Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Fabricio Werdum first met back in 2006 in a Pride Open Weight Grand Prix in a ring over in Japan. It seems like a lifetime ago and, in fact, both fighters pushed that as a narrative heading into their rematch tonight (Sat., June 8, 2013) at the Paulo Sarasate Arena in Fortaleza, Brazil, in the main event of UFC on FUEL TV 10.
Both have grown and times have changed but would the result be any different?
It sure would.
Werdum spent much of his time hyping this fight by saying his improved all around game would be the difference. As it turned out, that was exactly the case, as his grappling and superior jiu-jitsu may have finished the job -- he won by armbar in the second -- but it was his improved stand-up and wrestling that gave him the chance to get in that position.
That position being beating "Big Nog" at his own game.
The question now is whether or not Werdum is ready for a title shot against reigning heavyweight kingpin Cain Velasquez. With Junior dos Santos likely next in line, he'll need one more bout (maybe two if the calendar is an issue) to get his title shot.
So, Maniacs, play matchmaker with his victory still fresh in your minds. You can also feel free to lament the loss of Nogueira, one of the greatest submission specialists in MMA history.