Photo by Esther Lin for MMA Fighting.
Heavyweight Fabricio Werdum looked great against Roy Nelson last night at UFC 143. Werdum took home a well deserved unanimous decision win, taking all three rounds on all three judges' score cards for 30-27's across the board.
This was Werdum's first UFC bout since losing to current champ Junior dos Santos by KO back at UFC 90 in 2008. Since then Werdum has fought four times in Strikeforce, going 3-1 and being the first to defeat Fedor Emelianenko.
UFC president Dana White sang Werdum's praises after the bout and it's easy to see why. Werdum beat up Nelson on the feet and nearly dominated him on the ground. Werdum ate a couple of hard punches, but recovered and was never in serious danger of losing the fight.
"Roy is very tough and can endure a lot of beating, but I found his weak spots," Werdum said after the fight. "This fight was important to me. I trained hard every day for this fight. I had a good strategy going into the fight but the main thing for me was to come out with a victory. I want to fight in Brazil next."
But does this mean we have a new contender in the UFC heavyweight divsion?
Not so quick.
Werdum may be 4-2 in his last six fights, but the two men he's lost to just happen to be the champ dos Santos and the #1 contender Alistair Overeem. Overeem beat Werdum in an awful fight last year that saw Werdum flop into guard more times than anyone this side of Thales Leites or Demian Maia against Anderson Silva. His loss to dos Santos, a quick KO when Werdum loooked down (a cardinal sin in boxing) into a perfect uppercut, was at least a very watchable fight and the kind of quick-finish that is rarely repeated in a rematch.
We'll see if Fabricio Werdum has what it takes to be a contender in the UFC heavyweight division.
As for Roy Nelson, this was his third loss in four fights. Expect Nelson to be under heavy pressure from the UFC brass to drop down to the light heavyweight divsion.