UFC 143 Results: What Needs to Go Right for a Fabricio Werdum Win

First LastCorrespondent IFebruary 4, 2012

LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 01:  Mixed martial artist Fabricio Werdum arrives at the third annual Fighters Only World Mixed Martial Arts Awards 2010 at the Palms Casino Resort December 1, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

In tonight's co-main event of UFC 143, Fabricio Werdum returns to the UFC for the first time since his loss to Junior dos Santos in 2009 to take on Ultimate Fighter winner "Big Country" Roy Nelson.

Since losing to a debuting dos Santos, who would go on to become UFC heavyweight champion, Werdum (14-5-1) stayed relatively inactive for the better part of 2010 and 2011, going 1-1 over the last two years.

His lone victory came against former PRIDE heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko while his loss came against top three heavyweight Alistair Overeem.

Nelson (16-6) rebounded from two back-to-back losses to defeat Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic at UFC 143. His losses came against elite fighters in dos Santos and Frank Mir. His other UFC victories include those over Stefan Struve and Brendan Schaub.

Both hit the scales at 246 pounds, but don't let the numbers fool you. Werdum is a massive heavyweight and stands at 6'4" with a 78" reach. Nelson is smaller at 6'0" and could arguably be fighting at light-heavyweight.

Both are known for utilizing their size advantages when obtaining dominant positions on the ground, but Werdum will hold an advantage here on size being supported by his technique, which is superior to that of Nelson.

Both are Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belts, but Werdum is more accomplished with two ADCC world heavyweight championships. He also has almost twice as many submission wins as Nelson, who has two more victories than him and against lesser competition.

Standing, Nelson will have the advantage in power, but Werdum is constantly improving when it comes to using his kicks. Expect him to use his length here as well, where he can strike Nelson from a distance and not be close enough to be countered by a big right hand.

If Werdum can follow the game plan of using kicks to keep Nelson at bay while using his size in the clinch to obtain takedowns, he should be able to win enough of the rounds on the judges' scorecards to win a unanimous decision.

It might be close, but the decision will probably sway in Werdum's favor if he can get on top and work from there while on the ground. The biggest key to victory for him is to avoid Nelson's one-punch power.