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Condit shows little in comeback, loses at UFC 219

LAS VEGAS, Nev. —From an Albuquerque standpoint, it would be pleasant to report that Carlos Condit fought Saturday night as if he’d never been away from the Octagon.

That was not the case.

Neil Magny, firmly in control during the first two rounds, defeated Condit by unanimous decision in a featured bout on UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena.

After three rounds, the official scorecards read 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28.

Condit, who was returning from a 16-month hiatus, is 30-11 in a professional MMA career that began in 2002. Magny improved to 20-6 or 20-7, depending on the source.

Condit opted not to speak to the media after the fight. Magny called the victory one of his most satisfying, given Condit’s credentials as a former UFC interim welterweight champion who had fought the best in the division and defeated many of them.

Magny said he thought the fight was close and that Condit showed no rust from his long layoff.

“He went out there and fought a great fight,” Magny said. “He seemed like the normal Carlos Condit to me.”

Magny said he felt the takedown deficit was crucial to the outcome.

During pre-fight interviews, Condit talked about a renewed energy he’d felt during his preparation. That simply wasn’t evident on Saturday.

Some 25 seconds into the first round, Magny caught a Condit leg kick and took the Albuquerquean to the ground. It was first of five takedowns Magny scored during the fight, compared to none for Condit.

Nor was Condit effective in standup until late in the final round, the only round Condit won on any of the official scorecards.

Even then, Magny never appeared in trouble.

The second round was Condit’s most difficult. After the Albuquerque fighter landed a couple of kicks at the round’s outset, Magny gained control in the clinch, pushing Condit’s back to the fence. The Denver fighter then executed a forceful takedown and kept Condit on the ground for more than a minute.

Condit managed to get to his feet and landed a one-two combination and a solid right hand. But in the round’s final 40 seconds, Condit was taken down twice more.

After his loss by first-round submission (rear naked choke) to Demian Maia in August 2016, Condit had expressed doubts he still belonged a the top level of MMA. But he said during pre-fight interviews he was confident all his skills were there at age 33.

Regarding an MMA future after Saturday, Condit had said he was not ready to commit but was excited about what that future might hold. Certainly, Saturday’s outcome clouds the issue.

Condit’s loss was his third in a row, starting with a loss by split decision to Robbie Lawler in a fight for the UFC welterweight title. Many observers felt Condit should have gotten the decision.

WATERSON: UFC strawweight Michelle Waterson, Holm’s and Condit’s teammate at Jackson-Wink, attended UFC 219 as a guest of the organization.

During an interview, she said she’s eager to return to the cage next spring and put 2017 behind her.

Waterson (14-6) lost to Rose Namajunas (now the UFC strawweight champion) in April by second-round submission (rear naked choke) and to Tecia Torres by unanimous decision on Dec. 2.

“There are things I take away (from those fights) that I did really well, and there are things I take away from it that I could have done better,” she said. “… I’d never lost two in a row, and it’s not something that settles well in your stomach.”

Waterson said she hopes to be back in the Octagon by March.