The UFC scored a touchdown in putting together Nick Diaz squaring off with Carlos Condit on Super Bowl weekend with the interim welterweight championship on the line.

Fans at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas were treated to many solid fights that ranged from close split decisions to highlight reel knockouts to crazy submission maneuvers.

Not only was the interim belt on the line, but UFC 143 also featured Fabricio Werdum returning to the Octagon to take on “Big Country” Roy Nelson, while former top contender Josh Koscheck took on Mike Pierce.

The event was broadcast live on pay-per-view, with FX and Facebook streaming the undercard bouts.

Condit earns title shot with decision win over Diaz

Any match-up that the UFC decides to air a UFC Primetime special for is sure to be a great fight in the making. Nick Diaz and Carlos Condit did not disappoint in the main event on Saturday as both men fought to a close decision, with Condit earning the nod. Condit will now face UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre in the future to unify his interim title with GSP’s championship belt.

The story of the fight throughout the majority of the contest was the striking of Condit. “The Natural Born Killer” came in with a solid game plan to mix up his strikes with kicks, knees and punches. When Diaz tried to close the distance, Condit would simply back out and continue to keep his distance to set up his shots.

Midway through the fight, Diaz tried to play head games by dropping his hands and taunting his opponent. But the games were ignored by Condit, who continued to gain the upper hand as the bout progressed.

The fight did not hit the mat until the two-minute mark of the fifth and final round. Diaz was able to successfully drag Condit to the ground and took his back. After a choke attempt failed, Condit was able to survive and go to the judges’ scorecards.

One judge scored the bout 48-47, while the remaining two saw it 49-46, all in favor of the winner and new interim welterweight champion, Carlos Condit.

After the bout, in an interview with Joe Rogan, Diaz stated that he has had enough of MMA and announced his retirement.

Werdum out-strikes Nelson in decision victory

In a co-main event that didn’t get as much publicity as it should have, former Strikeforce contender Fabricio Werdum made his UFC return against Roy Nelson, defeating him by unanimous decision.

Some expected Nelson to have the striking advantage in the match-up, but Werdum proved that he is no slouch standing and displayed his striking very nicely in this fight.

In the opening round, it was all about the clinch game for the Brazilian. Werdum worked his Muay Thai effectively by pressing Nelson against the cage and landed numerous knees, with one busting up Nelson.

From that point, Nelson just wasn’t able to hang with Werdum, but displayed his heart in taking the shots Werdum landed and kept going forward. In the final round, Nelson had a chance on the mat to do damage, but just couldn’t cancel out Werdum’s ground game.

All three judges scored the bout 30-27, with Werdum getting his hand raised.

Pierce proves to be tough test, but Koscheck pulls out split decision

In a fight that could’ve been scored either way, Josh Koscheck edged out a split decision over Mike Pierce to continue his rise back to the top of the welterweight division.

The opening round for the most part went to Pierce, as he was able to control Koscheck against the cage, working the clinch game. As Koscheck looked to land heavy shots, it was Pierce who actually landed more strikes, jabbing instead of loading up with big shots.

At the start of round two, Pierce looked for a takedown, but Koscheck defended it and got back to his feet. The round was close throughout, with Koscheck earning a takedown while doing a bit of damage, eventually cutting the forehead of Pierce.

The third round was similar, with both men backing their opponent down, looking to score points. Another takedown was landed by Koscheck, which may have been just enough for him to win the fight.

In the end, a split decision went Koscheck’s way with scores of 29-28, 28-29 and 29-28.

Barao continues winning streak over Jorgensen

In a pivotal bantamweight showdown with possible title implications, Renan Barao showed off his skills once again with a clear-cut unanimous decision win over Scott Jorgensen.

Barao is a specialist on the mat, but was forced to settle with strikes in this fight to get the win.

The Brazilian utilized leg kicks early on, which set up his hands that earned enough points to win round one.

In round two, Jorgensen looked to shake things up a bit and pulled guard. However, Jorgensen was unable to find a way to submit Barao, forcing both men back to their feet, where Barao continued to strike effectively.

Nearing the end of the bout, Barao remained smart and continued to stay active with shots until the horn sounded.

Barao was awarded a 30-27 unanimous decision victory that will put him in the mix for a title shot in the bantamweight division.

Herman submits Starks in opening main card bout

In the only stoppage of the main card, UFC veteran Ed Herman locked up a rear-naked choke in round two to force Clifford Starks to tap out.

Round one was a good frame for Starks, who gained top position late in the round and almost pulled off an armbar.

But in round two, Herman turned things around by tripping Starks, allowing “Short Fuse” to take the back of Starks and lock up the choke at 1:43 of round two.

 Full Results

Carlos Condit def. Nick Diaz by unanimous decision (48-47, 49-46, 49-46)

Fabricio Werdum def. Roy Nelson by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Josh Koscheck def. Mike Pierce by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Renan Barao def. Scott Jorgensen by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Ed Herman def. Clifford Starks by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 2, 1:43

Dustin Poirier def. Max Holloway by submission (triangle-armbar). Round 1, 3:23

Edwin Figueroa def. Alex Caceres by split decision (28-27, 27-28, 28-27)

Matt Brown def. Chris Cope by knockout (strikes). Round 2, 1:19

Matt Riddle def. Henry Martinez by split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)

Rafael Natal def. Michael Kuiper by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

Stephen Thompson def. Dan Stittgen by knockout (head kick). Round 1, 4:13

Photo: Carlos Condit (Rob Tatum/The MMA Corner)

About The Author

Corey Adams
Staff Writer

Corey Adams didn't grow up watching mixed martial arts, considering the UFC was just getting started the year he was born, but in his teenage years, witnessed the action and has fallen in love with the sport. Corey was the first to join The MMA Corner staff -- other than founder Josh Davis -- and has been writing for the site ever since. Corey attends Austin Peay State University, where he majors in Communications with a focus on journalism. When he's not covering MMA, Corey is still writing on many sports with both local and campus newspapers. His favorite sports teams are the Atlanta Braves and Denver Broncos. Follow him on Twitter at the link below.