Sunday, June 14, 2015
On Saturday night, Fabricio Werdum did what many outside of myself thought he couldn't do. He went into Mexico and defeated Mexican American Cain Velasquez to win the undisputed UFC heavyweight championship. The surprise is that so many people didn't think it would or even could happen. Below I'll list five reasons why Werdum (20-5-1, 6 KO's 10 subs) ending Cain's reign was inevitable.
1.) Since a lackluster decision loss four years ago against Alistair Overeem in Strikeforce, Werdum is a changed man. Once considered one dimensional as a "Jiu-Jitsu" fighter, now Werdum is a complete fighter. His boxing is not just good, it has gotten exceptional and his Muay Thai has developed immensely under the tutelage of Master Rafael Cordeiro; even his wrestling has improved to accentuate his jiu-jitsu that much more. Six fights in the UFC and all wins with four finishes and two unanimous lopsided decisions.
2.) Inactivity due to injury is hard to overcome for any fighter. Sure Dominick Cruz came back after a nearly three year layoff to destroy Takeya Mizugaki in one minute, but that was an extraordinary exception by a man possessed. Velasquez (13-2, 11 KO's) was coming back from a nearly two year layoff due to multiple injuries and for a heavyweight, who are usually not prone to watching their weight when they're not fighting, inactivity spells disaster. Sure Cain was in shape, but how good a shape is another issue as he was gassing after two rounds.
3.) Ironically Velasquez's forte, which is wrestling, ended up being his kryptonite. Unwilling to want to go to the ground with Werdum due to his expertise at jiu-jitsu, Cain's game plan was limited from the start. Sure he has shown good boxing skills up to this point in his career, but Werdum's boxing has clearly gone to another level in the last three years; and it was evident as he tattooed Velasquez in the first two rounds standing. Thus, Cain's only possible chance was to keep his opponent pressed up against the cage, which he did so effectively in his two victories over Junior Dos Santos, but Werdum's Muay Thai nullified that strategy, something Dos Santos does not have.
4.) The long layoff I referenced earlier was only accentuated by Cain's inexperience. While he was dominant during his title reign, I believe he was unjustly being touted as possibly the greatest heavyweight of all-time. I mean think about it, since he won the title against Brock Lesnar, which made him only (9-0) at the time, he's only fought two different opponents before meeting Werdum; the aforementioned Dos Santos three times and Antonio Silva twice. Good fighters for sure, but not necessarily Hall of Famers. Let's keep it real, five fights against those two should never have put him on that "all-time pedestal" people had him on.
5.) Meanwhile, Werdum has faced off against those two along with a lineup of destroyers in his last 10 fights; including the legitimate greatest heavyweight of all-time Fedor Emelianenko who Werdum defeated. To be honest, considering Werdum's dominant wins over Fedor and now Cain he's worthier to be put on that all-time pedestal before Velasquez. If Dos Santos, who is ranked #2 right now is his next opponent, I fully expect him to not only avenge a previous KO loss seven years ago when he was one-dimensional, but to finish him as well.
Looking back on it objectively, it only made sense that Fabricio Werdum would defeat Cain Velasquez last night. The one thing going into the fight that had me weary was the fact that the fight was in Mexico. That 'Brown Pride' tattoo Cain wears across his chest runs deep and I thought that might be the one thing that would get Velasquez over the hump. Alas, Werdum ending Cain's reign was inevitable.
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