(“Hey Fabricio, it’s me Dan. I know this probably isn’t the time to tell you this, but you really dun f*cked up, kid.”via Getty)
Fabricio Werdum may have only been a -185 favorite heading into his UFC 198 title tilt with Stipe Miocic on Saturday, but the consensus across the board seemed to be that he would either utilize his vastly-improved striking skills to put away his Cleveland-born opponent on the feet or take him to the mat and submit him using his world-renowned Jiu Jitsu. This was the man who defeated Cain Velasquez, after all, and was hoping to kickstart his legacy as “the greatest heavyweight of all time” with a big win in front of 45,000 Brazilian fans.
The Fabricio Werdum that actually showed up at UFC 198, however, could not have looked further from the greatness he so desired. Chalk it up to blind confidence or whatever you will, but “Vai Cavalo” — a man who has not only submitted 3 of the greatest heavyweights of all time, but dominated the likes of Mark Hunt and Travis Browne in recent appearances — appeared to temporarily lose complete control of both his body and mind on Saturday night. It was quite possibly the most mind-blowingly stupid performance since Koji Oishi tried to block Nick Diaz’s punches with punches, and the result was a new champion who was all but handed the belt on a silver platter.
It cannot be understated how surreal it was to see a fighter with Werdum’s technical prowess literally charge face first into the fists of his opponent while throwing the kind of telegraphed 1-2 punches usually found on an episode of Cops. He didn’t even cut off the cage, for Christ’s sake! THIS IS DAY ONE STUFF, FABRICIO.