Some of you might be familiar with the heralded coach, Rafael Cordeiro. A gang of the old Chute Box fighters and many others have found a home at Rafael's gym. The fighters who train with him speak with the highest praise about his knowledge and direction. I don't think there is any fighter today who is more associated with Master Cordeiro than Fabricio Werdum. Cordeiro did wonders for Werdum's stand up game, which was once non-existant, Werdum did not return the favor and honor what his teacher imparted to him over the years this past weekend.
Fabricio began working with Cordeiro after the horrendous fight against Andre Arlovski. Remember that. He could no longer compete against the best with a weak stand up game and finally he did something about it. He went to one of the best to learn. Progressively, we began to see Fabricio make more and more improvements to his stand up game and it enhanced his BJJ technique, he was becoming a more well rounded fighter. Slowly but surely a team started to form at KINGS, Cordeiro's gym, a close knit team. Wanderlei, Munoz, Soszynski, Shogun, even the Spider. We saw some of the work Cordeiro did with Soszynski and Munoz pay off in their last fight. Then this past Saturday came and in brief moments we saw what Cordeiro did with Werdum. And then Werdum began to clown around.
I was watching Raphael's face closely as Werdum made his way in to the ring. He was more pumped than anyone in the building. This was his craft work going on display against the K-1 champion and he was psyched. He knew his guy was ready, he knew he was well trained. In the brief exchanges Werdum showed some of his best stand up to date. He had the K-1 champ back pedaling with his attacks. However, anytime he would throw a combination of punches he would lunge for a take down. It wasn't working because it was predictable. At this point, Werdum needed to fall back on his Muay Thai training, keep moving, and keep striking. Let the take downs happen as a result of the clinch, which he is also quite good in, or by getting Alistair off balance first. I understand to a degree that Werdum needed to tire Reem out and constant take down attempts will tire anyone out, however that included Werdum.
But, where he did his teacher and his team the greatest disservice was in the clowning he constantly engaged in. The begging for guard play, the incredibly slow to get up moments in the second round, the dramatic acting. It border lined unprofessional in my opinion and it lost him the fight, I believe. He could have won that fight with a little more stand up and a little less goofing off. Now, Reem is not totally innocent in this. His throws and trips were useless, you take someone down to go to the ground. If you don't want to go to the ground then don't try for take downs. But, that is really nothing compared to Werdum's performance.
I'm a big fan of Werdum, even after Saturday, and one thing he has always done after bad losses is come back much more focused and considerably improved. I hope that will be the case here. Watching him leave the ring in disgust I think he knew he blew a huge opportunity. I hope he can gain back the respect of the fans, his team, and most of all his coach. That's if he lets him back in his gym after what he witnessed Saturday night.
Fabricio Werdum - READY - Believe Episode 3 with Babalu Wanderlei Silva by Doggedtv (via doggedtv)