Photo of Carlos Condit (left) and Nick Diaz (right) fighting at UFC 143 on Sat., Feb. 4, 2012, at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, by Esther Lin via MMAFighting.com.
Part of post-fight banter is comparing scorecards, be it with other fans or journalists covering the sport. But a note to all who venture to go there: the only true and legitimate way to compare them is to score a fight precisely like judges do, by making one decision at the end of a round with no option whatsoever to change it.
This puts a whole new tone on scoring fights. Anyone who says they had it "49-46, maybe 48-47" is waffling in a way that no real judge can. It's a one-and-done thing, which adds some extra element of pressure, especially in a close fight.
This can be hard, especially when you're scoring a close fight where one guy seems to have a consistent edge in action where the tone and pace has few, if any wild swings. That was precisely how the UFC 143 main event bout between Nick Diaz and Carlos Condit last night (Sat., Feb. 4, 2012) in Las Vegas, Nevada, felt, but that's also why I scored the fifth for Diaz, with a final card of 49-46. The fifth could legitimately be classified as a makeup round for Diaz, who'd been close in a couple others, but without either guy getting visibly hurt, or a tempo change, Condit was simply doing too much for me to mount a big case for Diaz.
Nick definitely threatened in the final moments of the fifth, which was much closer than Condit ever came to finishing him. The second round was the only one where Diaz outlanded Condit -- 30 to 25 -- and even then it was very close. I must add that it's also a lot easier to score the fifth for someone like Diaz in that situation where there's little to no question that the fight has already been decided.
Would I score the fifth round of, say, Frankie Edgar-Gray Maynard II with that approach? Definitely not. There's no room for makeup round to reflect the competitiveness of the fight when the whole thing is nip-and-tuck. But Condit-Diaz didn't feel that way at all. At least not to me. You may feel otherwise.
That said, I was surprised with how many fans on Twitter interacting with me on the fight felt Diaz one. I'm loath to rely too heavily on strike and other statistics, because a five-round fight is, in its essence, five separate contests independent of one another.
Translation? Just because one fighter has a big edge in strikes may not accurately reflect the tone of the entire bout.
You can pile up a huge edge in one round with several others that are close (Maynard-Edgar II is a perfect example of this, with Maynard landing a 44 of his 99 total strikes in that wipeout opening round). It also doesn't take into effect that's landing the more effective shots and getting a bigger reaction out of landing.
Throw in takedowns and submissions attempts, both of whom have no clearly delineated equivalency in scoring compared to strikes, and it can get really murky. Does a takedown equal getting up from one? How many solid leg kicks are equal to a submission that is barely escaped? Are failed takedown attempts points for the defending fighter? The only person I know who obsesses over these more than me, and certainly more then the average fight judge, is my man Dallas Winston at Bloody Elbow. And he never sleeps.
On that score, Condit vs. Diaz was remarkably simple. Save for Diaz' threatening back control in the waning seconds of the bout and two missed submission attempts, it was almost entirely striking that comprised the action Saturday night. Given that neither guy was able to visibly rock, stun or floor the other, there was little to tilt the scales in favor of either being the power puncher that should get more credit for shots landed. Condit was 146 of 273 overall, Diaz 110 of 223. Going forward and getting outlanded is a hard argument for a winner unless you're rocking the other guy (which Diaz never achieved) or landing the bigger shots (which he didn't).
I think a lot of the anti-Condit sentiment came from a mixture of fans expecting a bloodbath and people just flat-out unable to accept that Diaz lost, fair and square. Tomorrow's another day, and hopefully Diaz's retirement talk is just post-fight emotion taking over.
But on this one, Nick was beaten on every front, plain and simple.
Jason Probst can be reached at twitter.com/jasonprobst and Jason@jasonprobst.com