By Jack Slack
The upcoming welterweight tilt between Nick Diaz and Carlos Condit at UFC 143 (February 4th, Las Vegas) is an exciting prospect for casual viewers and passionate fans alike. The match-up will answer no questions about Diaz or Condit’s ability to deal with the great wrestlers of the division — Diaz in fact hasn’t fought a real takedown artist in half a decade — but it promises to be a damn good tear-up. With Georges St. Pierre out of the fight game for a while and an interim title on the line it also provides just what UFC brass has likely been seeking: We will finally see an exciting striker at the top of the welterweight division.
The match is expected to stay on the feet and it is hoped the two men will “bang it out” until one is left standing. Assuming that neither fighter will come out with the plan of exposing the other’s takedown defense, this article examines the assets and deficits in each man’s bag of tricks from the standing position.
Nick Diaz’s Boxing
Much has been made of Nick Diaz’s pugilistic talent, and rightly so. His excellence while boxing against pure strikers over recent years almost excuses the lack of skilled wrestlers on his record in that time. Nick has taken on the likes of Paul Daley, Evangelista ‘Cyborg’ Santos, KJ Noons, BJ Penn, and Marius Zaromskis in striking contests and got the better of all of them through his ferocity, grit and unique style.
Diaz is a prolific volume puncher, having been known to crash the Compustrike computer by throwing over a hundred punches a round. His form is not attractive in that it rarely provides one-punch knockouts, but his straights are uncompromisingly straight, his hooks loop in behind his opponents guard and when he sets his feet he rips terrific punches to his opponents’ torso; unquestionably he is the poster boy for body-punching in the sport.
Nick often attacks almost side-on in an old fashioned boxing stance with his lead foot turned in, allowing him to turn his lead shoulder further towards his opponent and gain a couple more inches on his already considerable reach (a stylistic feature he shares with his younger brother Nate). Often taking a few substantial punches in the opening exchanges, the Diaz brothers seem near impossible to knock unconscious, yet every opponent they face seems to labor under the illusion that they will be the first to do so.