With the Co-Main and Main events pitting top ranked Welterweights against each other, many have dubbed UFC 171 as an unofficial 4 man welterweight tournament. The main event of UFC 171 puts Johny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler in a fight that will determine who is to become the next UFC Welterweight champion; while the co-main event sees Carlos Condit fight Tyron Woodley. The idea of UFC 171 being a ‘tournament’ of sorts has even more resonance now that the UFC has officially told Carlos Condit that, with a win over Woodley, he will fight the winner of Hendricks vs. Lawler for the UFC championship.
If Condit has his hand raised against Woodley it will be his second straight win after losing two in a row against Georges St. Pierre and Johny Hendricks. He quickly bounced back from those losses with a fourth round TKO of Martin Kampmann, a fight in which we saw Condit successfully defend several takedown attempts. For Condit, this is an opportunity at a second chance to win a world title and to show that he has improved upon the weaker areas of his game, namely, his takedown defense. Though one of the most well rounded fighters in the game, the story of his two most recent losses comes from his inability to stop the takedown. In both the St. Pierre and Hendricks fight Condit was successful, if not dominant, on the feet, but was taken down multiple times by the powerhouse wrestlers. In both of those fights he had his opponent severely hurt, but was unable to capitalize. In his fight against Hendricks, he landed more strikes, but was taken down 12 times over 3 rounds and ultimately lost the fight because of it.
As a former NCAA Division 1 wrestler, Tyron Woodley has the offensive skill set to put Condit on his back and keep him there; and at only 5’9”, Woodley has the exact build of the wrestlers Condit has struggled with in the past. This fight won’t only be a test of Condit’s wrestling, but a testament to how quickly he has improved. If Condit can come out of this fight with a win, the ‘Natural Born Killer’ controls his own destiny and will once again find himself just one win away from being the UFC Welterweight Champion.
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