This weekend’s UFC 143 event coming to us from the Mandalay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada is all about the main event pitting Carlos Condit against Nick Diaz for the interim Welterweight Title. In support of their main event, the UFC has gone with a couple of heavyweights in Fabrizio Werdum and Roy Nelson. The fight could go either way in terms of excitement, as both are high skill heavyweights that may wind up neutralizing each other. But both have a chance at taking their careers to the next level here. Short of bringing in Strikeforce talent like Josh Barnett, Daniel Cormier and event ‘Bigfoot’ Silva, the winner of Werdum and Nelson should likely fight Cain Velasquez in a qualifier to face the winner of Dos Santos – Overeem.
It is card to believe, but it has been almost two years now since Fabrizio Werdum defeated Fedor Emelianenko to catapult himself into the top of the heavyweight rankings. Since then he has fought once, and really lost a lot of career momentum.
Nelson took out Mirko CroCop in his last outing, but had two decision losses prior to that. His combination of fat and flat wont cut it, but he does have juice in his punches and he is a solid ground fighter.
Let’s face it if Werdum and Nelson goes to the ground, we are in for a borefest. Werdum is probably trickier and more polished than Nelson, but Nelson will likely play it safe on the ground (Fedor was trying to finish the fight and taking risks) which means he won’t get caught.
More than likely this is going to turn into some of that good old fashioned bad boxing I am always talking about, and it is here I think Nelson has the advantage. First of all, Nelson is sturdy and can take a shot, so I expect him to be able to handle anything Werdum throws at him. I expect Werdum to tire a bit, which means his striking will get sloppier and sloppier as the fight progresses.
Werdum has stated in interviews that he expects to use his stand up, but I am going to have to see it. I grant Werdum is a hard worker, but I don’t see his standup improving enough to take out Nelson.
Nelson for his part is going to have to hustle and burn off energy in this fight. He has looked tired in some of his fights, and he cannot afford to let Werdum win a round early with sloppy boxing. If Nelson is getting beat on the feat, he should look to put Werdum on his back and try to hurt him with ground and pound. That is an option I don’t think Werdum has.
It is a good little fight, but it does show that the UFC’s Heavyweight class is still quite thin, since the winner here may be one fight away from a title shot.