Brazilian Heavyweight contender Fabricio Werdum sent his stock up another notch last night, as he took out fellow Brazilian Antonio Noguiera in the main event of the UFC on FUEL TV 10 card. Noguiera, a legend in MMA, could not keep up with Werdum’s activity and live body. Werdum was better on the feet and the ground, slowly wearing down ‘Minotauro’ until the arm bar finish got the big guy to tap. This match should but Werdum near the top of the weight class.
It is interesting to note the UFC’s Heavyweight division is relying largely on Strikeforce talent. After Champion Cain Velasquez gets done tangling with Junior Dos Santos a third time, the next challenger is likely to come from a group of fighters that includes Werdum, Alistair Overeem and Josh Barnett, all of whom came from Strikeforce.
The problem is that Velasquez and Dos Santos is not on the calendar yet, and needs to happen before any other challenger is set. For Werdum, that is bad, as this win over Noguiera was the first time he has fought in a year despite being relatively healthy. He starred in the “Tuf’ series in Brazil, and beat another legend, so Werdum needs to keep momentum on his side and stay active.
Werdum’s logical next opponent in that case may be one of the fighters from the SF list. Overeem had a title shot and lost it in a miasma of steroids and horse meat, and his reputation has not been the same since. Overeem and Werdum are 1-1 in previous fights, so the clean finish of a trilogy would be a good way for the winner to move into a title shot.
The other intriguing possibility would be Josh Barnett. Barnett, a former UFC Champion, has inhabited the top tier of heavyweights in the world for over a decade, but he should need a win over someone like Werdum to get in the title picture.
Both Overeem and Barnett are booked, against Travis Browne and Frank Mir respectively. Matches against either of those two men are possible for Werdum as well, however the SF fighters are going to be favored in their match ups and make for a better storyline.