The 411 MMA Top 10 04.21.14: Top 10 Fabricio Werdum Fights
Posted by Alex Rella on 04.21.2014
From his Strikeforce win over Fedor Emelianenko and his battle with Roy Nelson to his bouts with Big Nog, Travis Browne and more, 411's Alex Rella counts down the top 10 Fabricio Werdum fights!
Fabricio Werdum's Top Ten Fights
Happy Easter everyone and welcome back to another edition of the MMA Top Ten. I hope everyone had a nice holiday and didn't have to work all day like me. Since Fabricio Werdum was in action this weekend, he gets the highlight as we look back at his best fights. Competing since 2002 with an 18-5-1 record, Werdum has spent most of his career competing in Pride, Strikeforce, and the UFC. Now in his second run with the UFC, Werdum has finally become an elite fighter and will get his heavyweight title shot. The fights are ranked based on the usual criteria mixing the quality of the fight, the significance of the fight in relation to his career, and with some of my personal opinion mixed in.
· VS Alexander Emelianenko at 2H2H: Pride & Honor- Won via first round arm triangle choke
· VS Gabriel Gonzaga at Jungle Fight 1- Won via third round TKO
10: VS Mike Kyle Strikeforce
After getting upset by Junior dos Santos and not getting renewed with the UFC, Werdum headed over to Strikeforce. His first opponent was Strikeforce veteran Mike Kyle. Kyle is tough at either heavyweight or light heavyweight and can hit really hard, but not overly great, so he made for a good opponent in Werdum's Strikeforce debut. A quick and fun fight as Werdum dropped him early and while Kyle teased an armbar/trianlge choke, it wasn't enough to beat the BJJ specialist as Werdum locked in the guillotine choke for the win. A dominant debut in what was the start of a successful run in a new company.
9: VS Brandon Vera UFC 85
It's weird to think now that Brandon Vera was once a highly touted prospect and even earned a heavyweight title shot back in 2007. The then 8-0 Vera was coming off a victory over Frank Mir and was supposed to fight Tim Sylvia for the title, but he unwisely got in a contract dispute and Randy Couture got the fight instead. Vera fought the title-less Sylvia in his return and suffered his first loss. Werdum at this point was coming off a win over another top contender in Gabriel Gonzaga. Werdum took full mount in the final round of the fight and unloaded on Vera as the ref stopped the fight. Vera and many fans complained that it was an early stoppage at the time, but I think he was just getting owned by the better fighter. Vera would drop down to light heavyweight after this one.
8: VS Gabriel Gonzaga UFC 80
Werdum and Gabriel Gonzaga first fought early on in their careers back in 2003 for Jungle Fight. Werdum won by third round TKO as he picked up his third win and giving Gonzaga his first loss. Fast forward to 2008 and Gonzaga is taking on Werdum again in his first fight after losing to Randy Couture for the title.Gonzaga looked strong early on and it looked like he was going to knock him out, but Werdum survived and finished him off with knees in the Muay Thai clinch followed up with ground and pound.
7: VS Alistair Overeem Pride Total Elimination Absolute
Five years before their incredibly dull fight in Strikeforce and before Overeem was on the horse meat, these two met in the opening round of the 2006 Pride Openweight Grand Prix and it was quite different from their second fight. This was only Werdum's fourth fight in the company, but Overeem had a very solid run as a light heavyweight in Pride although this was only his second fight at heavyweight. After some exciting striking and grappling exchanges, it went to the ground towards the end of the second round when Werdum locked in a kimura and moved onto the quarterfinals.
6: VS Mike Russow UFC 147
Mike Russow was never an elite fighter, but he had a really impressive run from 2007-2012 where he won eleven straight fights. Russow is a strong wrestler with some knockout power and a good test for Werdum as he was still returning to the UFC and trying to get back into title contention. This was also Werdum's first fight in Brazil in eight years. Werdum finished him off with strikes in the first round and that was it for Russow's winning streak. Russow is now with the WSOF and awaiting his first fight.
5: VS Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira UFC on Fuel 10
This one happened after both heavyweights coached the second season of TUF Brazil against each other. Two Team Nogueira members would face off in the finals, but the battle between the two coaches went a little differently. Big Nog was clearly no longer the fighter he once was at this point, but he was still only losing to elite fighters at this point and he beat Werdum back in the quarterfinals of the 2006 Pride Openweight Grand Prix. Werdum got his revenge as he submitted Big Nog in the second round with an armbar. Still a huge accomplishment considering the only other person to pull that off was Frank Mir. Werdum continued his UFC winning streak and set himself up for the number one contender fight with Travis Browne.
4: VS Travis Browne UFC on Fox 11
After winning three fights in a row in his UFC return, Werdum finally ended up in an official number one contender fight with Travis Browne who was also on an impressive three fight winning streak. Werdum won by unanimous decision as he just picked Browne apart with his striking and even a couple takedowns for twenty five minutes. Some have criticized Werdum for not trying to finish Browne, but I can't knock someone that was that dominant. I personally thought it was an impressive performance, but maybe that's just me. Browne broke his hand and rib during the fight. Now he'll finally get his title shot against Cain Velasquez later in the year.
3: VS Antonio Silva Strikeforce
In Werdum's second Strikeforce bout he took on Antonio Silva who was making his debut for the company. Silva was returning to fight in the USA after spending some time away in Japan because of a failed drug test when he won EliteXC's heavyweight title. He was on a six fight winning streak at this point though. This was the first fight on a really great card and they set the bar high. The two heavyweights showed off great striking and grappling for fifteen minutes as they just kept hurting each other. Bigfoot won the first round, but the second two went to Werdum as he won a great close fight. The win also put Werdum in line to take on Fedor next
2: VS Roy Nelson UFC 143
This one came up in Roy Nelson's top ten last week and it comes up again this week as it was an even better performance for Werdum. It also helps that this brutal battle won Fight of the Night honors at UFC 143. This was Werdum's return fight to the UFC as he had been fighting in Strikeforce since he was cut after losing to Dos Santos at UFC 90. Werdum went 3-1 in Strikeforce and he was looking to make a statement quick. Nelson on the other hand had just defeated Mirko Cro Cop in his last fight. Werdum showed huge improvements in his striking in this one and they've been the difference maker this entire run. Werdum's Muay Thai strikes probably would have knocked out any other heavyweight in this fight, but Nelson just kept coming. Nelson got busted open in the first round, but he was able to battle back and get in some good punches that really hurt Werdum. This was just a complete slugfest as both fighters just kept throwing shots at each other for fifteen minutes. They were both exhausted at the end of the fight as Werdum would win by unanimous decision in his UFC return.
1: VS Fedor Emelianenko
How could any other fight be number one this week? Fedor Emelianenko, the greatest heavyweight of all time went undefeated for ten years and twenty eight fights. After knocking out Brett Rogers in his Strikeforce debut, Fedor moved onto Werdum who was 2-0 in the company. Fedor knocked him down early and looked like he was going to win this one, but Werdum caught him in a triangle armbar as he was getting swarmed. Werdum pulled off maybe the greatest upset of all time and definitely the biggest win of his career by far.
So let me know how you guys would rank them or maybe I left a fight out that you thought should be in the top 10.
As always, let me know if there are any topics or fighters you would like to see ranked in the future.
Next week I'm leaning towards doing a Spencer Fisher or Mike Brown list.