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Fabricio Werdum Beats Antonio Silva at Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Rogers

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill -- In a good way to start the return of MMA to network television, Fabricio Werdum beat Antonio Silva by unanimous decision Saturday night at Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Rogers.

Silva floored Werdum in the early going and appeared close to finishing him on the ground, but Werdum stayed poised and managed to get back onto his feet. Midway through the first round Silva threw Werdum onto his back, but when Werdum stayed there, Silva wanted none of it and took the fight back to his feet. It went that way for much of the round, with Silva controlling it but always careful not to get caught in one of Werdum's submissions. The first round was exciting and left the crowd giving the fighters a standing ovation.

The second round was less action packed, and the crowd started to boo when they clinched against the cage after three minutes. Werdum managed to get on top of Silva on the ground with a minute left in the round, transition to side control and then get hold of Silva's leg, but he wasn't able to get Silva in any real trouble.

In the third round Werdum began to go on the offensive, getting Silva's back and landing several strikes. But when he attempted to sink in a rear-naked choke, Silva managed to get back up. With a minute to go in the round Werdum again got Silva's back and again landed strikes from the top, but he wasn't able to finish him.

Werdum is an Abu Dhabi Combat Club champion and arguably the best heavyweight grappler in MMA, and it was clear throughout the fight how much respect Silva had for Werdum's jiu jitsu. Silva would get Werdum on his back and then let him back up, afraid of ending up in Werdum's guard. All three judges ruled that Werdum did enough on the ground to win the second and third rounds, and that gave Werdum the unanimous decision, 29-28 on each card.

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