Former UFC Heavyweight Champion and No. 3 contender, Fabricio Werdum, lost his belt to Stipe Miocic in 2016. He has since been trying to get another shot at Miocic and likely will with a win over Volkov if Miocic beats Daniel Cormier in July. Both fighters in front of Werdum are coming off losses and have lost to Miocic. If Werdum, the jiu-jitsu champion, can secure a win this Saturday, he will expect a title shot in his future.
A former champion
In 2016, the then 38-year-old Fabricio Werdum was running out of time to win a UFC title. After four straight wins in the heavyweight division, including two submissions and a knockout, Werdum was given a crack at the interim belt. He did the unthinkable and knocked out the iron-chinned Mark Hunt with a flying knee to become the interim champion. He then went on to shock the world by submitting the undisputed champion, Cain Velasquez, with a guillotine to become the second man ever to beat Velasquez. This threw Werdum’s name into the conversation for the greatest heavyweight of all time but he would have to defend the title to solidify that status. Unfortunately, he would run into Stipe Miocic in his very next fight.
Nearly a year after his win over Velasquez, Werdum looked to defend his belt over the challenger, Stipe Miocic. The fight did not go his way. Just over two-and-a-half minutes into the fight, Werdum rushed Miocic with a flurry of punches. As he retreated, Miocic threw a counter right hand that found the chin of Werdum. The punch knocked him out and took away his belt. Werdum wants nothing more than to reclaim his belt but suffered a close loss to Alistair Overeem after a win over Travis Browne that set him back another step. After wins over Walt Harris and Marcin Tybura, Werdum is ready to make a statement and get back into the title picture.
A grappling master
Fabricio Werdum is a second degree black-belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and has the resume to back it up. He holds 11 submission victories in MMA along with multiple jiu-jitsu World Championships. He is by far the most feared grappler in the heavyweight division as well as one of the strongest submission artists in the UFC. Going to the ground with Fabricio Werdum is a lot like being taken down by Demian Maia or Brian Ortega; your night is over.
The grappling of Werdum has been on display in the UFC plenty of times. After his original opponent, Derrick Lewis, had to pull out of their fight at UFC 216 with an injury, Walt Harris stepped in at the very last second. With essentially no time to prepare, Harris looked lost on the ground with Werdum. Werdum steamrolled his opponent and secured an armbar in just one minute. His upcoming opponent, Alexander Volkov will have done his homework, but will not know what it is like to grapple with Werdum until the cage door closes. In his most recent fight, Werdum, a black-belt in judo and muay thai, showed off his striking by winning a five round decision. The fight went to the ground one time and Werdum secured a guillotine that would have ended the fight had the horn not sounded. With so many weapons, one thing is for certain this Saturday night: Fabricio Werdum will look for the kill.
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