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UFC 198 fight card: Fabricio Werdum vs Stipe Miocic full fight preview

Fabricio Werdum and Stipe Miocic will throw down TONIGHT (May 14, 2016) at UFC 198 inside Arena da Baixada in Curitiba, Brazil. In a match up of the best Heavyweights in the world, what adjustments must be made for either man to claim victory? Find out below!

Stipe Miocic

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight elites Fabricio Werdum and Stipe Miocic will clash TONIGHT (May 14, 2016) at UFC 198 inside Arena da Baixada in Curitiba, Brazil.

Werdum's current UFC run has been spotless. He has won his last six bouts for the promotion, capturing the interim and official title in the process. Now, he'll look to defend his title for the first time. Meanwhile, Miocic has grown a ton in the last three years and evolved into an elite Heavyweight. He has won five of his last six bouts, finishing a pair of top opponents in his last pair of wins.

Let's take a look at the keys to victory for both men:

Fabricio Werdum
Record: 20-5-1
Key Wins: Fedor Emelianenko (Strikeforce: Fedor vs Werdum), Cain Velasquez (UFC 188), Travis Browne (UFC on FOX 11), Mark Hunt (UFC 180)
Key Losses: Alistair Overeem (Strikeforce: Overeem vs Werdum), Junior dos Santos (UFC 90)
Keys to Victory: Werdum is one of the finest technical grapplers in the sport and has developed a dangerous Muay Thai attack to go along with it. He's now comfortable and dangerous from just about any position, which is what allowed him to overwhelm Cain Velasquez.

In this bout, Werdum should have a pair of objectives on the feet. First and foremost, it's really important that Werdum keeps his back off the fence. Miocic does good work there, and Werdum has had problems in the past.

Additionally, Werdum needs to make full use of his kicks. Miocic is much more comfortable with punching exchanges and fights more like a boxer than anything else, so Werdum's extended distance and kicks should be a major difference.

In recent fights, Werdum has relied far more on his kickboxing than jiu-jitsu. It's worked out quite well for him, but I would like to see Werdum mix in a few takedown attempts and try to drag Miocic to the mat.

Miocic has shown little jiu-jitsu in the Octagon, and even if he's picked it up very quickly, he cannot match Werdum on the mat. Even if Werdum is unable to finish the shot, it will make it more difficult for Miocic to commit to punches.


Stipe Miocic
Record: 14-2
Key Wins: Mark Hunt (UFC Fight Night 65), Andrei Arlovski (UFC 195), Roy Nelson (UFC 161)
Key Losses: Junior dos Santos (UFC on FOX 13), Stefan Struve (UFC on Fuel TV 5)
Keys to Victory: Miocic has really refined his game in recent years. It hasn't been anything dramatic, but Miocic's wrestle-boxing style has become much more fluid and seamless.

Alongside some improved conditioning, that was enough to make him a contender.

In this bout, Miocic has a difficult task ahead of him. He generally strikes in two modes, either boxing from the edge of his punching range or closing the distance and working in tight.

In all honesty, either will be difficult, as Werdum is the better kicker on the outside and showcased his reactive clinch offense opposite Velasquez. With that in mind, Miocic has to work his way past the kicks into the punching range while avoiding the clinch.

A difficult task indeed.

In my opinion, Miocic's biggest advantage in this fight is youth and athleticism. To further build on this edge, I'd like to see Miocic commit to his powerful low kicks early on. Miocic has 25 minutes to win this bout, so slowing Werdum down and making every movement difficult would make landing clean punches and controlling any clinch exchanges far easier.

Bottom Line: It's a title fight!

If you were to list out Werdum's accomplishments, it would become quite clear that he's a legend of the sport and one of the best Heavyweights ever. 14 years into his career, Werdum looks better than ever and has taken very little damage compared to most of his peers.

In short, this could just be the start of his title reign. UFC's Heavyweight strap has proven exceptionally difficult to defend consistently, and this is Werdum's chance to try and buck that trend.

If Werdum comes up short, that's simply life in the Heavyweight division. It's simply incredibly difficult to win consistently with so much power thrown around. Still, Werdum would be a top contender and not far off from earning another shot at the crown.

While Miocic is certainly deserving of this opportunity, it's more a situation of him being in the right place at the right time. This is his chance to capitalize on the uncertainty of the division and climb atop the pedestal, making his claim as best in the world.

Much like Werdum, a loss is not a gigantic setback. Miocic is still well-established as a Top 5-ranked fighter, and he could be just a couple wins away from another shot at the strap.

TONIGHT at UFC 198, Fabricio Werdum and Stipe Miocic will compete in the main event. Which man will leave the Octagon with a strap of gold?

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