UFC: Fabricio Werdum might be set to fight Cain Velasquez, but it shouldn't prove much of a challenge for the Heavyweight Champion

Werdum beat Travis Browne at the weekend to earn a shot at the title

As UFC Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez recovers from shoulder surgery, the division has been in somewhat of a stale mate. Junior Dos Santos (JDS), although certainly the second best fighter at the weight, is still some way behind Velasquez and after knocking him out the first time they fought has lost decisively the last two times. Down in the series 2-1, JDS is unlikely to get another shot at the belt whilst Velasquez holds it. There are many fringe fighters at heavyweight, such as Overeem and Mark Hunt, but not many who seem to have a realistic shot at beating Velasquez. Saturday night saw a number one contender fight between two fighters that could actually put up a challenge.

On Saturday night Travis Browne of Hawaii fought Brazil’s Fabricio Werdum for a chance to fight Velasquez for the title this Autumn. Browne has been on a tear of late. He had fought Alistair Overeem last August and after taking enormous knees and punches, somehow managed to knock Overeem out with a straight kick before the end of the first round. Browne had described this as the closest to death he had ever been. Browne seemed to change after this fight and when he fought UFC veteran, Josh Barnett in December, did what few had done before and knocked him out in round one. This new, aggressive, exciting Travis Browne had the MMA world buzzing once more about the heavyweight division. 

Werdum is an MMA legend. Having fought in the infamous PRIDE in Japan, Werdum made his debut in the UFC in 2007. In his fourth fight, he fought a young JDS and was knocked out in the first round. He was subsequently cut from the UFC and joined Strikeforce. In Strikeforce, Werdum upset Fedor Emelianenko who had been undefeated in 28 fights and submitted him in the first round. His only loss in the promotion was to Alistair Overeem by decision. In 2012, Werdum resigned with the UFC and was undefeated through three fights going into Saturday night. 

Werdum is a small heavyweight, weighing about 30 pounds less than the 265 pound limit. He is also a ground specialist with phenomenal jiu-jitsu credentials. Browne, is a much larger fighter and known for his striking. He had also not been taken down in any of his UFC fights prior. Would Werdum be able to get him to the ground? Would Browne simply have too much power in his hands and knock out Werdum? it was an enthralling prospect. 

On a Fox online survey, 75 per cent of fans believed Browne would have too much for Werdum and would win the contest. How wrong they were. Not only did Werdum prove he could take Travis Browne down, as he did multiple times throughout the five rounds, but he also dominated the stand up sticking portions of the fight. There is no counting Browne’s heart, managing somehow to stay standing and see out the full five rounds, but he was dominated and hurt throughout. Werdum didn’t take any risks, and upon seeing that Browne’s gas tank was empty, seemed happy enough to just do enough and not go for the finish. It was an expert display from the Brazilian. 

As the fight entered round four, my thoughts immediately went to sizing up Werdum in terms of his prospects against Cain Velasquez. Right on cue, Werdum, it seemed, began to tire. Cain Velasquez does not tire, ever. He is relentless and doesn’t allow his opponent to rest. On Saturday night, Werdum was fantastic, but Velasquez is a phenomenon. In heavyweight fighting, anything can happen because there is so much weight behind individual shots, that a knockout can come at any time. I believe however that Cain Velasquez will smother Werdum and maintain his title without too much of a problem. If this happens, the UFC finds itself in a position it has been in before in every weight class at one time or other; the position of having a champion who is too dominant. Somehow this always seems to work itself out, but with JDS having already fought Velasquez three times, it is hard to see where the competition will come from. 

With Velasquez being a key to the much desired Mexican marketplace, this is maybe not such a bad thing. He could be to Mexico what GSP was to Canada. Time will tell. Stay tuned...


Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea