Undefeated since returning to the UFC, Fabricio Werdum has worked for the Spanish broadcast team at most of the UFC events, and he was in Houston to call the action at UFC 166. Werdum watched Velasquez dominate dos Santos and finish the fight with punches in the fifth round. Evidently, he was impressed with the champion’s performance.
"It was a great fight," Werdum told MMAFighting.com. "I was there, close to the fence, watching all the action. I was really anxious for this fight.
"Cain is impressive. The pace that he pushes the fight is impressive. He fought harder than the last time. ‘Cigano’ was well trained in his takedown defense, survived again because he’s a warrior. You can’t say a thing about ‘Cigano’. He tried his hay makers and Cain handled that well. After every punch ‘Cigano’ threw, Cain broke his attack with a jab, clinch or takedown. I’ve noticed that perfectly in this fight. ‘Cigano’ couldn’t avoid the clinch work."
A two-time ADCC Submission Wrestling World champion and two-time jiu-jitsu world champion in the black belt division, "Vai Cavalo" believes his jiu-jitsu is good enough to stop the UFC heavyweight champion, but he won’t promote the fight with trash talk.
"It’s too soon to say that I will submit him or what’s going to happen in this fight," he said. "It will be a great fight. His style is perfect for me. ‘Cigano’ is a striker so Cain worked intelligently to use the right strategy to avoid that. It won’t be a slow-paced fight. I won’t let him do that clinch game with me. I expect an exciting fight standing and on the ground.
"We won’t talk trash to promote this fight," Werdum continued. "I’ve made this mistake before. I respect him a lot. The same approach I’ll have in this fight is the one I had against Fedor Emelianenko. It’s a mutual respect. I can’t promote this fight talking trash. His style is impressive, and I will train hard to beat that. He keeps the pace for five rounds and that’s tough for a heavyweight. I’ll work on my cardio to do an excellent fight for the fans."
Velasquez is one of the best wrestlers in the heavyweight division but he hasn’t faced someone with Werdum’s level of submission skills, and taking a guy like him to the ground probably wouldn’t be the smartest strategy.
However, that’s exactly what Werdum expects Velasquez to do in this fight.
"He will try to take me down, and I can also take him down," he said. "I’m training wrestling with Kenny Johnson and my wrestling has become better and better. The fight is going to the ground. Cain will take me down, but I won’t give him my back. I’ll do a good guard, try submissions. I will always do something."
Velasquez was promoted to black belt in jiu-jitsu by Leandro Vieira weeks before his third fight with Junior dos Santos, and Werdum believes he has worked for it despite the fact that he hasn’t showed much of his submission skills inside the Octagon.
"He just got his black belt in jiu-jitsu with Leandro Vieira, and I believe he deserves that," he said. "He has been training a lot and is the best MMA fighter in the world. Maybe he doesn’t show his jiu-jitsu in the fight, he probably shows it more in the gym, but he uses it enough combined with his wrestling and he dominates the opponent. He does great mixing it up. He doesn’t put the hooks to go for a rear-naked choke, but he does enough for his style."
Before the third fight of the trilogy between Velasquez and dos Santos, fans and media discussed if the winner of this bout could be considered the best heavyweight in MMA history. Werdum disagrees.
"If Velasquez defeats me, he will break the record for most title defenses in the heavyweight history. Cain Velasquez is making history already. But, in my opinion, the best heavyweight of all-time is Fedor Emelianenko," Werdum said. "Cain is on his way, but he won’t get there. I want to beat the best in the world. I have defeated Fedor and ‘Minotauro’ (Nogueira), and winning this title against Cain, who is considered one of the best of all-time, will be incredible."