MIXED-MARTIAL ARTS

Fabricio Werdum wins at UFC event in Orlando, earns shot at heavyweight title

 
 
Fabricio Werdum speaks to the press following his victory by unanimous decision against Travis Browne in Orlando on Saturday, April 19, 2014.
Fabricio Werdum speaks to the press following his victory by unanimous decision against Travis Browne in Orlando on Saturday, April 19, 2014.
RODOLFO ROMAN

Special to The Herald

Brazilian Fabricio Werdum (18-5-1) is one step away from earning the Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight gold, while Cuban Yoel Romero remains undefeated in the octagon.

Werdum defeated Travis Browne (16-2-1) by way of unanimous decision at a sold out Amway Center in Orlando on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Romero was too much for Brad Tavares as he defeated him by unanimous decision.

In the Werdum and Browne fight, the Brazilian used his improved striking skill to overpower the 6-foot-7 fighter. In the latter part of the fight, Werdum confided in his combos, which damaged his opponent’s face and left Browne with a bloody nose.

Very early, Browne was taken down in the first round. He tried to connect with kicks and upper cuts in search of an early knockout, but Werdum was too prepared as he had the Brazilian fans on their feet.

Werdum will now meet heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez in Mexico later this year.

In the co-main event, Miesha Tate (14-5) defeated Liz Carmouche (9-5) by unanimous decision.

In a win that shocked the 17,0000 Orlando crowd, Donald Cerrone (23-6-1) defeated Edson Barboza (13-2) by way of rear naked choke in the first round at 3:15.

It was a quick win in what many expected to be a non-stop action-filled fight as Cerrone landed a straight left, bringing Barboza down to the canvas and solidifying the win with a submission.

Romero (8-1), who trains at American Top Team, remains undefeated in the UFC as he put an end to Brad Tavares’ (12-2) five-fight win streak by defeating him by way of unanimous decision.

The Cuban started the fight by giving the amped-up Orlando crowd an attempted early finish in the first round by throwing a high kick, but missed it and shifted gears and went to his bread and butter of wrestling.

Tavares was left with a bloody nose at the end of the first episode. In the second round, Romero threw a standing elbow, cutting him up on the left side of his temple.

He said he was emotional when he saw the Cuban flags in the crowd.

“Wow, I felt like everyone feels when they see their flags being waved,” he said in the press conference.

The remaining fighters representing American Top Team all won their fights.

Brazilian Thiago Alves’ (20-9) return to the octagon was successful, defeating Seth Baczynski (19-11) by unanimous decision. Alves counted on the large Brazilian crowd who chanted in Portuguese during his fight.

“I feel pretty good,” he said. “It was a special experience especially in Orlando.”

Miami fighter Jorge Masvidal (26-8) and Pat Healy (29-19) went the distance as both fighter fought three rounds. In the end, Masvidal came out on top with a unanimous decision.

Masvidal’s striking both with kicks and hands were on point. His defense worked well as he dodged several attempted hand strikes from Healy.

The Cuban-American credits his training for the win.

“I trained my wrestling very hard for this fight. My wrestling coaches were University of Oregon wrestlers and they got me ready for this,” he said. “I knew Pat was a top-level grappler so I had to come ready. And I definitely used my speed to my advantage and felt that I was quicker than him all night.”

Caio Magalhaes (8-1) defeated Luke Zachrich (13-3) in the first round at 44 seconds by technical knockout.

Early in the fight card, Mirsad Bektic (8-0) stayed undefeated as he earned a unanimous-decision victory against Chas Skelly (11-1).

Results

Fabricio Werdum def. Travis Browne, unanimous decision; Miesha Tate def. Liz Carmouche, unanimous decision; Donald Cerrone def. Edson Barboza, submission (Round 1, 3:15); Yoel Romero def. Brad Tavares, unanimous decision; Rafael dos Anjos def. Khabib Nurmagomedov, unanimous decision; Thiago Alves def. Seth Baczynski, unanimous decision; Jorge Masvidal def. Pat Healy, unanimous decision; Alex White def. Estevan Payan, TKO (punches, Round 1, 1:28); Caio Magalhaes def. Luke Zachrich, TKO (strikes, Round 1, 0:44); Jordan Mein def. Hernani Perpetuo, split decision; Dustin Ortiz def. Ray Borg, split decision; Mirsad Bektic def. Chas Skelly, majority decision; Derrick Lewis def. Jack May, TKO (punches, Round 1, 4:23).

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