You already know what's about to go down.
After Fabricio Werdum's dominant performance over Travis Browne last night (Sat., April 19, 2014) at UFC on FOX 11, which took place at Amway Center in Orlando, Fla., the Brazilian finds himself back in familiar territory (watch full fight video highlights here).
"Vai Cavalo" was supposed to face Cain Velasquez a while back, yet the UFC heavyweight champion had to undergo shoulder surgery from damage he sustained in his UFC 166 trilogy fight against Junior dos Santos a while back.
After the former Pride FC and Strikeforce veteran dominated "Hapa" in the main event last night, it's safe to say his chances have improved. Werdum's come a long way since being released by Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) after dos Santos upper-cutted him into near death at UFC 90. He's not only rejuvenated, but looks to be a heavyweight who possesses a well rounded game to at least trouble the champion, who will undoubtedly be heavily favored once they get the chance to duke it out in Mexico.
The Brazilian showed just how far his striking has come against his opponent last night, with Browne having the stand up advantage prior to the fight. UFC broadcaster Joe Rogan expressed his shock at Werdum lunging forward and blasting Browne with combinations and kicks to the body; however, we got a sense of Werdum's improvements when he faced Roy Nelson at UFC 143 over two years ago. Followed by his technical knockout victory over Mike Russow at UFC 147 just months later, there's no doubt that "Vai Cavalo" is a jiu-jitsu ace who can trouble the opposition with his fists.
With that being said, is he on the same level as the champion when it comes to striking?
The main event winner may not be able to calmly stay in the pocket and take his time picking apart Velasquez, who bobs and weaves superbly for a combatant of his size. The champion is also incredibly fast on the feet and this will prevent Werdum from getting comfortable fast. The Brazilian will have to come out swinging in relentless fashion and make it a dirty fight fast if he wants any kind of success against the American Kickboxing Academy phenomenon. If the fight goes to the ground, "Vai Cavalo" could have success on the mat because he's arguably the best Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner in the world, yet it's going to be a lot harder to take down Velasquez, even if Werdum was the first competitor to ever take down Browne in the Octagon.
All in all, it's quite a mesmerizing fight in a heavyweight division that's always been shy of world-class fighters. The 265-pound class has sucked the bag for years, however, after the performance Werdum treated us to last night, there's still hope that magical sequences can arise in the future.
A reporter also suggested last night at the post-fight press conference that these two duelists could coach the upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF): "Latin America," since it would be perfect timing to set up their fight and promote the scrap in Mexico. We've seen Werdum try his luck at being a comical guy, although the promotion may have to risk putting a super serious competitor like Velasquez in there for sheer promotion over a coach who will entertain the masses on a consistent basis because of their entertainment abilities.
Let's hope this goes as planned and the champion isn't forced to take more time off. Werdum's title shot won't go anywhere since he's destined to sit on the sidelines until he gets his crack at gold, but if Velasquez's recovery doesn't go as planned, that's where things become a little annoying.
"Vai Cavalo" has beaten a handful of durable opponents, and with everyone being more or less busy or incapable of fighting him, it would make the situation a little difficult. We certainly don't want to see him fight Alistair Overeem for the third time and if it was three years ago, maybe the Frank Mir match up would have enticed us. With Daniel Cormier more or less done at heavyweight, if Velasquez has to be shelved for a longer period than determined, Werdum can anticipate the winner of dos Santos vs. Stipe Miocic at UFC's TUF: "Brazil" 3 Finale.
But, that's just for precautionary reasons.With that being said, if Werdum beats Velasquez -- does he become one of the greatest heavyweights ever?
He has wins over Overeem, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Antonio Silva, Gabriel Gonzaga and who could forget his submission win over Fedor Emilianenko, breaking the Russian's vaunted 10-year undefeated streak. With only one loss in his past eight contests, if Werdum can avenge his loss to "Cigano" down the road, this could very well be possible.
But for now, it's all wishful thinking.
Bring on Velasquez vs. Werdum because in all honesty ... a heavyweight title fight of that nature can't come any sooner.