LAS VEGAS -- Roy Nelson is slowly shedding the blubber around his midsection, but he still has a ways to go. Fabricio Werdum showed that tonight.
The Brazilian, fighting for the first time in the UFC since 2008, actually picked apart Nelson on the feet to cruise to a unanimous decision victory, 30-27 on all three cards.
"Roy is very tough and can endure a lot of beating, but I found his weak spots," said Werdum.
With a giant belly and a mullet, Nelson is the everyman, and the crowd at Mandalay Bay roared in approval of the Las Vegas native. He came into the fight at just 246 pounds, his lightest weight in years. But even minus the extra 20 pounds he used to fight with, Nelson was still taking big deep breaths midway through the second round. He was a sitting duck.
Werdum is generally regarded as one of the best Brazilian jiu-jitsu artists in the division, but no one's ever raved about his striking. He beat the heck out of Nelson on the feet. The 6-foot Nelson played perfectly into the 6-5 Werdum's gameplan of working head control to throw knees. Werdum opened a huge gash on Nelson's forehead.
"This fight was important to me. I trained hard every day for this fight. I had a good strategy going into the fight but the main thing for me was to come out with a victory," said Werdum. FightMetric had Werdum outlanding Nelson 91-26.
Nelson (16-7 , 3-3 UFC) took a beating to the chin and body along the cage over the first five minutes. It just got worse from there. An exhausted Nelson tried to throw the home run overhand right for the next 10 minutes. In doing so, he moved forward and kept ducking his head. Werdum landed more knees and pounded Nelson to the face with his jab.
Reality is that Nelson is a tweener. If he really got in great shape, he'd probably still weigh 220 pounds. That's too small for heavyweight and way too big for the 205-pound division. Werdum is a massive guy, but still quick enough to avoid the plodding Nelson.
"I never really dwell on losses. I think it makes you a better fighter depending on how you look at it. Yeah it sucks, but I'll get back in the gym and get better."