Fabricio Werdum Knees His Way Through a Big Country
UFC 143 was Fabricio Werdum's night of transformation. Werdum always displayed outstanding jiu-jitsu skills inside the cage. But at UFC 143, he showcased a barrage of knee strikes to Roy "Big Country" Nelson's face and body that left me wondering how many painkillers Big Country had to take the following day.
Werdum is a two-time ADCC Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu World Champion and one-time coach to Mirko Cro Cop. His most talked-about MMA victory is still his submission over "The Last Emperor" Fedor Emelianenko back in 2010's Strikeforce event, Fedor vs. Werdum.
Werdum was never known to possess strong stand-up skills upon entering MMA. A majority of his victories have been by TKO, unanimous decision or submissions. Werdum's only KO win was in 2004 at Brazil's Jungle Fight 1 against Ebenezer Fontes Braga.
However, Werdum, like any fighter, knows that in order to succeed in today's level of mixed martial arts, he must improve in all aspects of the game. When Werdum faced UFC heavyweight and K-1 Champion Alistair Overeem in June 2011's Strikeforce: Dallas event, fans and critics were upset with how he approached the fight.
Werdum appeared very lackluster to engage with Overeem. It appears he was only interested in enticing Overeem into a grappling match instead of a MMA fight. This may have been the turning point for Werdum to go back to the drawing board and devise a new fight strategy.
Thus, Werdum returned to the UFC and showed fans and critics what a little bit of extra training via the legendary Chute Boxe Team could do to enhance his stand-up abilities and confidence.
Big Country looks to place his power right hand to the head of his opponents for a TKO or KO victory. That is what happened to Brendan Schaub, Stefan Struve and Mirko Cro Cop. However, Werdum caught Big Country by surprise with an almost copycat-like strategy of UFC Champion Anderson Silva.
Werdum obtained the devastating Muay Thai clinch and started to deliver brutal knees to Big Country. To no surprise of course, Big Country stood strong and took the punishment. Werdum continued his knee strikes almost throughout the entire fight, leaving Big Country with little chance of a victory.
Werdum not only launched brutal knee strikes to Big Country's head and body, he also showcased power right leg kicks and utilized smooth in-and-out movement in avoiding any major contact and/or damage with Big Country's right hand.
It almost seemed like a revived Fabricio Werdum at UFC 143 compared to what fans have seen in the past. What's next in store for Big Country after his third loss in the UFC is up to UFC President Dana White. But for Fabricio Werdum, he is standing strong in this country with new skills and power that future opponents should fear.
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