Fabricio Werdum proved the doubters wrong. I know, I was one of them. I said in our official preview that I didn't think there was one area of the fight that Werdum could control over his opponent, UFC Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez. Not only did Werdum find a place he could control at UFC 188, he found several, along with a submission victory over a heavyweight juggernuat in Velasquez.
The first round was a high-paced, aggressive battle with Velasquez looking to turn the fight into a dirty boxing contest. This served him well, as he landed some really big shots to the iterim champion Werdum. Also, Velasquez took Werdum down, somewhere the Brazilian was all too happy to be. Knowing this, Velasquez didn't bite, and instead opted to stand up. This earned him the round in my book.
It was all downhill for Velasquez from there.
Werdum's striking is worlds beyond whatever he thought he was doing in the Overeem fight years ago. He's shown it repeatedly. Mark Hunt, Roy Nelson, and it culminated with mollywhopping Cain Velasquez. Several shots staggered Cain, but he still pushed forward and landed several punches of his own. Still, Werdum got the better of the exchanges, and won round 2 pretty clearly.
In round 3, Werdum put it all together. Velasquez's corner called for a takedown, and after being tagged with straight punches, Cain did just that...and fell right into a guillotine choke of the grinning Werdum. Velasquez submitted and history was made, as Werdum became the first Interim Champion to win a title unification in the UFC.
A bloodied Velasquez looked dejected after the bout, as a 37-year old Werdum looked overjoyed. Unfortunately for him, this completely shakes up the division, and essentially opens up four immediate challengers to his crown. Junior dos Santos, Andrei Arlovski and Alistair Overeem have all defeated Werdum, and Stipe Miocic has a legit claim to being a championship challenger.
Had Cain Velasquez won, he would have set a new record for consecutive successful UFC Heavyweight Title defenses with 3. Instead he'll share the record of two with Randy Couture, Tim Sylvia, and former WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar.
You can check out our full UFC 188 coverage at this link.