MMA Oddsbreaker First Look: Fabricio Werdum vs Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira

UFC on Fuel10The second season of ‘The Ultimate Fighter Brazil’ reality series is well on its way to deciding the finale, which is scheduled for June 8th, in Brazil. In keeping with the typical ‘TUF’ format, the two coaches, Antonio Rodrigo Noguiera and Fabricio Werdum will meet in the final. This will be a rematch for the two men, as they met in the PRIDE ring back in 2006, but both are very different fighters than they were that first time around. When you talk about the UFC’s Heavyweight division, you have the champion Cain Velasquez — fresh off a second dominant performace over Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva — former champion and newly minted number one contender Junior dos Santos, Strikeforce Grand Prix champion Daniel Cormier, and former K-1 Grand Prix champion Alistair Overeem forming a ‘big four’ in the division. With Overeem pulling out of the dos Santos fight and being replaced by Mark Hunt, the pool was a little bit watered down, but he now has an opportunity to rebound as he takes on Travis Browne this August. Most consider both Werdum and Nogueira to be in the next tier of the heavyweight division, but a win at the finale would put that fighter on the cusp of a Heavyweight title shot, with Werdum probably higher on the pecking order heading into the fight. When the line opened at Several Bookmakers Werdum was a -170 favorite (bet $170 to win $100) and Nogueira was a +130 underdog (bet $100 to win $130). Since that time the public has back Werdum heavily, and he sits as a -290 favorite at this point, to Nogueira’s +245. It’s hard to blame them, as Noguiera is 3-3 in his last six fights, and that has not been against the top of the division (the one guy he fought who is a top guy, Velasquez, wiped him out). Noguiera is 36 years old and Werdum is 35 years old, but Noguiera may be the most shopworn fighter in MMA as he has been through countless wars in both the ring and cage. Werdum has fought four times in the last 3 years and he doesn’t have the wars under his belt that Noguiera has. In his last outing, where Werdum beat Roy Nelson, Werdum’s stand up looked dangerous, a sign that he is still developing his skills. Werdum has shown a lot of improvement as a striker, he is aggressive and uses knees and kicks effectively and he has developed in the clinch. Both are heavyweight Jiu Jitsu black belts, and you can argue nuances all you want, but these two will be a stalemate on the ground if it goes there, so this is likely to be a fight decided on the feet. When it comes to striking, Noguiera is a very solid boxer who thrives on counterpunching. However, the wear and tear on his body is evident in that he is very hittable, he has slowed down over the years, and his chin doesn’t hold up like it once did. While this season of ‘TUF Brazil’ has been heavy on pranks and disrespect between the fighters of the two teams, the coaches have remained fairly professional throughout, instead saving their energy for the June 8th battle that is quickly approaching. Both men are longtime veterans of the sport at the highest level, so this should come as no shock. Look for Nogueira backers to start to put their money down on the wily veteran as the line creeps closer to the opener, but in the end Werdum will likely win what could turn out to be a very boring match between two fighters who known each other very well.

Written by Miguel

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