UFC 198: Werdum (c) v Miocic
by Andrew McGahon
UFC 198 takes place this weekend in Arena da Baixada in Curitiba, Brazil. topping the card is Brazil’s own, the UFC Heavyweight Champion, Fabricio Werdum as he defends his title against Stipe Miocic.
There’s been quite a buzz about this card. Despite Anderson Silva having to pull out of the card with gallbladder issues, the rest of the card is so strong that it’s not as big of an deal compared to it happening on another card.
In terms of the main event though. I think there are 3 things in the fight where Stipe could use to help his chances massively. It’s not as easy as do this, do that and finish with this, but if he’s on his A game, Werdum is slacking and Stipe can link it well then he could be in for a fun night.
Even though the points I’m going to make are an abbreviated form of Concealed, Carry, Weapon. (which is also one of the only ways he would be able to beat Werdum, but whatever) His Cardio, Chin and Wrestling are what’s going to help him the most this Saturday.
When I say wrestling I don’t mean he is going to try and double leg Werdum or call down the Dudley Brothers to do a 3D on him. I mean it more from a defensive point of view, stay with me on this one you guys, I’ll explain what I mean in a few moments.
Fabricio Werdum is one of the most decorated JiuJitsu practitioners in the UFC Heavyweight Division. Stipe will be able to use his speed, and movement along with some intelligent wrestling defence to try negate the Werdum takedown. He also has a tested chin, he won’t mind taking a few shots to try close the distance if he’s after the takedown. A few years ago he did the same against a BJJ Black Belt in Gabriel Gonzaga.
Gonzaga was trying to use leg kicks to slow Stipe down before closing the distance into a range where he could go for a body lock. Stipe was able to strike and move before Gonzaga was even able to close the short distance. Being a heavy hitter Stipe was able to make these shots from the short range count, tire him out and it soon put Gonzaga off that tactic.
On the flip side, is Fabricio Werdum going to get tired? He didn’t gas in his last fight, which took place 7,200 feet above sea level. He also spent a month beforehand preparing in Mexico at 8,000 feet above sea level to get his body used to the change. I even think Werdum is going to be fully okay with the prospect of meeting Stipe on the feet and throwing leather. Despite being the man who only got into Brazilian JiuJitsu when at 21, his girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend choked him out on a beach with a triangle choke. Werdum has changed from the goofy, smiling BJJ practitioner to the guy who will stand right in front of you, lash a few elbows into your nose before finishing you with a flying knee. He has shown a wide array of striking improvement since working with Rafael Cordeiro.
Something that we may see effect Fabricio Werdum sooner rather than later. Fighters get old, they get tired, they lose their timing, they lose the killer instinct. This isn’t a ridiculous Rocky 9 film where they thaw out the cryogenically frozen body of Rocky Balboa in order to fight a chimp on a barge in international waters. This is a real fight.
Werdum made the name for himself back in 2011 when he submitted the GOAT (greatest of all time) himself in Fedor Emelianenko. What’s stopping history from repeating itself one of these days. Werdum is turning 39 in a couple of weeks. Stipe is coming into his prime at 33 (lol). Two strong finishes in his last 2 fights against Arlovski and Hunt. He’s going to be confident in his hands and will be excited at the prospect of duking it out with Werdum.
There is one massively overwhelming negative for Stipe however. He is fighting in Brazil, in a stadium in Curitibia. They are going to be howling, absolutely baying for the blood of the American. “uh vai morrer” (you will die) will ring through the 30,000+ strong Brazilians. There’s no understating how much that could affect a person if they weren’t 100% focused.
If you’re looking for an aul flutter to keep your interest in one of the more underwhelming UFC Heavyweight title fights of recent years. Then over in the How Fight Will End Market the price of a KO finish () could tempt you. Stipe also has the second longest average fight time in the UFC Heavyweight division and Werdum isn’t too far down the list behind him. So I also like the price of Rounds 4, 5 or by decision in the When Will The Fight End market.