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PRIDE never die: Fabricio Werdum becomes MMA royalty by submitting Fedor, Cain, and Nogueira

By Zach Arnold | June 13, 2015

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Remember when Fabricio Werdum was brought into Mirko Cro Cop’s camp as a training partner? A master of butt-scooting? Yeah, that guy. The guy who was going to make Mirko into a world champion. After Fedor/Mirko, the paths for Mirko and Werdum became totally different.

10 years later, Werdum has not only lived up to all of the hype as a submission wizard and magician but has managed to submit three of the greatest heavyweights ever in Mixed Martial Arts history.

The altitude played a huge role in the fight performance for everyone on the UFC 188 card. It was crap. No way to get around this fact. There’s also no way to get around the fact that Werdum’s experience and guts can never be questioned. His win not only is historical but also opens up the Heavyweight division in several ways.

We’ve seen so many fighters, especially in the bigger weight classes, be hyped up as special and all-time prospects. Most of the time, they fail and fall flat on their face in spectacular fashion. Werdum beat the odds. Rafael Cordeiro is the Godfather. The ghost of Rudimar…

Father time catches all. Cain’s body is his own worst enemy. And he’s not getting any younger. He’s still the scariest athlete I’ve seen in Heavyweight MMA. I expect a re-match, perhaps for a New Year’s Eve show in Las Vegas. Please, for the love of God and country, do not push the idea of Werdum vs. Andrei Arlovski.

As for the semi-main event between Gilbert Melendez and Eddie Alvarez… the less said, the better.

UFC 188 was a garbage card. It was the complete opposite of the UFC event last weekend in New Orleans headlined by Dan Henderson vs. Tim Boetsch. I can’t recall a time where the UFC product has become so manic. It’s either really good or really terrible. When it’s great, it’s fantastic. When it’s terrible, it is abominable.

It has been a problem for a while now but the commentating disconnect between Mike Goldberg & Joe Rogan with their analysis of who is winning a fight versus the reality of the in-cage action is exacerbated right now. I could not come up with a more glaring example than the commentary given during the Henry Cejudo/Chico Camus fight. They were hyping Camus hard. His takedown defense. His supposed display of offense. If you didn’t listen to the commentary, it was a pedestrian 30-27 or 29-28 win for Cejudo. Bowling-show ugly, yes, but still an easy win. The commentators made it sound like Camus was winning all the way. At some point, management behind the scenes and on TV needs to display some honesty or else they will be completely tuned out by the fans.

Efrain Escudero’s choke-out of Drew Dober in under a minute made for quite the highlight.

As for TV coverage of the event? Very little. FX covered the prelims because Fox Sports 1 was covering a car race. Fox Sports 1 didn’t have post-fight coverage due to covering the men’s U-20 match between America and Serbia. ESPN focused on Chicago’s Game 5 Stanley Cup win over Tampa.

Topics: MMA, Media, PRIDE, UFC, Zach Arnold | 16 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

16 Responses to “PRIDE never die: Fabricio Werdum becomes MMA royalty by submitting Fedor, Cain, and Nogueira”

  1. Chris says:

    I thought some of the narrative coming into Werdum-Valasquez was just strange. On the one hand people were acknowledging how improved he is as a fighter. But also being dismissive of him being able to win,which was just crazy to me. Werdum winning tonight was a great feel good story. Hat’s off to him.

    I didn’t mind Alvarez-Melendez. Since I have seen worse. But the rest of the card was kind of “Doo Doo”.

  2. Safari_Punch says:

    The commentating was mind numbing for Werdum/Cain. Do they actually believe the stuff they say? Do they say it because that is how Cain was positioned (unbelievable cardio). There was never any proof to back this up. It is almost like when Brock was champ and they talked about the size of his hands but we never saw any real measurements. Don’t even get me started on the worked diverticulitis.

    But good for Werdum. He’s really evolved over time. His stand-up has dramatically improved over the past several years. I don’t know where he ranks all-time. Sure he beat Fedor, but Fedor was already talking retirement and fought (and trained) like he didn’t even care what happened. I’m not really excited for any of his future possible match-ups against these vanilla contenders. The guy I’ve always wanted to see him fight is Barnett (PRIDE history, Barnettt’s recent grappling exploits) but I don’t think that is ever gonna happen.

    I wonder if the UFC gets Cain back in there with Werdum in Vegas at some point in the next year, seeing that Werdum will be that much closer to 40 and they probably don’t want the title on another Brazilian.


    Cain buggin like nascar, Werd formula One leader!

  4. 45 Huddle says:

    Cain was a boring, injured champion. Not sad to see him without the championship anymore.

    Doesn’t it look bad for the future of the Heavyweight Division when:

    1) You champion is 37.
    2) The average age of the Top 15 (plus champion) is 34.6 years old.
    3) There is only one fighter in their 20’s ranked. And Struve has lost by KO or TKO 6 times in his young career already.
    4) 10 of the 16 ranked fighters are 35 or older.

    Werdum is the best of whats left. That’s about it.

  5. 45 Huddle says:

    As for the rest…. Yeah, I thought the commentary during the Cejudo fight was just downright bad.

