The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) held an event in Brazil for the second time in a span of just 21 days on Saturday night (June 8, 2013) as UFC on FUEL TV 10: "Nogueira vs. Werdum" went down from Paulo Sarasate Gymnasium in Fortaleza, Ceara, Brazil.
A weak card on paper produced spectacular results from top to bottom and the main event saw Fabricio Werdum prove he is superior to Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira when he forced "Minotauro" to verbally submit with a second-round armbar in a match up that was essentially the complete opposite of their 2006 PRIDE bout.
While Nogueira was the superior coach on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF): Brazil 2 by getting two of his fighters from his team to the tournament finals, Werdum got the last laugh by forcing one of the greatest heavyweight fighters in history to quit in stunning fashion.
Also on the undercard of the FUEL TV broadcast; Thiago Silva, Leonardo Santos, Erick Silva and Rony Mariano Bezerra all defeated their respective opponents by (technical) knockout or submission in what was one of the most memorably main cards in recent history.
In a sport like mixed martial arts (MMA), each bout can only have one winner and one loser. Earning a victory inside the world-famous Octagon is the highest of highs while suffering a defeat in front of millions of viewers can be the lowest of lows.
Every competitor who steps foot in the cage is looking for that moment of glory. Some capture it, others don't.
There were several shining stars on the UFC on FUEL TV 10 fight card as well as an equal amount of disappointments. With that said, it's time to name the biggest winner and biggest loser from the event in Brazil.
The Biggest Winner
Not only did Fabricio Werdum defeat the legendary Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, he did it by absolutely dominating the former PRIDE and interim UFC champion on the ground and finishing him off with a submission of all things.
Going into the bout it was thought that Werdum's improved stand up skills would be the x-factor in his victory; however, that was far from the case as "Vai Cavalo" opted to showcase his talents on the mat against one of the most notorious submission artists in MMA history.
After nearly letting the fight slip through his finger in the first round when he appeared physically exhausted, Werdum came out strong in the second round and was able to handle Nogueira on the ground with relative easy until he found a way to finish the fight.
No one predicted Werdum to force the extremely tough Nogueira to verbally submit to an armbar, but he did just that, avenging a 2006 loss to "Minotauro" with one of the most impressive victories of his career.
Not only is Werdum without question one of the top contenders in the heavyweight division, but with career victories over the likes of Nogueira, Fedor Emelianenko, Alistair Overeem, Antonio Silva, Gabriel Gonzaga (twice) and Roy Nelson, the 35-year-old now owns one of the most decorated resumes in heavyweight history.
Brazilians fighters were a collective wrecking ball against foreign opponents at UFC on FUEL TV 10, as fighters from the host country went 7-0 on the card against opposition from around the world.
Historically, athletes who entered hostile territory in Brazil haven't faired all that well, but usually at least one or two are able to overcome the odds and score an upset in front of the home town crowd.
Not this time.
The Brazilian fighters were absolutely dominant en route to a clean sweep of the foreigners and they all deserve a tip of the cap for their incredible success on Saturday night.
With an outstanding record of 43-10 against opponents from around the world, it would be hard to blame any non-Brazilian fighter for not picking up their phone if Joe Silva calls with an offer to fight in the South American country.
The Biggest Loser
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira will forever and always be a critical part of MMA history, but it's clear from his performances in recent years that his career needs to come to an end very soon, if not immediately.
Despite the fact "Minotauro" was able to hang for nearly two rounds with the world's No. 3 ranked heavyweight in Fabricio Werdum, the end results of his fights prove that his physical ability is rapidly diminishing.
In 35 fights prior to joining the UFC roster, Nogueira had never been finished in MMA competition. Since then, the 37-year-old has been put away by (technical) knockout or submission four different times and each loss has been discomforting to witness.
Perhaps the criticism is too harsh, but the Nogueira of yesteryear would have given his life before verbally submitting in a fight. However, that's exactly what happened at UFC on FUEL TV 10. If that isn't evidence that he's far beyond his prime -- nothing is.
While Nogueira said prior to the event that he doesn't want to be rushed into retirement and still has a lot left in the tank, the decision isn't always a fighter's choice.
"Big Nog" is still legitimately good enough to hang with a majority of the UFC heavyweight roster as seen from moments in the fight with Werdum; the harsh reality is, though, that it may be in Nogueira's best interest to hang up the gloves now before he starts to diminish his legacy.
Rafael Cavalcante looked strong out of the gate against Thiago Silva. Unfortunately, after a few minutes of high-paced fighting, he completely fell apart at the seems and was knocked out in highlight reel fashion.
Coming off a year-long suspension and desperately in need of a victory in his Octagon debut, "Feijao" did not live up to expectations in the slightest and paid for it in the form of a brief separation from his senses.
The former Strikeforce champion was pegged as a fighter who could shake up the UFC light heavyweight division due to his well round skill set; however, his physical condition was no where close to up par and the result arguably put his job in jeporady.
Since he was involved in the type of brawl the UFC brass loves and earned "Fight of the Night" honors, Cavalcante is likely to get another chance in the world's premier MMA organization. But if he delivers another performance where he fads early and gets knocked out, there may no longer be a spot on the roster for him.
Who were your biggest winner and loser from UFC on FUEL TV 10? Let us know in the comments in the comment section below.
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