticipated and both of the fighters have been on long winning streaks with victories over top-level opponents.
However, the pure reality is that it’s not the fight that the fans wanted and that could hurt the welterweight division in the long run, especially with Nick Diaz’s post-fight tantrum.
“I’m done with this sh--.”
Five words in the post-fight interview with Joe Rogan said it all when it comes to how Nick Diaz feels about the judges’ decision to give Carlos Condit the victory.
And with that, we may have seen the last of Nick Diaz in the UFC, or in MMA entirely.
We’ve seen Diaz frustrated before, we’ve seen him threaten to quit MMA before, we’ve seen him not show up to scheduled meetings and press conferences before... but this time it might be for real.
Whether it ends up being the end of his MMA career or not, Nick Diaz acted like a crybaby. Even in victory, Diaz acts like a baby on a regular basis, so this really isn’t anything new... but wow. He took it to a new level tonight.
Congrats on a great career if this is it, Nick, but you don’t need to act like this.
For more MMA news, fighter interviews and opinions, follow Nick Caron: @NicholasCaron