Fabricio Werdum made quick work of last-minute replacement Walt Harris at UFC 216: Ferguson vs. Lee on Saturday at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
On Friday, Werdum had been expecting to step into the Octagon opposite Derrick Lewis, while Harris had expected to throw down with Marc Goddard on the early prelims. Those plans changed abruptly on Saturday when Lewis had to withdraw because of a lingering back injury that flared up.
It was a gigantic ask for Harris, who entered the fight with the No. 2 ranked heavyweight in the world after having expected to face an unranked Goddard just hours prior.
Werdum opened the fight by launching a head kick that missed, but immediately shifted to a single-leg takedown that he eventually secured.
The former UFC heavyweight champion wasted no time passing from guard to mount. Harris scrambled, trying to escape, but Werdum shifted to Harris’ back, attempting a rear-naked choke before swinging off into a picture-perfect armbar.
Harris was left with no option, but to tap. And just like that, Werdum notched the twenty-second victory of his storied career.
He then wasted no time taking aim at his ultimate goal: recapturing the UFC heavyweight championship from the man he lost it to.
“Three hours before, they change my opponent, but this is my life, I love this. I just want to show everybody that I am the best in the world,” Werdum told Joe Rogan in the middle of the Octagon.
“Now, I want Stipe Miocic. I want my belt back. 100 percent, I got it.”