• Condit, the new interim champ (Getty)LAS VEGAS -- Watching the main event of UFC 143 from my spot on press row, where the fight can often look quite a bit different than it does on television, I thought Nick Diaz won his interim welterweight title fight against Carlos Condit. I had Diaz winning the first three rounds and Condit taking the last two. The fight was close enough that you can't call it a robbery, but I did feel Diaz was effective enough over the first three rounds to earn the decision.

    In the aftermath of the decision, and the heated debate that came with it, though, I've been left to wonder: On what do MMA judges base decisions, these days?

    Among the several factors judges are supposed to consider under the Unified Rules is aggression. Diaz was the clear-cut aggressor in the first three rounds.

    Octagon control is also supposed to be considered when judging a round. Condit seemed to spend most of the early rounds backpedaling. He even ended the third round literally scooting backwards on his butt to get out of Diaz's way.

    And yet, you never seem to hear anything about aggression and Octagon control these days when judging is dissected after the fact.

    [Related: Carlos Condit faced with controversy after win over Nick Diaz]

    There was a time when turning an MMA fight into a track meet was not considered a virtue. John McCarthy docked Jamie Varner a point in his UFC 62 loss to Hermes Franca for running when he employed similar tactics. Kalib Starnes was just about mocked out of the sport entirely for running sprints in his UFC 83 bout with Nate Quarry.

    Read More »from Judging, Koscheck’s options and more: UFC 143 Octagon Observations
  • Defense is an underrated aspect of mixed martial arts. That's unless you're a judge.

    Carlos Condit picked his spots and had Nick Diaz whiffing with his punches for much of the night at UFC 143. His strategy and executed resonated with the judges, who scored it 4-1, 4-1 and 3-2 in favor of the new UFC interim welterweight champ. But Condit's ring generalship didn't go over well with many fans.

    Here's sampling of tweets from fights fans who thought Condit simply ran the entire night.

    Condit didn't see it that way.

    Read More »from Plenty of outrage over Diaz-Condit decision, winner defends his approach
  • Fitch and Koscheck in Las Vegas in Aug. of 2010 (Getty)Dana White has said it for years, the fight game isn't a place for team camaraderie in the long run, The fight game will eventually will split up even the best of friends.

    The heat between former teammates Jon Jones and Rashad Evans has been palpable for over a year and now we could see two guys, who appeared to be even closer, fighting in the future.

    Josh Koscheck is done with American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, Ca. That could mean the roadblocks are gone for a Koscheck match against Jon Fitch.

    As teammates they said they'd never fight each other unless it was for a title. That always drove their boss nuts. Now that Koscheck is on his own, would they pass up a chance for a title shot if it meant they had to fight?

    Koscheck gave a cryptic answer when conversing with White during the UFC 143 postfight press conference.

    Read More »from With AKA split, Jon Fitch vs. Josh Koscheck could happen says Dana White
  • LAS VEGAS -- Nick Diaz is brilliant at playing mind games with his opponents, but it didn't work on any level tonight.

    Carlos Condit never took the bait before or during the fight, stuck to the gameplan and outsmarted Diaz to get himself a share of the UFC welterweight title.

    Condit moved beautifully all night and landed 60-plus kicks. He never stood in front of Diaz for more than a few seconds. It all added up to a unanimous decision victory, 48-47, 49-46 and 49-46, in the main event of UFC 143 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.

    It was a difficult fight to score. Judge Cecil Peoples scored it 49-46 (Condit 1, 2, 4, 5), Patricia Morse Jarman had 49-46 (Condit 1, 2, 4, 5) and Junichiro Kamijo 49-46 (Condit 1, 3, 4). Aside the from the fourth round, each round was razor thin.

    When the decision was read, Diaz was shocked. His behavior is nearly impossible to predict, but he threw everyone for a loop during his postfight discussion with UFC analyst Joe Rogan. He complained about the decision and then said he's had it with the sport.

    "I'm not going to accept the fact that was a loss.That ain't right. I pushed him back all fight. I walked him down. Carlos is a great guy. I'm happy for him and his family, but I think I'm done with this MMA," said Diaz.

    Diaz (26-8, 7-5 UFC) appeared to be the aggressor all night, but was it "effective aggression" as the unified rules state in detailing how to score a fight? Condit's constant move stymied Diaz, who was outlanded outlanded 159-117 according to Fight Metric. Compustrike had total strikes 146- 110 in favor of Condit. It also said kicks landed were 104-19 for Condit.

