WHAT: Main-card results and observations
WHERE: UFC on FUEL TV 10 from Fortaleza, Ceara, Brazil
Nog came out pressuring Werdum at close range with busy boxing and clinch tie-ups, looking to swarm the younger fighter. Werdum showed surprising prowess with takedowns by grabbing a single-leg takedown and tossing Nogueira to the canvas with it. The pair then disappeared into a dizzying and indiscernible blur of limbs and cauliflower ears as the elite heavyweight grapplers engaged in a back-and-forth scramble at light-speed. While the technique was mutually stunning, it was clear that Werdum had the edge in agility and explosiveness.
Nogueira switched from full guard to deep half guard and back again until he was able to take a knee and stand, though he ate a few punches and one big knee for his efforts. Werdum's striking looked sharp when he was leading the exchanges -- his boxing was crisp and his low kicks landed sharply -- but he lost momentum when Nog returned fire and put him back on his heels.
In the 2nd round, during another frenetic scramble, Werdum took Nog's back with one hook in, but Nog blocked the second hook from sinking in by cradling it with his right hand. Staying one step ahead, and eerily reminiscent of Erick Silva's armbar on Jason High, Werdum, instead of trying to dig in the hook for back control, passed his leg all the way over Nog's shoulder and cranked the belly-down armbar. There was a moment of confusion, for me anyway, when Mario Yamasaki stopped the fight, as Nogueira hadn't tapped. The bout was ruled a verbal submission, meaning Yamasaki interpreted Nogueira to have cried out in pain, which is covered in the unified rules as follows:
ii. Verbal tap out: When a contestant verbally announces to the referee that he or she does not wish to continue or makes audible sounds such as screams indicating pain or discomfort
Or, upon watching the post-fight analysis on Fuel TV with Chael Sonnen and Brian Stann, the replay might have showed that Werdum knew he had him and released the hold out of respect, which would make sense as Big Nog didn't protest the stoppage.