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UFC 171: Carlos Condit vs. Tyron Woodley Head-to-Toe Breakdown

Sean SmithAnalyst IMarch 11, 2014

UFC 171: Carlos Condit vs. Tyron Woodley Head-to-Toe Breakdown

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    Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

    Competing in the co-main event on a UFC 171 fight card that is headlined by a fight between Johny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler for the vacant welterweight championship, Carlos Condit and Tyron Woodley are positioned well to earn a shot at the belt on Saturday.

    After a loss to Hendricks in a Fight of the Night outing, Condit rebounded by stopping Martin Kampmann with strikes. Should Hendricks claim the title this weekend, Condit could still be an interesting challenger for him, as plenty would be interested in seeing a repeat of their UFC 158 meeting.

    Woodley's resume is lacking a bit for a fighter who is hoping to earn a shot at UFC gold. He's only one fight removed from a loss to Jake Shields, but if he can follow up a knockout win over Josh Koscheck with an impressive victory over Condit at UFC 171, he could make the statement he needs to jump ahead of other contenders who may be more deserving.  

    As this potential title-shot eliminator approaches, here is a closer look at how Condit and Woodley match up in all areas.

Striking

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    Eric Jamison/Associated Press

    Carlos Condit might be the best striker in the welterweight division.

    "The Natural Born Killer" recently stopped Martin Kampmann, is the only fighter to have knocked out Dan Hardy and nearly dethroned Georges St-Pierre with a head kick before the Canadian champion stepped away from fighting. With no knockout losses on his record, Condit is also excellent defensively when standing.

    With a knockout victory over Josh Koscheck under his belt, Tyron Woodley also has dangerous striking. However, he's not as adept at thwarting oncoming attacks. In his final Strikeforce outing, he was stopped by Nate Marquardt, who might have more power than Condit but isn't as technical.

    Having a bad habit of reaching for leg kicks, Woodley could open himself up for disaster against Condit, who will use that to set up head kicks.  

    Edge: Condit

Takedowns

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    Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

    Tyron Woodley's answer to Carlos Condit's striking will be wrestling. 

    While he hasn't scored any takedowns in his past three fights, he scored at least one takedown in each of his final four Strikeforce bouts. Competing against Nate Marquardt, Jordan Mein, Paul Daley and Tarec Saffiedine in those fights, he wasn't facing mediocre competition either.

    Surrendering 25 takedowns in his past three outings, Condit's defensive wrestling has been a problem. After giving up more than a handful of takedowns against Martin Kampmann, it's unlikely Condit will improve enough to shut down the wrestling of Woodley on Saturday.

    The NCAA All-American wrestler should be able to take Condit down regularly this weekend.

    Edge: Woodley

Grappling

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    Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

    Carlos Condit's ability to escape from the bottom position could determine the outcome of this matchup.

    He's going to get taken down unless he scores a quick finish. However, "The Natural Born Killer" has shown an ability to cause damage off his back and return to a standing position against high-level wrestlers in past fights.

    Georges St-Pierre and Johny Hendricks took Condit down so many times because he kept finding a way to get up. The former interim champion has a solid guard offensively and defensively and should be able to prevent Tyron Woodley from completely neutralizing him on the ground.

    Though Woodley's wrestling is top-notch, he hasn't stopped any highly ranked opponents on the ground. If he's simply going to look to maintain top position against Condit, Woodley will find himself taking elbows to the top of the head and fighting off submission attempts. 

    Edge: Condit

Intangibles

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    Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sp

    This fight could be a main event on a lot of smaller shows, and that would have benefited Carlos Condit greatly.

    Condit has great conditioning and has gone at least three rounds in his past four fights. Tyron Woodley, meanwhile, was finished in the only contest that went into a fourth round.

    While this matchup won't last more than 15 minutes, Condit's conditioning could still be an important factor. If he can force Woodley to expend a significant amount of energy looking for takedowns, Condit could take over later on like he did against Martin Kampmann, Rory MacDonald and others. 

    Edge: Condit

Prediction

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    Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

    Tyron Woodley is going to secure his takedowns in this matchup. Carlos Condit's wrestling has been an issue for years, and he hasn't found a way to improve it enough to stop the takedowns of an opponent like Woodley.

    Still, Condit has won win fights in the past without shutting down takedowns. He gave up six takedowns against Martin Kampmann, one opposite Dong Hyun Kim and three in his meeting with Rory MacDonald. Nonetheless, "The Natural Born Killer" won all those fights with knockouts.

    The Jackson's MMA fighter might lose because of his defensive wrestling early on, but he'll keep getting back to his feet, which will slowly wear Woodley down. It may come down to Condit needing a finish in the third round, but he's capable of stopping a fading Woodley. 

     

    Prediction

    Condit defeats Woodley by (T)KO in the third round.

     

    Statistics via FightMetric.com.

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