Wednesday, February 8, 2012

About Face

Condit (L) and Diaz will have a rematch for a fight they never envisioned having in the first place.
In not-so-surprising-surprising news, UFC president Dana White announced that the next fight for the UFC interim welterweight title would be the same fight that named Carlos Condit the current interim champ. Condit Diaz II will take place sometime in the not too distant future. With a history of making fights the fans want to see, White obliged the ever increasing clamor for the rematch and got Condit and the now un-retired Nick Diaz to put pen to paper to go at it for a second time.

The argument for the rematch is dependent on how you look at the fight. Some fans are saying that it was closely contested (true), and some fans are saying Diaz won (false). Ask any knowledgeable fight fan about it, and while it is a close fight, a vast majority will side with Condit as the victor.

So what we have is an instance where a rematch is in place for a fight that was neither epic or, for those in the know, that hotly contested. If things just settled and Condit went on to fight injured welterweight mac daddy Georges St-Pierre, then most people would be able to carry on with their lives. What makes this instance interesting is that the reason this fight is happening is not to resolve a score between two fighters, but resolve a score between two types of fight fans.

In the red corner, we have Diaz supporters. People that view fighting in it's most elemental form. Trash talking, bravado, and when things go bad, you stand and bang. These fans view what Condit did as running. Diaz was stalking, pushing the tempo, and looking to trade combos with Condit and do what Diaz normally does. This strategy has worked exceedingly well for Diaz who has basically used his boxing to work his was to be a top welterweight contender. The flurry of punches Diaz can put together, backed by his Olympian level cardio typically overwhelms opponents. The constant barrage of slap boxing, expertly mixed with stiff, straight jabs and crosses often confuse his opponents and leave them vulnerable to drowning under the Diaz attack. It's an entertaining style of fighting. Diaz talks the talk pre-fight and brings it in the Octagon.

In the blue corner, we have Condit supporters. What Condit did was not get sucked into Diaz's antics like all of his previous opponents had. Condit said himself after the fight that if he did stand and bang with Diaz, he probably would have lost. Instead, Condit employed a cerebral game plan where he used his excellent cardio to continually roll away from Diaz, avoid those combos, and jump in and out landing strikes to Diaz. He set the UFC record for leg kicks and probably spinning back elbows, but this difficult strategy was risky because of the appearance of not pushing the pace and the aforementioned running away.

Most fights are built around expectations. Styles make fights is the common phrase thrown around. This fight was billed as two guys that are about to go to war. When Condit failed to fit those expectations, he caught Diaz off guard. While that ended up in a victory, it also raised the ire of fight fans looking for a striking battle. Condit was booed after the fight, and the message boards were swarmed with fans who supported Diaz. Further more, many Condit supporters turned their back on him for a lack of perceived fighting and taking the more tentative way of the fight with Diaz. That's why we were left with the demand for a rematch that didn't need to be made.

The UFC, Dana White, and Nick Diaz all have reasons to make this fight, but what is Condit's? He could have waited for GSP to return in a lucrative championship fight. Reports are that the UFC sweetened the pot for Condit, and while that's all well and good, the presumption is that Condit won't enter the ring against Diaz, ditch a winning game plan, and just attack Diaz. He'll be out to win the fight, and the onus will be on Diaz to figure out a way to cut down Condit's angles and change up from a straightforward boxing approach.

Knowing what's been said about Condit, there had to be a part of him that hated how people were perceiving the biggest win of his career. With a little Dana White coaxing, he wanted to get back in there against Diaz and deliver a more decisive victory, but just through the same strategy.

It will be interesting to see how this rematch is hyped and what the fighters say going into it. Ultimately the prize at the end of the rainbow is too great to mess around for Condit. He's taking a risk, but not taking risks is what got him into this situation in the first fight.

No comments:

Post a Comment