    Read More »from Carlos Condit pulls upset on Nick Diaz to take UFC interim welterweight title, loser says he’s done with fighting
  • LAS VEGAS -- Roy Nelson is slowly shedding the blubber around his midsection, but he still has a ways to go. Fabricio Werdum showed that tonight.

    The Brazilian, fighting for the first time in the UFC since 2008, actually picked apart Nelson on the feet to cruise to a unanimous decision victory, 30-27 on all three cards.

    "Roy is very tough and can endure a lot of beating, but I found his weak spots," said Werdum.

    With a giant belly and a mullet, Nelson is the everyman, and the crowd at Mandalay Bay roared in approval of the Las Vegas native. He came into the fight at just 246 pounds, his lightest weight in years. But even minus the extra 20 pounds he used to fight with, Nelson was still taking big deep breaths midway through the second round. He was a sitting duck.

    Werdum is generally regarded as one of the best Brazilian jiu-jitsu artists in the division, but no one's ever raved about his striking. He beat the heck out of Nelson on the feet. The 6-foot Nelson played perfectly into the 6-5 Werdum's gameplan of working head control to throw knees. Werdum opened a huge gash on Nelson's forehead.

    "This fight was important to me. I trained hard every day for this fight. I had a good strategy going into the fight but the main thing for me was to come out with a victory," said Werdum. FightMetric had Werdum outlanding Nelson 91-26.

    Read More »from Roy Nelson is tough as hell, but it’s not enough to compete with Fabricio Werdum at UFC 143
  • With UFC 143 crowd against him, Josh Koscheck takes decision

    Koscheck outpoints Pierce (Tracy Lee)LAS VEGAS -- It wouldn't be a Josh Koshceck fight if the fans weren't trying to boo him out of the building, would it?

    Everyone's favorite UFC villain was it again on Saturday night at UFC 143, frustrating the crowd during his fight against Mike Pierce and taunting them on the mic afterwards. Koscheck took a split-decision victory every bit as close as it sounds, winning on two of three judges' score cards, 29-28.

    "Hey, you guys boo me all the time," Koscheck said in his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan. "I'm the most hated guy in MMA, guess what, deal with it man! I find a way to win."

    Round one was a very close affair; a tight positional battle with lots of grappling. According to Compustrike, Pierce outlanded Koscheck 22-16 in the round.

    In round two, Koscheck picked up the pace and opened up a deep cut in Pierce's scalp, above his left eye. Koscheck landed a late takedown fairly easily, but couldn't do much with it.

    At the start of round three, the Mandalay Bay Events Center crowd serenaded Koscheck with a "Koscheck sucks" chant, then another close round ensued. Koscheck then further aggravated the crowd with an apparent eye poke late in the round.

    Judge Junichiro Kamijo gave Pierce rounds one and two; Jeff D'Amato and Jeff Collins both gave Koscheck rounds two and three.

    "Mike Pierce is a tough guy," said Koscheck (19-5) "I knew this going in."

    Koscheck has won both of his fights since returning from a broken orbital bone he suffered in his Dec. 2010 loss to Georges St-Pierre.

    Follow Dave Doyle on Twitter:!/davedoylemma

    Read More »from With UFC 143 crowd against him, Josh Koscheck takes decision
  • Barao flies through the air (Getty)

    LAS VEGAS -- Still doubting Renan Barao? No need to anymore.

    The young Brazilian cruised by a pretty game fighter in Scott Jorgensen taking a unanimous decision, 30-27 on all three cards, on the pay-per-view portion of UFC 143 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.

    Barao entered the fight with a brilliant 27-1 record. That includes winning the last 27 straight. The 25-year-old is now a perfect 3-0 in the UFC with wins over Brad Pickett and now Jorgensen. He was a minus-250 favorite and brought home the victory with ease.

    Jorgensen (13-5, 2-1 UFC) is generally regarded as a top seven fighter at 135 pounds. He went the distance in a five-round loss against UFC champion Dominick Cruz. Barao picked him apart on the feet the entire fight. Even more impressive was his takedown defense. In a division, with plenty of former college wrestlers, Barao showed he's not going to have an issue of defending from his back.

    Jorgensen, a three-time Pac-10 wrestling champion at Boise State, never came close to threatening Barao for a takedown. He tried three times in the opening round and Barao powered out of the attempt in each case. Twice, he controlled Jorgensen and turned the clinch to his advantage along the cage. For the fight, Jorgensen was 0-for-7 on takedown attempts.

    Read More »from Renan Barao proves he’s for real with easy win over Scott Jorgensen at UFC 143
  • Ed Herman continues win streak with UFC 143 win

    Ed Herman with the win (Tracy Lee)LAS VEGAS -- If there was ever any doubt that Ed "Short Fuse" Herman was back, he likely erased them with his victory over Clifford Starks at UFC 143 on Saturday night.

    Herman missed all of 2010 after a knee injury. But he won both of his bouts in 2011 and looks ready for a step up in competition in the middleweight division after finishing Starks.

    Herman (20-8) absorbed several big right hands from Starks in a first round that was mostly a tight positional battle. But in the second round, "Short Fuse" found his opening, scoring a trip and using textbook positioning to get Starks' back and

    Read More »from Ed Herman continues win streak with UFC 143 win
  • Figueroa reacts to illegal strike (Tracy Lee)LAS VEGAS -- Twice, Alex Caceres landed kicks to Edwin Figueroa's groin that looked like he was attempting to nail 60-yard field goals. But they cost him an extra point and the decision in their bantamweight bout on Saturday at UFC 143.

    Caceres landed his first kick early in the first round at Mandalay Bay, which sent Figueroa rolling across the mat in agony. Referee Herb Dean issued Caceres a "strong warning" after Figueroa signaled he was able to continue.

    The rest of the first round was wild, as Figueroa connected with a head kick and nearly finished the fight, but Caceres rallied and went for several submission attempts late in the round.

    Midway through the second, Caceres struck again. This time, Dean took the highly unusual step of docking the fighter two points for the infraction as the fight continued.

    Figueroa won round three on all three cards. The scores were 28-27 across the board, two for Figueroa and one for Caceres. If there had been a standard one-point deduction, the bout would have been a majority draw, with two 28-28 cards and a 29-27 for Caceres.

    "I felt like it was a hard earned paycheck," said Figueroa. "He was a good fighter. I had to dig deep for this one.  He came out and landed a few shots early.  It was a tough fight but I came out the winner."

    The loss was the third in four fights for Caceres, the former "TUF" standout. Figueroa was won two straight.

    "Immortal" Brown back on track.

    Matt Brown may or may not be "Immortal," as his nickname suggests, but he sure has managed to hang around in the UFC's welterweight division.

    Brown has grinded his way through 11 UFC fights since 2008, showing promise, but never quite building enough momentum to break through. But he's hoping to turn the page in 2012 after scoring a knockout victory over Chris Cope at UFC 143 Saturday.

    "That's exactly what I need to be doing," said Brown (13-11) "I got away from who I am."

    Brown controlled the action in round one against a tentative Cope (5-4), but never got an opening to do serious damage. That changed early in round two, when he feigned a left, followed with a big right hand that connected, then floored Cope with a left hook. He landed a few more shots on the ground before referee Kim Winslow stopped it at 1:19.

    The win came as a relief to Brown, who had lost four of his previous five fights. "I've got a right hand to knock out anybody, I hope to see more of that."

    Follow Dave Doyle on Twitter:!/davedoylemma

    Read More »from Fouls lead to an Alex Caceres loss while Matt Brown is back on track at UFC 143
  • Poirier cranks the arm of Holloway

    LAS VEGAS -- Dustin Poirier dealt with Max Holloway's standing onslaught for close to two minutes. That's when he had enough. Time for Plan B.

    Poirier took the fight to the ground and taught the 20-year-old a lesson. He mounted him, tried an armbar, switched it to a triangle and then wound up getting the submission finish with a nifty armbar from a topside triangle at 3:23 of the first round at UFC 143.

    Give Holloway some credit. He took the fight on less than a month's notice against a guy who's one of the brightest prospects in the division. Poirier's finish is currently the lead candidate for Submission of the Night. That could be good for $65,000.

    UPDATE: Poirier got the nod for Sub of the Night and the $65,000.

    "I never underestimated Max. I was in his shoes before.  He's a tough fighter and good kickboxer.  He was quicker than I expected though and hit me with a few shots," Poirier said. "I came here to get a win, and I got the finish.  I'm one step closer to being a champion."

    Read More »from Dustin Poirier schools young Max Holloway with wicked submission at UFC 143