Father Time has not yet billed Fabricio Werdum.
The two-time Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling World Championships gold medalist kept his place in line near the top of the Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight division, as he took a three-round unanimous decision from Marcin Tybura in the UFC Fight Night 121 main event on Saturday at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney. All three cageside judges sided with the 40-year-old Werdum: 50-45, 50-45 and 49-46.
Tybura simply could not match the Brazilian’s output. Werdum kicked effectively to the legs, body and head while operating behind a penetrating jab. He consolidated his efforts with multi-punch volleys upstairs and occasional knee strikes to the head and body. Nothing Tybura tried seemed to give Werdum pause, as the Polish upstart was foiled in his bid for a fourth straight win.
In the aftermath of UFC Fight Night “Werdum vs. Tybura,” here are five fights that ought to be made.
Fabricio Werdum vs. Alexander Volkov: Werdum filled in for 2001 World Grand Prix winner Mark Hunt on short notice and made the most of his opportunity. Fighting for the second time in six weeks, the longtime Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt handled Tybura without much exertion. Werdum won all five rounds on two scorecards and four of the five on the other, moving to 2-0 since his decision loss to rival Alistair Overeem at UFC 213 in July. The 6-foot-7 Volkov has won five fights in a row and last competed at UFC Fight Night 115 on Sept. 2, when he put away Stefan Struve with third-round punches in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
Belal Muhammad vs. Sean Strickland: Putting more and more distance between himself and a November 2016 knockout loss to Vicente Luque, Muhammad bagged a split decision in a three-round battle with former King of the Cage champion Tim Means. He accounted for the only takedown of the bout, per FightMetric -- a fact that helped him overcome being outstruck by a narrow margin: Means landed three more significant strikes and three-more total strikes across the 15-minute affair. Muhammad has pieced together a three-fight winning streak since his aforementioned encounter with Luque, besting Means, Jordan Mein and Randy Brown along the way. Strickland last appeared at UFC Fight Night 120, where he was awarded a unanimous verdict over “The Ultimate Fighter 11” winner Court McGree.
Jake Matthews vs. Randy Brown: Matthews made a triumphant return to the welterweight division, as he did just enough to eke out a split decision over Elevation Fight Team export Bojan Velickovic in their featured encounter at 170 pounds. “The Celtic Kid” executed multiple takedowns in the first and third rounds, securing a much-needed victory on the heels of back-to-back losses to Kevin Lee and Andrew Holbrook. Still just 23 years of age, it remains to be seen whether or not Matthews can reach the lofty heights that have long been expected of him. Brown last fought at UFC 217 on Nov. 4, when the former Ring of Combat champion claimed a unanimous decision over Mickey Gall at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Elias Theodorou vs. Antonio Carlos Jr.: Darting punches, circular movement and a heavy dose of kicks to the legs, body and head carried Theodorou to a unanimous decision over four-time Olympian Daniel Kelly in a three-round middleweight showcase. “The Ultimate Fighter Nations” winner swept the scorecards with 30-28, 30-27 and 30-26 scores from the cageside judges. While Theodorou’s lack of thump will likely preclude him from becoming an elite fighter, he has excelled against middle-tier competition at 185 pounds. He now owns a 6-2 mark in the UFC, having lost only to Thiago Santos and Brad Tavares. Carlos Jr. last competed at UFC Fight Night 119 on Oct. 28, when he submitted Jack Marshman with a first-round rear-naked choke.
Alexander Volkanovski vs. Cody Stamann: Three fights into his stay, Volkanovski has done nothing to diminish the hype that greeted his arrival in the UFC. The 29-year-old Australian moved to 3-0 inside the Octagon and pushed his winning streak to 13 fights, as he captured a unanimous decision over short-notice replacement Shane Young in their three-round catchweight affair at 150 pounds. Scores were 30-27, 30-26 and 30-26, all for Volkanovski. He figures to see an increase in his degree of difficulty soon. Stamann improved his overall record to 16-1 at UFC 216 on Oct. 7, when he wound up on the right side of a split decision against former two-division British Association of Mixed Martial Arts champion Tom Duquesnoy. The Michigan Top Team rep has rattled off nine consecutive victories.