    Goldberg has been horrible (worse then normal for a while). He probably needs to go.

    Look at the next 5 cards for the UFC…

    Fight Night 69 – Women’s Strawweight Title Fight. Not a good card at all.

    Fight Night 70 – Machida vs. Romero. Another boring card. Machida has no business coming back so soon after getting wrecked by Rockhold.

    UFC 189 – 2.5 good fights on this card. The two title fights save it, because the rest of the card is nothing special.

    TUF 21 – Another one decent fight and that is it card.

    Fight Night 71 – Decent main card.

    Just too many cards. It is creating a lot of junk.

  6. Tradition Rules says:

    It wasn’t a great card, but I’m view isn’t quite as harsh as everyone else, including Zack ;0 , that has commented so far:

    First, when I heard that Werdum had been in Mexico City for over two months and Velasquez was there for only two weeks,…I immediately thought “Well this changes EVERYTHING and it is going to be a different fight for sure….” Not to mention being out of action for so long didn’t help Cain either…

    2) I didn’t mind the Melendez vs Alvarez fight at all. just the opposite, as a matter of fact, because it looked like Alvarez was done after the first round. Eddie made adjustments to not only survive, but wear down his opponent and win.

    … and tough balls for those that would complain that he took Melendez down instead of just standing and throwing haymakers. Melendez could have tried to take Eddie down too, and win by either submission or ground and pound, but he didn’t.

    3) The elevation fucked with EVERYONE, just more with some then others. Even Werdum, while looking fresher then Velasquez, certainly had moments where his strikes also looked quite a bit slower and with not as much power on them. I believe his patience is what made a big difference. He started to pace himself even more,just very smart

    And even with the elevation taking away a lot from many fighters, Werdum’s win was no less impressive. He earned it. He went from being the guy that was KO’d by JDS at UFC 90 and heading to Strikeforce after that loss, getting outwrestled by Overeem and losing a decision to beating Roy Nelson, Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira,Travis Browne,Mark Hunt, and Cain Velasquez all while vastly improving his striking. Congrats to him.

    I also wonder, even though Dana White really wants to have the UFC in Mexico, if have the elevation mess with everybody on the card and having fights below expectation is worth it, as it can affect PPV buy rates here in the U.S…..

    4) Cain’s return. I dont believe Cain should get an immediate rematch. Let him get back into real fighting shape,get the ring rust off, get a couple of wins and then see them face each other in Vegas or somewhere. I’m sure it will be a completely different fight.

  7. sweetviolenturge says:

    Dana & the boys should be thrilled that Werdum wrecked Velasquez because let’s face it, Cain pretty much held the heavyweight belt & weight class hostage the entire time he had it over the course of two reigns.
    I mean, injuries or not, five fights over the course of four years against no one other than JDS or Bigfoot? UGH!

  8. rst says:

    You cant take away from Verdum looking good,
    with Cain looking out of it.

    Verdum tried harder.

  9. sweetviolenturge says:

    I’ve been more than a bit perplexed over the past few days by the amount of people taking so much of the credit that Werdum deserves for his complete dismantling of Velasquez away from him. I find it ridiculous.
    Did the altitude play a factor in his victory?
    Probably, to an extent. But who’s fault is that?
    A major part of what makes a champion is his or her preparation, experience & intelligence. All of which Werdum displayed by making sure that he moved his training camp to where the bout was going to take place weeks ahead of time to make sure that he was properly acclimated.
    Velasquez? The supposed “cardio machine”? He had the exact same opportunity to do the same, but chose not to. Oh well, his & his people’s bad.
    Besides, from what I observed Werdum was the better all round fighter regardless of where the bout took place. IMO, the result would have been the same. As will the eventual rematch.

  10. Jonathan says:

    I don’t care if Bellator is a lower-quality fight league. It was free, I watched it on cable, and I can tell you that it was exciting. I know it is not the 1 or 2 best guys going at it, but every fight was a finish, and the main event was fun, even if it was ridiculous. It was just plain fun to watch.

  11. 45 Huddle says:

    Bellator was half fun freak show and half sad reminder of how ugly it gets when fighters get old.

    • The Gaijin says:

      I’d have half a mind to think that main event was a bit fishy (PRIDE NEVER DIE, right? How apropos.) then I remember it’s 2015 and it was two guys no one gives a shit about. Ken is just that old and shot at 51 years old (and apparently can’t cinch a RNC to save his life) and Kimbo is as terrible as he ever was – dude can still throw a hard punch though, I guess. Hopefully Ken got a good pay day.

      • 45 Huddle says:

        If Shamrock finished that RNC, it would have looked like a work. The takedown was way too easy and no major shots landed.

        • Jeff Montelongo says:

          No it wouldn’t have. Please tell me you’re joking. What does Bellator have to gain with Shamrock destroying their top TV ratings draw in Kimbo? Kimbo isn’t exactly renowned for his takedown or submission defense. If you had kimbo’s back, would you rather tire yourself out with punches or take your time to work in the choke considering that Kimbo is able to take a good punch?


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