With Georges St. Pierre out for at least 6-8 months after tearing knee ligaments, UFC 143 will be headlined by Carlos Condit and Nick Diaz for the right to be called the interim UFC Welterweight Champion. Diaz made the move from Strikeforce to the UFC after Strikeforce ran out of good welterweights for him to fight. Originally, Diaz was due to fight GSP at UFC 137 before he was pulled from the main event by Dana White after missing UFC press conferences. Carlos Condit, who was supposed to fight BJ Penn on the co-main, replaced Diaz as the title challenger, with the latter fighting Penn instead. GSP got injured and the fight with Condit was off. Sure enough, Condit didn’t have a fight and Penn vs. Diaz was the new main event. Diaz rallied from losing the opening round to beat the living crap out of BJ Penn in the last two rounds, coming very close to a TKO finish at times, and winning a unanimous decision.
It was expected that GSP’s recovery would be in time for Super Bowl weekend and Diaz would fight GSP for the title. Carlos Condit was scheduled to fight Josh Koscheck on the same card. As mentioned earlier, GSP blew out his knee and now it’s Condit vs. Diaz for the interim belt.
The betting lines for this fight have opened up and inexplicably Condit is the slight favorite:
As if Nick Diaz needs a reason to motivate himself for his upcoming UFC 143 main event matchup with Carlos Condit — a bout that will determine a UFC interim welterweight champion — Diaz can turn to the oddsmakers for some fuel.
Diaz has voiced a displeasure at a perceived lack of respect for his achievements, and despite winning 11 fights in a row and vacating the Strikeforce welterweight belt to fight in the UFC, that apparently wasn’t quite enough for linesmakers, who installed Condit as the favorite at UFC 143.
Condit was only slightly favored in the opening line listed at several online sports books. He was listed at -125 while Diaz was -105.
Since then, however, bettors have already closed the gap, and the fight is now a pick ’em, with both fighters at -115.
The fact that Diaz isn’t a favorite in this fight is ridiculous. As much as I like Carlos Condit, his path to the title came through beating Jake Ellenberger, Rory MacDonald, Dan Hardy, and Dong Hyun Kim. At the time of each fight, only Dan Hardy was ranked in the top 10. Condit has convincingly beaten very good fighters — and Dan Hardy — but he has yet to really get that quality win over a legitimate top 5 opponent. He’s avoided having to fight Jon Fitch, Josh Koscheck, BJ Penn, and even Jake Shields to prove that he is truly an elite welterweight.
Nick Diaz hasn’t lost since 2007 and hasn’t lost at welterweight since 2006. After going through a series of “striker-friendly” matchups in Strikeforce, Diaz got a top 10 fighter in Paul Daley and became the first man to KO/TKO him. Then this past October he destroyed BJ Penn and effectively retired him.
Diaz has the better boxing, better volume of punches, elite Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and Carlos Condit doesn’t have enough wrestling capabilities to really hold Nick down like others who have beaten him in the past. Both men have incredible chins and tend to be tad reckless in the stand-up battle, but gun to my head Nick Diaz is the more complete and superior fighter to Carlos Condit and should be reflected as such in the betting lines.
I’m not the world’s biggest Nick Diaz fan, mostly because of his personality, but the man is an absolute animal. He has markedly improved from his first UFC stint and while he probably can’t beat St. Pierre, he would cripple most of the world’s best welterweights.
Diaz should be favored and while I’m rooting for Condit, he’s just not the better man in the cage and has not beaten the better competition.