They are the central figures in one of the year’s most anticipated fights, and they have arrived at their day of reckoning.
Nick Diaz checked in at 169 pounds for his five-round, interim welterweight title bout with Carlos Condit (169) in the UFC 143 headliner on Saturday at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. The eight other fighters booked for duty on the main card, including heavyweight co-headliners Fabricio Werdum (246) and Roy Nelson (246), also met their contracted weight requirements without issue at Friday’s official weigh-in.
Diaz will carry an 11-fight winning streak into the cage. The 28-year-old Stockton, Calif., native last appeared at UFC 137 in October, when he defeated former two-division champion B.J. Penn by unanimous decision. A Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt under Cesar Gracie, Diaz has secured 21 of his 26 professional victories by knockout, technical knockout or submission. Wins over former EliteXC middleweight champion Robbie Lawler, reigning Dream welterweight kingpin Marius Zaromskis, Team Rough House standout Paul Daley and one-time UFC middleweight titleholder Frank Shamrock anchor his long and distinguished resume. Diaz holds a 7-4 mark inside the Octagon.
Rooted at Jackson’s Mixed Martial Arts in his native Albuquerque, N.M., Condit has posted 12 wins in his last 13 appearances. The 27-year-old former WEC champion has not fought since UFC 132 in July, when he flattened the previously unbeaten Dong Hyun Kim with an exquisite flying knee and follow-up punches. Condit has established himself as one of the sport’s preeminent finishers, with 26 of his 27 professional victories coming via KO, TKO or submission. In 31 career bouts, he has never been stopped on strikes. Condit owns a 4-1 record in the UFC.
Sherdog Fantasy MMA: UFC 143 “Diaz vs. Condit” Free Fan Pick’Em
UFC 143 “Diaz vs. Condit” -- which airs live on pay-per-view at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT -- also features a pivotal welterweight tilt matching Josh Koscheck (170) with Mike Pierce (170), a bantamweight duel pitting Scott Jorgensen (135) against Renan “Barao” Pegado (136) and a middleweight scrap pairing “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 3 finalist Ed Herman (185) with the undefeated Clifford Starks (185). Two hours prior, the FX network will carry four preliminary bouts: Dustin Poirier (146) vs. Max Holloway (144), Alex Caceres (136) vs. Edwin Figueroa (135), Matt Brown (171) vs. Chris Cope (171) and Matt Riddle (170) vs. Henry Martinez (169). The two remaining undercard fights will stream live to the UFC’s Facebook page, as Rafael Natal (186) locks horns with Michael Kuiper (183) and Stephen Thompson (171) collides with Daniel Stittgen (170).
UFC 143 “Diaz vs. Condit”
Saturday, Feb. 4
Mandalay Bay Events Center
UFC Interim Welterweight Championship
Nick Diaz (169) vs. Carlos Condit (169)
Fabricio Werdum (246) vs. Roy Nelson (246)
Josh Koscheck (170) vs. Mike Pierce (170)
Renan “Barao” Pegado (136) vs. Scott Jorgensen (135)
Ed Herman (185) vs. Clifford Starks (185)
Dustin Poirier (146) vs. Max Holloway (144)
Alex Caceres (136) vs. Edwin Figueroa (135)
Matt Brown (171) vs. Chris Cope (171)
Matt Riddle (170) vs. Henry Martinez (169)
Michael Kuiper (183) vs. Rafael Natal (186)
Stephen Thompson (171) vs. Daniel Stittgen (170)