(Sorry little lady, you must be as tall as the Fabricio Werdum sign in order to ride the rock-o-planes. PicProps: ProMMANow)
Everyone’s favorite Portuguese-to-English MMA news resource is at it again this weekend, posting a lengthy (and adorably mistranslated) interview with Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix participant Fabricio Werdum. Tatame.com sits down with Werdum as he prepares for the pie-in-the-sky tournament at the Reign Training Center in California, getting the scoop on the Porto Alegre native’s recovery from an injury that kept him out for much of 2010, how he feels about giving Alistair Overeem a rematch from their 2006 bout and who he thinks will emerge from the other (obviously weaker) side of the tournament bracket.
The answers (in order) are: Good, not so good, Kharitonov and Barnett. Though he is fully recovered from the elbow he jacked up while shocking the world in defeating Fedor Emelianenko last June, Werdum doesn’t sound particularly psyched about his upcoming date with Overeem. Weirdly, the fact that he’s reportedly getting a shot at the Strikeforce heavyweight belt in the first round of the GP doesn’t even come up. He does however indicate that he’s looking forward to a second meeting with Fedor in the semis, which he casually mentions could be on pay-per-view. Werdum says he’s been “working on his bang” to get ready for The Reem but still plans on taking the bout to the mat, where he’ll use his conditioning and “smartness” to get the victory.
“Now I’m training a lot my bang but it still isn’t good for me to bang with (Overeem),” Werdum tells the mag. “The guy has just won K-1, so I’ll try to go for the ground, even because he was training his bang a lot and he didn’t have enough time to improve his ground game for this fight with me … I’ll catch him again, you can bet on it. I’ll beat him with my game plan and smartness … I wouldn’t like to give Overeem this rematch, I’m just fighting because the event matched this fight. To Fedor I’ll give this rematch happily, because I like him and he deserves this rematch. But first I have to think about how I’ll beat Overeem so that rematch can happen.”
See? Nary a mention of the Strikeforce heavyweight title. To be honest with you, Werdum seems solely focused on getting back in the cage with Fedor to see if he can prove it was no fluke when he ended the Russian’s run as the world’s consensus No.1-ranked heavyweight with a triangle choke last summer. On the topic of that side of the bracket – which appears to include all four of Strikeforce’s top returning heavies – Werdum smells a rat. Or at least a PPV marketing strategy.
“I believe they did it that way so that they can sell many pay-per-view subscriptions on the semifinals and on the finale,” Werdum says. “They’re betting I’ll beat Overeem and that Fedor beats Bigfoot, because they know everybody wants that rematch. So, they want to guarantee a good semifinal so that they sell it out and they’re betting on it. Who doesn’t want to watch a rematch like this one?”
Man, don’t know how much we’d be “guaranteeing” that Werdum gets through Overeem in the opening round, but whatever. Like us, the jiu jitsu ace sees the opposite side of the tournament playing out according to chalk, with Sergei Kharitonov and Josh Barnett essentially receiving byes into the semis, where you gotta like Barnett to walk into the finals.
“Kharitonov wins (in the semis), because he’ll go for it the entire time,” Werdum says. “Arlovski is good when he’s attacking, but when he’s attacked he backs up and I bet the Russian will beat him. On the bout between Barnett and Rogers I’m 100 percent Barnett because once he put Rogers on the ground, he’ll turn him into a turtle (laughs).”
Yep, it’s all fun and games, unless you happen to be Brett Rogers.