A short notice main event didn’t slow down Fabricio Werdum on Saturday night as he picked up a lopsided win over Marcin Tybura in the main event from Sydney, Australia.
Werdum took the fight after Mark Hunt was removed from the card for medical reasons and he didn’t hesitate for a second to accept the opportunity to get his second win in a row after defeating Walt Harris at UFC 216 in October.
While he had to battle for five rounds to get the win, Werdum looked impressive while handing Tybura his second loss since joining the UFC roster.
Tybura was tentative early and Werdum went on the attack with a series of kicks to the body that left a red welt on the midsection of the Polish heavyweight.
Werdum settled into his striking with a good stiff jab as well as a couple attempts at grabbing the Thai clinch while trying to connect with Tybura’s head.
As the first round ticked away, Tybura finally landed a couple solid punches including a stinging overhand right that cascaded just off the top of Werdum’s head. Werdum countered with a takedown attempt that ended with a scramble against the cage as Tybura finally escaped as the round came to an end.
Tybura went head hunting in the second round as he looked for a big kick to put Werdum away with one shot but just couldn’t seem to find an opening.
Werdum started to put pressure on late in the round as he started connected with short, powerful combinations while chasing Tybura around the cage. Werdum landed a solid combination started by a stiff uppercut with just seconds remaining with Tybura trying to circle away to avoid too much damage.
In the third round, Werdum’s pace didn’t slow down while Tybura seemed to slow down, although he still managed to land a few hard shots including a nice uppercut as he leapt in from the outside.
Still, Werdum was just far more active, firing away with head kicks and then a constant barrage of punches with a series of combinations.
With less than a minute to go, Werdum pressed Tybura against the cage, grabbed onto the clinch and started firing away with big knees trying to get the finish. Tybura was able to weather the storm and work his way free as the round came to an end.
Sensing that he was the fresher fighter, Werdum continued his forward pressure in the fourth round including a takedown attempt that Tybura was able to shrug off.
Werdum was relentless with his offense and eventually he was able to drag the fight to the mat, landing on top, and that was absolutely the last place Tybura wanted to be.
Werdum tried to advance his position but Tybura played good enough defense to stall his attacks before scrambling to get back to his feet just seconds before the horn sounded.
Likely down four rounds, Tybura was going to leave it all in the Octagon to go for the finish in the final five minutes and he absolutely blasted Werdum with a big head kick that rattled the former heavyweight champion.
Tybura also managed to land another solid punch that backed Werdum up but it seemed like he just didn’t have much gas left in the tank to put the pressure on.
As for Werdum, he got a second wind with about a minute to go in the fight as he surged forward with a few more combinations, looking to stagger Tybura with sheer volume but he couldn’t quite land the shots to get a finish.
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The final horn sounded and the judges all agreed that Werdum did more than enough to win as he routed Tybura with scores of 50-45, 50-46 and 49-46.
“My big goal is the belt again,” Werdum said following the win. “I win, I want the next step for the belt again.”
Werdum has now gone 3-1 since losing the heavyweight title to Stipe Miocic last year. Obviously, Werdum would like to earn his way to a rematch with Miocic but it’s tough to say how much ground he gained with his win on Saturday night.
Still, Werdum remains one of the top heavyweights in the sport while anxiously awaiting word on Miocic’s return in 2018 as he continues to claw his way towards another shot at UFC gold.
In the co-main event, UFC newcomer Jessica Rose-Clark engaged in a back and forth war with former “Ultimate Fighter” competitor Bec Rawlings to earn a split decision win after accepting the fight less than two weeks ago.
Rose-Clark failed to make weight on Friday, which cost her a percentage of her purse but she still goes home with a win while officially joining the UFC roster.
Saturday night’s 13-fight card ultimately played out as the longest event in UFC history with over three hours of time spent in the cage with 10 bouts ending in a decision.
Here are the full results from UFC Fight Night: Werdum vs. Tybura
Fabricio Werdum def. Marcin Tybura by unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 49-46)
Jessica Rose-Clark def. Bec Rawlings by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Belal Muhammad def. Tim Means by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
Jake Matthews def. Bojan Velickovic by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
Elias Theodorou def. Dan Kelly by unanimous decision (30-28, 30-27, 30-26)
Alexander Volkanovski def. Shane Young by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-26)
Ryan Benoit def. Ashkan Mokhtarian by knockout (head kick) at 2:38, R3
Nik Lentz def. Will Brooks by submission (guillotine choke) at 2:05, R2
Tai Tuivasa def. Rashad Coulter by knockout (flying knee) at 4:35, R1
Frank Camacho def. Damien Brown by split decision (30-27, 29-28, 28-29)
Nadia Kassem def. Alex Chambers by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-27, 29-27)
Eric Shelton def. Janel Luasa by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-25)
Adam Wieczorek def. Anthony Hamilton by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)