Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweights Carlos Condit and Tyron Woodley faced off in a pivotal bout last night (Sat., March 15, 2014) in the pay-per-view (PPV) co-main event of UFC 171 from American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.
The winner had a solid chance at a 170-pound title shot, making this one about as crucial as it gets. Both fighters came in off of impressive finishes. Condit avenged a previous loss to Martin Kampmann at UFC Fight Night 27, while Woodley scored the biggest win of his career when he knocked out Josh Koscheck at UFC 167.
The No. 11-ranked Woodley wasn't UFC's first choice as No. 2-ranked Condit's opponent, but "Chosen One" texted UFC President Dana White so much that he eventually caved in.
All told, this fight featured two of the most dangerous finishers in all of mixed martial arts (MMA). Their match-up last night promised to be an equally hard-hitting affair, and it didn't fail to deliver on that promise. That is, until it was marred by an extremely unfortunate circumstance.
The bout began with Woodley landing two big right hands. "Chosen One" backed up Condit with a flurry, and then clinched against the cage. The fighters traded knees as Woodley held the dominant position. Woodley landed some good short uppercuts. Condit tagged Woodley with a left and a kick, pushing forward with a combination.
Woodley responded with a takedown, but Condit went for a triangle choke that Woodley got out of with a slam. Condit threw an errant high kick and was taken down again, but the fight was soon stood up. Condit finished the round strong with some hard shots on a tiring Woodley.
Condit was taken down yet again in the first minute of the second round. Woodley wasn't doing a ton of work, but he was controlling the fight. The action was stood back up, and Woodley threw a leg kick that immediately saw Condit crumple to the ground in agonizing pain. It was a terrible ending to what was a great fight up to that point, and will undoubtedly result in Condit being out of action for a long period of time.
He was looking for a title shot with a win over Woodley, but now he'll face a long climb back up a crowded ladder.
For Woodley, he's officially arrived as one of the best welterweights in the world. In beating the battle-tested Condit, he'll most likely be booked in a bout against another top-ranked opponent. A fight with fellow heavy-hitter Johny Hendricks would be a blockbuster bout for "Chosen One," who has exploded onto the UFC scene in a relatively short amount of time. Rory MacDonald is also a possibility. It's unknown whether or not he'd be willing to fight his American Top Team teammates Robbie Lawler and Hector Lombard.
He could also find himself in exciting bouts with Nick Diaz, Dong Hyun Kim, or Jake Ellenberger if "Juggernaut" gets past Tarec Saffiedine at UFC 172, so the possibilities are very numerous for Woodley right now.
In a division populated by elite wrestlers, Woodley is one of the best. He appears to have the explosive striking to match, which makes him an incredibly tough out for any 170-pound fighter. "Chosen One" could soon live up to the high praise of his nickname. His momentum will all depend on the result of his next fight.
Unfortunately for him, his biggest ever win was haunted by an anticlimactic finish, making an immediate title shot unlikely for Woodley. With one more high-quality win, however, he'll likely be fighting for the belt.
Tyron Woodley continued to surge into the welterweight elite by defeating top-ranked Carlos Condit, but it was due to injury. Woodley appeared to be winning the fight, and could be a legitimate title contender very soon. But, is he ready for that grueling challenge?