The co-main event of the UFC 143: "Diaz vs. Condit" pay-per-view event taking place tonight (Sat., Feb. 4, 2012) at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, featured a heavyweight tussle pitting Fabricio Werdum vs. Roy Nelson.
Werdum was making his return to the world's largest fight promotion after a run in Strikeforce that included submitting Fedor Emelianenko. Nelson, meanwhile, most recently send Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic packing from the promotion and has recommitted himself to the sport by slimming down and getting in semi-decent shape.
It didn't seem to help him much in this fight, though it didn't hurt him in any significant way.
The Brazilian simply used a strong Muay Thai game with effective knees from the clinch to neutralize Nelson en route to a three-round unanimous decision win. It was well deserved, too, considering he did so while hardly utilizing his vaunted submission game.
Any slip up in a fight like this can cost you your consciousness, either by way of knockout or getting choked out. In the case of Nelson, he literally slipped early and nearly fell into a rear-naked choke. Werdum worked it but couldn't finish and they went back to standing.
From there, "Vai Cavalo" worked a Muay Thai plum and unleashed a few knees. Shockingly enough, he was manhandling the big man, winning with big shots from the clinch.
In fact, the referee called for a break and showed Nelson's busted up face with blood coming from his nose, pouring out all over both fighters. Those knees are deadly, ladies and gents.
Nelson responded with a shot that put Werdum on his butt and somewhat recklessly went wading into the Brazilian's guard. He almost got caught in an armbar/triangle for his troubles, too.
Alas, both men survived to the second round, putting on a show for fans who were deprived of such all night long from the rest of the card.
Werdum continued to shock the audience with effective striking from both the clinch and the outside, landing kicks to go along with the knees he found so much success with early. Nelson, quite frankly, looked over-matched in the one area he was supposed to have the advantage in.
"Big Country" did manage to land a few shots to make it interesting towards of the end of the second stanza but Werdum had the edge heading home.
In a somewhat surprising -- check that, downright shocking -- move, Nelson attempted a standing guillotine to start the final frame. Against a submission specialist and one of the best heavyweight jiu-jitsu players of all time.
Needless to say, it failed.
Shortly after, Werdum worked knees once more and took control of the fight again. They battled back and forth to the very end and it was relatively close but you won't hear anyone complaining about Werdum's successful return to the UFC.
Or do you Maniacs feel differently?
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