Werdum (23-7-1) dominated Marcin Tybura in a five-round fight at UFC Fight Night inside Sydney’s Qudos Bank Arena, but never came close to putting the Polish heavyweight away
Nevertheless, final judges scores of 50-45, 50-45 and 49-46 illustrated how lopsided the bout was. After the fight, Werdum pleaded his case for a shot to reclaim the heavyweight title he lost in 2016.
“Congratulations to Tybura,” Werdum said. “You have a long career. I am 40 years old. I am happy. My big goal is the belt again. I have belts at home on my wall, but I want one more.
“All fights in the UFC, not just the heavyweight division, are very hard. One punch, one kick — that’s it. He’s very tough, but I win and I want my next step for the belt again.”
Werdum accepted the quick turnaround from UFC 216 after the promotion removed Mark Hunt from the card. Hunt was scheduled to headline the televised event, but the UFC has asked him to undergo medical evaluations before fighting again.
According to Fightmetric, Werdum outlanded Tybura, who trained for this fight at JacksonWink MMA, 159-108. Experience appeared to play a huge role, as Werdum was simply more versatile, composed and active than Tybura over 25 minutes.
The bout played out almost entirely on the feet. Werdum’s recognition of range and his fluidity between short and long distances stood out against Tybura, who was mostly relegated to throwing single shots.
Werdum, who fights out Kings MMA in Southern California, racked up body kicks early on, and started to elevate those to the head in later rounds. His knees to the midsection from the clinch were another major weapon, and he appeared to hurt Tybura with a boxing flurry in the fourth round.
The closest he came to a finish came later in that fourth round, when he took Tybura down and moved into side control. Tybura, 32, managed to escape the poor position and get back to his feet.
Werdum surrendered his title in a first-round knockout loss to Stipe Miocic in May 2016. Since then he is 3-1, with the loss coming via decision to Alistair Overeem in July. Werdum believes he should have been awarded that fight on the scorecards.
Overeem (43-15) is scheduled to face Francis Ngannou (10-1) at UFC 218 on Dec. 2 in Detroit. The winner, along with Werdum, will be a potential candidate to face Miocic next.