Fabricio Werdum still has plenty of fight left in him.
At 42, the former heavyweight champion looked better than ever after pursuing a takedown and then locking up an armbar to give Alexander Gustafsson a rude welcome back to the UFC following a brief retirement from the sport.
The tap came at 2:30 in the opening round as Werdum gets back in the win column for the first time since 2017.
“This is my strategy,” Werdum said about his submission victory. “This is a very important point for me. I’m very happy, I’m almost crying now.”
Following a disappointing performance in his last fight, Werdum had something to prove while taking on a former sparring partner in Gustafsson. While he was willing to trade strikes with Gustafsson early, Werdum swooped inside to look for the takedown after a brief exchange on the feet.
Gustafsson did his best to scramble out of a potential battle on the mat with one of the most accomplished grapplers in the history of the sport but he eventually got trapped with Werdum about to take his back.
Rather than look for the choke, Werdum transitioned to the arm instead and Gustafsson immediately understood the danger he was facing. After working his way into a better position, Werdum finally broke the grip Gustafsson had with his hands and he extended the armbar to get the finish.
It was a much needed win for Werdum, who was coming off back-to-back losses prior to Saturday night while competing in the final fight on his current contract with the UFC. It’s unclear what the future holds for Werdum but he’s definitely still a threat to anyone and everyone in the heavyweight division.