UFC 188 was one big surprise. Or was it?
Most UFC fans were shocked that Werdum took down Velasquez and made him look like he was a hot mess. Velasquez was supposed to be the best heavyweight in the world.
I think people tend to forget that Werdum has submitted one of the best heavyweights in the world once before. Who was to say he couldn’t do it again?
Werdum certainly proved himself a true champion by submitting the two-time UFC heavyweight champion at 2:13 of the third round via guillotine choke. Here’s a breakdown of the action for each round:
Velasquez came out guns blazing and really put pressure on Werdum, but Werdum came out fighting like a champ as well. Both exchanged a few blows and landed a ton of strikes. Werdum opened a cut near Velasquez’s eye early on, but overall, the first round was evenly matched.
The second round is where we saw Werdum take over with kicks, combinations and pressure that left Velasquez completely exhausted as the round came to a close. It was incredible to see how much Werdum’s striking game had improved. Velasquez dealt out quite a few low kicks, but Werdum landed better punches that rocked Velasquez. However, Velasquez pressed on and fought hard, despite a hard knee to the face that sent him to his knees.
The rounds moved at a fast pace, which you would think would have been a big advantage for the king of cardio, Velasquez. But this time, the pace favored Werdum. Afterward, we learned that Velasquez might not have been as acclimated to the altitude as he needed to be. Werdum spent 34 days in Mexico to get adjusted; whereas, Velasquez only spent two weeks.
Throughout the third round, Velasquez looked like he didn’t have much left in him. He got a takedown early in the round; Werdum landed a few jabs; Velasquez landed a head kick. Werdum looked for the guillotine choke, but Velasquez was able to escape. Shortly after, Velasquez charges for a double-leg takedown but quickly learns his fate. Werdum swiftly applies a guillotine choke, forcing Velasquez to tap out for the first time in his career.
What caused Velasquez’s fate? Was it the altitude? The long hiatus? A superior opponent? Maybe it’s a combination of all three. Needless to say, Velasquez simply didn’t look like the champion we all knew and loved.
Regardless, Werdum’s performance and ability to defeat one of the toughest opponents he’s ever faced is to be applauded. There’s no doubt Werdum was underestimated, and he proved that he is certainly a force to be reckoned with. What a grueling victory for Fabricio Werdum!
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Photos courtesy of UFC