UFC 143 Diaz vs. Condit: Wrestling Observer/Figure Four Online Staff Picks & Preview

UFC 143 Poster

Compiled by Josh Nason

The sixth straight week of Zuffa events concludes with UFC 143 from Las Vegas, NV, where a new (interim!) welterweight champion will be crowned at what is a dark horse candidate for best event of 2012. From top to bottom, there are a lot of interesting fights, five of which we're talking about here.

Here's our panel with Bryan Alvarez making his "triumphant" return:

- Dave Meltzer (15-4): Wrestling Observer founder & writer

- Todd Martin (13-6): Weekly FFD guest & RAW recapper | LA Times | Sherdog

- Mike Sempervive (15-4): Wrestling Observer Live | Big Audio Nightmare

- Oliver Copp (15-4) & Mike Sawyer (14-5) of Tough Talk: Show

- Josh Nason (10-9): FFD guest | FIGHT! Magazine | WGAM MMA Show | Bloody Elbow

- Bryan Alvarez (0-0): Figure Four Online founder & writer | BJJ ace


Interim Welterweight Championship: Nick Diaz (26-7-0-1) vs. Carlos Condit (27-5)

If you need to know more about this fight, watch any of the videos or any of UFC Primetime. Diaz looks to extend an 11-fight win streak and earn his first UFC title while Condit has won four in a row and is also looking for his first UFC gold. It's the Strikeforce 170-pound champ vs. the final WEC 170-pound champ. Who ya got?

Diaz: Meltzer, Nason, Alvarez, Sawyer, Sempervive, Copp, Martin

Well, that was easy.

Roy "Tough Talk MVP" Nelson (16-6) vs. Fabricio Werdum (14-5-1)

After losses to Junior dos Santos and Frank Mir, Dana White threw a challenge to Nelson to get in shape and he has. He last TKO'd Mirko Cro Cop in October and has won all three of his UFC fights by T/KO. Werdum returns to the UFC after a three-plus year layoff and a 3-1 run in Strikeforce. While he made headlines by finishing Fedor Emelianenko, he lost a blah fight against Alistair Overeem last June. He's only been finished once.

Nelson: Meltzer, Alvarez, Sawyer, Sempervive, Martin
Werdum: Nason, Copp

Josh Koscheck (16-5) vs. Mike Pierce (13-4)

After knocking out Matt Hughes last September in his first action since getting his orbital bone busted at the hands of GSP, the 34-year-old Koscheck returns against the relatively unknown Pierce. The 31-year-old is coming off a November split decision win over Paul Bradley and is 5-2 in his UFC career. He's never been finished, while Koscheck has finished in four of his last five wins.

Kos: Meltzer, Nason, Alvarez, Sawyer, Sempervive, Copp, Martin

Renan Barao (27-1-0-1) vs. Scott Jorgensen (13-4)

Barao has one of the longest undefeated streaks in combat sports at 28 straight with 17 straight wins. A WEC transplant, the 25-year-old is 4-0 in his Zuffa career and last submitted Brad Pickett at November's UFC 138. With a win here, he arguably puts himself in line to fight the winner of 135-pound champion Dominick Cruz vs. Urijah Faber.

The 29-year-old Jorgensen went 7-3 in the WEC, losing a unanimous decision to champ Cruz at the promotion's final show. He's 2-0 in the UFC with a KO win over Ken Stone and a unanimous decision win over Jeff Curran in October and could also be a win or two away from another title shot.

Barao: Nason, Meltzer, Alvarez, Sawyer, Copp, Martin
Jorgensen: Sempervive

Ed Herman (19-7) vs. Clifford Starks (8-0)

TUF 3 alum Herman looks to continue his resurgence after a near two-year layoff with his third straight victory. He's coming off first round finishes over Tim Credeur and Kyle Noke and will face the undefeated Starks, who won a forgettable decision over Dustin Jacoby in his October UFC debut. Side note: Herman was on my WGAM MMA Show this week.)

Herman: Nason, Meltzer, Alvarez, Sawyer, Copp, Martin
Starks: Sempervive

Facebook at 7 PM EST with two fights, FX with another four fights at 8 PM EST and the PPV kicking off at 10 PM EST -- all covered mightily by Dave on the new-look Observer with an audio recap for subscribers in the wee hours of Sunday morning.

Who would you have the most interest in for Fabricio Werdum's next title defense?