Strikeforce: Did Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Cost Fabricio Werdum a Victory?
After two rather entertaining bouts, headliners Alistair Overeem and Fabricio Werdum failed to impress in the main event of Strikeforce: Overeem vs. Werdum.
After KJ Noons and Jorge Masvidal slugged it out for three rounds and Josh Barnett strangled Brett Rogers, Overeem and Werdum stepped in the cage for a fight that many believed would produce the eventual winner of the Heavyweight Grand Prix.
The winner would also solidify their position among the heavyweight greats. Unfortunately, neither put on a dominant or very memorable performance.
Fabricio Werdum spent the majority of the night flopping onto his back and literally begging Alistair Overeem to throw caution to the wind and jump in his guard. While it is difficult to blame Overeem for the lackluster fight, he didn't fair very well on the feet either.
Werdum was known, for the majority of his career, as a pure grappler with awful striking. While his striking has evolved, he still identifies with his Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and relies on it to heavily. Although he was never in any danger against Overeem, his constant attempts to pull guard made it appear as though he was completely out of his depth on the feet, even though he wasn't.
Werdum, according to CompuStrike, actually landed more strikes throughout the bout—69 compared to Overeem's 48. He landed solid shots and had Overeem backpedaling several times throughout the fight. Even if his striking isn't superior to Overeem's, he should have utilized it more effectively throughout the bout.
Simply put, a professional mixed martial artist can't spend three rounds falling down and expect to win a bout. Fabricio Werdum is an extremely well rounded fighter, but he seems fixated on pushing for submissions, instead of waiting for the proper opportunity to arise. While no believed Werdum had much of a chance in this fight, it is possible that he could have won a decision if he didn't spend so much time failing to get the takedown.
Werdum's stand-up isn't as awful as it used to be and he should have more confidence in it. He should at least be more comfortable using it to close the distance before attempting a takedown or trying to pull guard.
Just about every fighter that Fabricio Werdum will face from now on in his career will try to keep the fight standing, so he'll either have to get much more comfortable with his striking or develop more effective methods of bringing the fight into his realm.
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