(Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
If what we saw last night was truly the end of the UFC’s experiment with hosting events on FUEL TV (remember, FUEL becomes Fox Sports 2 this August, and no, preliminary cards don’t count), it ended in one of the strangest ways imaginable. A UFC record eight fights ended in submission; four of which ended in less than three minutes. None of the bouts on the main card went the distance, which helped contribute to what felt like an eternity of watching old footage and staring at Kenny Florian’s magnificent hair in between fights. And, of course, there was Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira surrendering to an armbar from Fabricio Werdum in the main event of the evening, marking the first time that Nogueira has opted to submit instead of letting something break.
It would be easy to write about how the once-invincible Nogueira looked like a fighter who should strongly consider retirement, but I can’t help but feel that doing so would be misleading. For starters, focusing on how beatable Big Nog looked would make it seem like the fight was a lopsided, painful to watch beatdown. Although Werdum was in clear control throughout the fight, it was still a pretty close and entertaining scrap between two of the UFC’s best heavyweights.
Perhaps more importantly, attributing Big Nog’s loss solely to Father Time would be an insult to the performance that Fabricio Werdum put forward last night. Right from the start of the fight, Werdum was able to mount Nogueira and began to work for submissions. When Nogueira made his way back to his feet, Werdum got the better of the stand-up exchanges. Rinse, wash, repeat, until Nogueira realized that he wasn’t going to escape the armbar that Werdum locked up in the second round and tapped out.