UFC 143 Fight Card Primer: Roy Nelson vs. Fabricio Werdum

Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Who would have expected this bout a year ago? One guy has earned his stripes by dominating ADCC's and submitting Fedor Emelianenko. The other tore through a surprisingly solid TUF 10 field and has shown a ton of resiliency in his UFC tenure so far. We're gonna find out if the Ultimate Fighter will give Vai Cavalo a rude re-introduction to the UFC when Roy Nelson (16-6, 3-2 UFC) throws down with Fabricio Werdum (14-5-1, 2-2 UFC).

Werdum currently occupies the five slot in the USA Today/BE Consensus Rankings, while Nelson is down at number 14. As mentioned above, pretty much all of Werdum's hype is built off his win over Fedor Emelianenko. He does have solid wins over Antonio Silva and Gabriel Gonzaga, but a win over Nelson isn't sending him rocketing up the charts. Nelson is a different story though, and a win over Werdum would undoubtedly be the biggest of his career. This heavyweight UFC 143 fight will be the co-main event of the night, and will be aired live on pay-per-view. The PPV broadcast begins at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.

How do these two stack up?

Werdum: 34 years old | 6'4" | 78" reach
Nelson: 35 years old | 6'0" | 73" reach

What have these two done recently?

Werdum: L - Alistair Overeem (UD) | W - Fedor Emelianenko (SUB) | W - Antonio Silva (UD)
Nelson: W - Mirko Filipovic (TKO) | L - Frank Mir (UD) | L - Junior dos Santos (UD)

How did these two get here?

Fabricio "Vai Cavalo" Werdum has been an MMA vet for 10 years now, which might surprise you (it surprised me!). He acquitted himself well in Pride, then moved over to the UFC in 2007. His first run in the organization has largely been viewed as a failure by fans because he got Donkey Kong KO'd by current UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos, but wins over Gabriel Gonzaga and Brandon Vera were quite impressive at the time. Three straight wins in Strikeforce, including the win over Fedor, earned him a main event fight against Alistair Overeem that was, for lack of a better word, terrible. Werdum needs this fight to rebuild his credibility, and his status as a top contender at HW rides on his UFC 143 performance.

Roy "Big Country" Nelson is working to overcome your biases. The former IFL heavyweight champion could probably have earned his way onto UFC cards on merit alone, but his belly was his gimmick. Dana White threw him onto TUF 10 and told him to prove himself, and he did exactly that. His KO of Brendan Schaub in the finals was particularly beautiful. Another win over Stefan Struve earned Nelson a huge opportunity against Junior dos Santos, but JDS managed to take him out and win a unanimous decision. A second straight loss, this time to Frank Mir (Big Country was allegedly stricken with pneumonia at the time) was a huge setback, but a win over Mirko Cro Cop at UFC 137 got him back on the right track. A win over Werdum here would go a long way towards proving that he deserves the money matchups.

Why should you care?

There's actually a lot of intrigue here. ADCC winner vs. fat guy doesn't sound like much initially, but Nelson has some serious skills on the ground. On the feet, Nelson has the big right hand but Werdum is probably the better striker overall. Many variables = many possible outcomes. That's why we watch this stuff, right?

You can catch more UFC 143 preview content from Bloody Elbow after the jump.

SBN coverage of UFC 143: Diaz vs. Condit

UFC 143: Georges St. Pierre Explains How Nick Diaz Is 'Fake Crazy' - Brent Brookhouse

UFC 143: Nick Diaz vs. Carlos Condit Main Event Dissection - Dallas Winston

UFC 143: Diaz Vs. Condit - Roy Nelson Vs. Fabricio Werdum Dissection - Dallas Winston

UFC 143: Diaz Vs. Condit - Josh Koscheck Vs. Mike Pierce Dissection - Dallas Winston

UFC 143 Judo Chop: Fabricio Werdum Striking Analysis - Fraser Coffeen

UFC 143 'Diaz Vs. Condit' Exclusive Weigh-Ins Photo Gallery - Matthew Roth

Super Bowl XLVI Video: NFL Players Pick The Winners of UFC 143 - Matthew Roth

UFC 143 Weigh-In Results: Carlos Condit 169, Nick Diaz 169 - Tim Burke

UFC 143: Diaz Vs. Condit - Renan Barao Vs. Scott Jorgensen Dissection - Dallas Winston

UFC 143: Diaz Vs. Condit Staff Predictions - Tim Burke

Frank Mir Thinks UFC 143's Fabricio Werdum Is Heavyweight's Best Grappler - Matt Roth

Frank Mir Thinks UFC 143's Fabricio Werdum Is Heavyweight's Best Grappler - Matt Roth

UFC 143 Weigh-In Video And Coverage - Tim Burke

UFC 143 Video: Watch Full Countdown Show On Bloody Elbow - Josh Nason

UFC 143 Judo Chop: Carlos Condit Lands A Flying Knee KO - Fraser Coffeen

UFC 143: Dana White 'No One Knew GSP At One Time Either' - Matt Roth

UFC 143: Details Of The New PPV Opening Montage, RIP Gladiator Man - Matt Roth

UFC 143: Diaz Vs. Condit - Ed Herman Vs. Clifford Starks Dissection - Dallas Winston

UFC 143: Picking Knockout, Submission And Fight Of The Night Bonuses - Brent Brookhouse

UFC 143 Judo Chop: The Striking And Grappling Technique Of Nick Diaz - Kid Nate

UFC 143 Pre-Fight Press Conference Coverage And Video - Tim Burke

UFC 143 Video: Josh Koscheck Hopes Georges St. Pierre 'Never Comes Back' From Knee Surgery - Kid Nate

Bad Boy Presents Bloody Elbow Radio - Episode 131: UFC 143 Preview - Matt Bishop

UFC 143 Video: Nick Diaz Not Happy With UFC Editing - Tim Burke

UFC 143: A Look At The Ground Games of Fabricio Werdum and Roy Nelson - Ben Thapa

UFC 143: Nick Diaz Details The Story Behind His Elite Level Conditioning - Anton Tabuena

UFC 143: Diaz Vs. Condit Betting Lines - Tim Burke

UFC 143 Video: Nick Diaz Talks Carlos Condit, Georges St. Pierre - Kid Nate

UFC 143: Diaz Vs. Condit - FX Channel Preliminary Card Dissection - Dallas Winston

UFC 143: Nick Diaz Vs. Carlos Condit Defines 'Gameness' - Kid Nate

UFC 143: Undefeated Stephen Thompson Hopes To Make Case For Karate In MMA - Kid Nate

UFC 143: Diaz Vs. Condit - Facebook Preliminary Card Dissection - Dallas Winston

UFC 143: The Contradictory Marketing Of Nick Diaz And How The Reem May Not Be As Awesome As You Think - Ben Thapa

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