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UFC on Fuel 10: Fabricio Werdum submits Big Nog

Fabricio Werdum (L) basks in the glory of moving closer to a UFC title shot. Screeenshot courtesy the UFC and Fuel TV.

On Saturday night in Brazil Fabricio Werdum submitted his hero, Minotauro Nogueira, capping off an event with a record-setting number of submissions (7).

The heavyweight match pitted two legendary Brazilians in front of their home country crowd. Both men entered the Octagon looking confident in their preparation. Big Nog’s corner included middleweight champion and training partner Anderson Silva, which lent the expected gravitas.

At 6’ 4” and 264, Werdum only has seven pounds and an inch on Big Nog, but somehow loomed over the battle scarred veteran. Not to be intimidated, Big Nog began moving forward and pressing Werdum, who answered with heavy leg kicks and a takedown which nearly ended in full mount. Big Nog was able to scramble to his feet again and continued moving forward.

As they battled against the fence, Nog was stunned by a punch that came straight down the pipe, but through the leg kicks and clinches he landed a few combos of his own and returned the favour by rocking Werdum.

Big Nog wasn’t afraid to clinch with the Muay Thai ace, but his power lagged behind. Surprisingly, Werdum winded toward the end of the first round, and even looked up at the clock a couple of times, rarely a good sign. Big Nog looked ready to run a marathon.

In the second, Big Nog kept pressing forward, but despite it making Werdum uncomfortable, Werdum was landing the heavier shots. The two made their way to the fence where Big Nog pulled guard and sunk in a guillotine, but Werdum defended well, and when Big Nog  lost the submission attempt, Werdum was on top. It didn’t take long for him to work his magic.

Werdum won via armbar at 2:41 of round two, but remained  humble and respectful to his downed opponent.

It’s difficult to say what’s ahead for Big Nog. In the UFC of late he has two losses to Frank Mir, and one each to Cain Velasquez and now Werdum.  In his win column  are lesser opponents like Brendan Schaub and Dave Herman. He’s still a serious force and a difficult fight for anyone in the division, but not a serious threat to the title.

Werdum was impressive on the ground, always a step ahead of Big Nog. On the feet, though, Werdum gassed, got clocked more than once, and tired quickly. It’s hard to envision him taking either Cain Velasquez’s or Junior dos Santos’s pace. Cain is like a terminator who keeps coming whether the fight is standing or not, and JdS sticks and moves and sticks, with serious power. He already KOed Werdum once, in 2007.

Werdum may become a gatekeeper for a while, one heavyweights may need to pass before getting a key to a championship fight.

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Follow me on Twitter @RenkoStyranka

 

 

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