You are here: Home > Betting Analysis > Breaking Down UFC 143: Roy Nelson Vs Fabricio Werdum
Posted on February 2, 2012 by John Petit
The new slim downed Roy Nelson is coming off of a win over Mirko Crocop at UFC 137, and he did it with his hands. Many thought Nelson would take Crocop down and submit him, because of his jiu-jistu acumen on the ground. When Nelson began fighting mixed MMA, he won 5 of his first 6 fights via submission, but he hasn’t put up a submission win since then. Don’t let that stat fool you, the Renzo Gracie black belt has competed in some of the highest profile grappling competitions on the planet, and has done well.
Fabricio Werdum is also a black belt (from Master Sylvio Behring,) but he is a different level of ground fighter all together. Werdum has 8 submission wins in his MMA career, most famously he is known for handing Fedor Emelianenko his first “real” loss, and ending a 26 fight winning streak. Even more notable is the fact that not only has Werdum fought in the same level of high profile grappling competitions as Nelson, but he has also won them and placed in them consistently. He has taken home the championships at the ADCC two times, The CBJJ World CHampionships two times, and the CBJJ Pan Am Championships 3 times (important to note that when he didn’t win, he usually placed in the top 3.) Werdum is one of the highest caliber ground fighters on the planet, and is just as comfortable fighting from his back as his is from top position.
At UFC 90, heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos exploded on the scene when he made his UFC debut. I sat 20 feet away from the Octagon and without hesitation, of the thousands of am and pro mma fights I have covered, that was the hardest punch i have ever heard anyone land when Dos Santos landed his uppercut square on the chin on Werdum. It knocked Werdum clean out, and Dos Santos was the first and only person to ever do that to Werdum. I bring this up because Nelson has also fought Junior Dos Santos, but he is one of two fighters who survived 3 rounds with the champ (the other being former interim champion Shane Carwin.) I also bring this up, because that was the last time we saw Werdum in the Octagon. Roy Nelson, who is rolling out the welcome mat for Fabricio, has one of the most battle tested chins in the heavyweight division, and maybe even in all of MMA. The only person to knock out Nelson was pro boxer turned mma fighter Andrei Arlovski a little under 4 years ago.
There is no doubt that Werdum is better on the ground. I won’t go as far as to say that Nelson is the better fighter on the feet, but he is known for taking a tremendous amount of punches, and still putting up a fight. Both are terrible at double legs takedowns, and don’t expect to see either of them shooting from far out, but both have excellent trips and inside leg sweeps in the clinch.
Wrestling has proved over and over again, with just a little BJJ defense training, a small amount of knowledge goes a long way. Where Werdum might get Nelson to the ground, I think Nelson knows plenty to keep out of danger, and not to make any silly mistakes. Many have said Werdum looked good on the feet against Alistair Overeem, and some have said he even outstruck the number 1 contender. However, I am not willing to go that far, but he did look better than Overeem in the third round when he gassed out. Yes, his striking has improved since his first round loss to Dos Santos, but I am not convinced that he has what it takes to light up a guy like Roy Nelson. I expect Werdum to be able to get this fight to the ground, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he got a submission late in the fight. However, I am taking Nelson by decision in this fight, because I think he knows enough to be able to stay out of trouble on the floor. This fight is also my underdog pick, and you can find him as high as +135 in some places. Below are how they stack up numbers wise:
Style STRIKING 57% TAKEDOWNS 28% SUBMISSIONS 15%
Odds: +135 Reach: 73 in Record:15-6 UFC Record: 3-2 Last 5: 3-2 Streak: +1
Style STRIKING 26% TAKEDOWNS 31% SUBMISSIONS 43%
Odds: -130 Reach: 77 in Record: 14-5-1 UFC Record: 2-2 Last 5: 3-2 Streak: -1