Fabricio Werdum is headed back to the octagon this February and ready to welcome him will be Ultimate Fighter 10 winner Roy Nelson. The two heavyweight grapplers will collide at UFC 143 on Super Bowl weekend. The contest will be part of the nights main card and could be slotted as the co-main event behind Carlos Condit vs. Nick Diaz, who will battle for the welterweight interim title.
News of the bout was first reported by MMAWeekly.com.
Werdum was last seen in the Octagon at UFC 90, where he was KO’d in just 1:21 by current UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos in Dos Santos’s UFC debut. A win for the brazilian jiu-jitsu expert may have earned him a title shot, but a loss earned him a pink slip. After a successful run in Strikeforce that saw him defeat Mike Kyle, Antonio Silva, and Fedor Emelianenko, the Russian’s first loss in nearly a decade, “Vai Cavalo” came up short in his last fight against Alistair Overeem back in June in one of the years stranger bouts. In that fight, Werdum got the better of things on the feet against the K-1 champion but consistently flopped to his back or failed to get a takedown in hopes of initiating a ground battle with “The Demolition Man.” Werdum’s strategy put him on the wrong side of a unanimous decision and ended his three-fight win streak.
Nelson snapped a two-fight skid in his last bout when he finished Mirko Filipovic early in the third round with a barrage of strikes from the back mount. Prior to that “Big Country” dropped back-to-back decisions against Dos Santos and Frank Mir, and was chastised by UFC President Dana White for his large gut. Nelson is 3-2 in the Octagon, also posting Knockout of the Night victories over Brendan Schaub and Stefan Struve to go along with his recent win over “Cro Cop.”
UFC 143 is scheduled for February 4 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. Along with Condit vs. Diaz, another welterweight showdown between former title challenger Josh Koscheck and fast-rising Mike Pierce is scheduled to take place.
PHOTO CREDIT – STRIKEFORCE
MMATraining Take: I like this match-up in the sense both men could use a win over a “name” opponent and they’re similar from a divisional standpoint. I’m also interested to see how Nelson’s BJJ works against Werdum as well as how the Brazilian’s striking fares against “Big Country”. All around a nice bout, though I guess it goes to show the UFC wasn’t serious when they said Strikeforce’s fighters are staying put.