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Fabricio Werdum Stakes His Claim as a Championship Contender with Submission Win Over Another MMA Legend

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COMMENTARY | On Saturday, June 8, 2013, at UFC on Fuel TV 10, heavyweights Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Fabricio Werdum clashed in a matchup that filled the Ginásio Paulo Sarasate arena in Fortaleza, Brazil .

On Saurday night, Werdum avenged a decision loss to Nogueira that was seven years in the making. At UFC on Fuel TV 10, after both combatants scrambled for position, Werdum locked on to an armbar. Nogueira verbally submitted at two minutes, 41 seconds of the first round.

The Second Coming of Werdum: In his second stint with the UFC, Werdum solidified his status as a topnotch contender and threat to the heavyweight champion's belt. Regarding his win and a future title shot, during the UFC on Fuel 10 post-fight conference, Werdum stated:

"...this one (fight) with Minotauro I'm sure was also very special, because it was here in Brazil. I'm sure that UFC will look at this very carefully, will give me an opportunity (to fight for the title) because it was against him. I'm gonna train very, very hard to be able to be the champion in the UFC."

Werdum is on a three-fight win streak, and is a world class Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) practitioner. He is 8-2 is his last 10 fights, and is riding a tremendous wave of momentum. As the No. 3 contender in the heavyweight division, accompanied by his impressive win over the former UFC interim heavyweight champion, Werdum has done more than enough to secure a title shot against the winner of Velasquez/dos Santos III.

The Fall of a Legend: Nogueira began his professional MMA career in 1999. He sports a greatly respectable record (34-8-1), and has beaten the likes of other MMA champions, including Randy Couture, Tim Sylvia, Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipović, Dan Henderson, and Mark Coleman. Nogueira has recorded 21 submissions to his credit and is without doubt, one of the most accomplished MMA athletes of all-time.

However, for almost 15 years, the Brazilian has engaged in countless MMA battles. These wars have left Nogueira's body in shambles, and not long ago was the victim of a catastrophic submission loss to BJJ ace Frank Mir at UFC 140, in which the Brazilian's arm was broken.

Even though Nogueira rebounded from his loss by defeating a younger, "submission-proof" fighter in Dave Herman at UFC 153, the MMA veteran is 3-4 in his last seven fights. In addition, his mobility has steadily decreased over the last five years. Nogueira's deficiency in this area has certainly been exploited, leading to the Brazilian's recent losses.

However, although many, including UFC president Dana White, have encouraged Nogueira to retire, leading up to UFC on Fuel TV 10, the Brazilian stated that, irrespective of the outcome, he had no plans of leaving the sport. In an interview with MMAJunkie.com, he recently stated, "I'm not quitting yet. You guys always want to put me out of the game, but I'm hungry."

In the end, Nogueira may never take part in another championship bout again. However, as he has no plans of retiring, witnessing the MMA legend participate in a few more marquee fights before the end of his career would be nothing less than idea.

Clinton Alexander Bullock has been a Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner for many years. He has studied mixed martial arts for 12 years and has been published in the Yahoo! News, the Bleacher Report, Philadelphia Sunday Sun Newspaper, and Next Step Magazine. Follow him on MMAUnchained.net,

Facebook & Twitter @clintonbullock.

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