Tonight’s UFC “143: Diaz vs. Condit” preliminary card is complete.
UFC 143: Diaz vs. Condit is taking place live from The Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas Nevada.
The opening bout of the preliminary card…
In the opening bout of the evening welterweight newcomers Stephen Thompson and Dan Stittgen took to the cage in a bout that lasted just one-round. The highly touted “Karate based” Thompson was able to use a style similar to that of Lyoto Machida to gauge his distance and dismantle his opponent slow and methodically. It took him just four-minutes and thirteen seconds to find his mark and knock out Stittgen with a right high kick that landed on the button.
In the second bout of the evening and the last fight on facebook.com, Rafael Natal took on UFC newcomer Michael Kuiper. The first round was all Natal as he successfully secured five takedowns, however he failed to deliver any damage. In the second frame both fighters slowed down and there was little notable action, Natal wasn’t able to secure a takedown until the final 20 seconds of the round. In the third Kuiper was able to drop Natal within the first 15 seconds with a huge right hand and while the ref was close to stopping the action, the UFC newcomer failed to put his opponent away. After staying on bottom for the first three minutes of the round Natal was able to reverse positions and end the round with an attempted arm triangle. The judges scored the bout 30, 27-30, 27 and 29, 28 and handed Kuiper his first professional loss.
In the first fight on the FX portion of the card Henry Martinez and Matt Riddle took center stage. In the first round of this three round bout the UFC newcomer took it to Matt Riddle with effective counter striking. In the second it was much of the same until the final thirty-seconds of action where Riddle poured it on heavy with kicks and punches in what turned out to be a very entertaining exchange of strikes to end the round. The third was all Riddle, with more than 50 strikes landed and two successful takedowns Riddle easily walked away with the last frame. In the end the judges scored the bout 29, 28-29, 28-29, 28 in a split decision win for Riddle.
Up next on the card was a welterweight bout featuring two “TUF” Alums. Matt Brown and Chris Cope took to the center of the Octagon in a bout that all knew would deliver fireworks. In the first round Cope came out strong with was an apparent improvement in overall technique from his last UFC appearance. Brown weathered the early storm and started to find his range and timing towards the end of the frame. In the second Matt dropped Chris early with heavy punches and followed that up with a few more punches on the ground. Notorious ref, Kim Winslow, failed to stop the fight on time and Brown was forced to deliver some unnecessary shots to earn the stoppage.
In the fifth prelim fight featherweights took center stage when Caceres took on Figueroa. The fighter most commonly known as “Bruce Le Roy” dropped Figueroa early with a jab, but followed it up a few moments later with a hard kick to the junk that halted briefly halted the action. Figueroa didn’t take the shot lightly and poured it on hard in his return. He threw a hard high kick at the mid-point of the round and dropped Caceres so hard it looked like the fight was over but Alex bounced back. The two engaged in a grappling exchange that saw Caceres get the better of his opponent and ended the round in back mount. In the second it was all Caceres in the standup and then another low blow stopped the action at the three-minute mark. For the infraction Alex lost two-points. When the two returned to action, Caceres poured it on thick with strikes, took the fight to the ground and dominated his opponent with superior grappling to close out the frame. In the third frame the two engaged in a grappling match that for the most part Caceres dictated. With two points deducted for the low blows, the final score on the judges card was 28,27-28,27-28,27 and Figueroa took home the win via split decision.
The final preliminary card bout between Max Holloway and Dustin Poirier opened with fireworks as both fighters threw heavy shots at each other until Poirier had enough and took it to the mat where he dominated the bout with superior grappling. After an attempted armbar he transitioned to a triangle/armbar from top position and secured the submission early in the round.
Now it’s on to THE PPV card!
PRELIMINARY CARD: (FX)
Dustin Poirier def.Max Holloway submission (armbar) – Round 1, 3:23
Edwin Figueroa def. Alex Caceres via split decision (28,27-28,27-28,27)
Matt Brown def. Chris Cope via knockout – Round 2, 1:19
Matt Riddle def. Henry Martinez via split decision (29,28-29,28-29,28)
PRELIMINARY CARD: (Facebook)
Rafael Natal def. Michael Kuiper via unanimous decision (30,27-30,27-29,28)
Stephen Thompson def. Dan Stittgen via knockout (head kick) -Round 1, 4:13