UFC 143 Predictions: Fabricio Werdum vs. Roy Nelson
UFC 143 finally comes to a head later tonight, as an interim welterweight championship tilt eclipses the event when Nick Diaz takes on Carlos Condit.
Taking co-headlining duties will be a heavyweight collision pitting The Ultimate Fighter season 10 winner Roy Nelson against the returning Fabricio Werdum.
After incurring a two-fight skid inside the Octagon against champion Junior dos Santos and former titleholder Frank Mir, Nelson got back to his winning ways last October, TKO'ing former K-1 and Pride vet Mirko Cro Cop within the third round.
The victory helped solidify Nelson's standings as one of the more heavy-handed strikers in the division, albeit his strength is his ground game, as "Big Country" holds a black belt under the touted Renzo Gracie.
If there is anyone man that could rival the jiu-jitsu prowess of Nelson, it would be Werdum.
"Vai Cavalo" is a multiple-time world champion, having earned the ADCC Submission Wrestling World title twice—the most prestigious honor that any grappler can earn.
The Brazilian put his skills to the test whilst under the Strikeforce banner, as he deftly defeated the likes of Mike Kyle, Antonio Silva and Fedor Emelianenko—submitting the heavyweight great, who at the time was undefeated for nearly 10 years.
Nelson's best chances at victory against Werdum will be to tag him early and often with wading hooks, though Werdum's 6'4" frame is cause for concern. The Pride vet has since trained under the tutelage of famed trainer Rafael Cordeiro, sharpening his striking skills to make him well versed in all areas.
Expect Werdum to keep Nelson at a distance with long punches and kicks. Just as the big man storms through the pocket to land a blow, Werdum will change levels, clinch and work Nelson to the mat.
Wash, rinse and repeat for three rounds, as Werdum makes an emphatic return to the UFC by taking home a decision win. He'll move up the ranks and look for a rematch against Junior dos Santos, the only man who has been able to finish the world-renowned fighter.
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