Werdum stops Hunt to win interim title at UFC 180
MANILA, Philippines – Fabricio Werdum successfully captured the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) interim heavyweight title by thwarting Mark Hunt in the main event of UFC 180 on Sunday, November 16 at the 22,300-capacity Mexico City Arena in Mexico City, Mexico.
After reeling from a precarious start, the 37-year-old Werdum was able to knock out Hunt with a flying knee and follow-up punches in the second round.
A replacement for injured champion Cain Velasquez, Hunt controlled the opening frame with his takedowns and dropped the 6-foot-4 Brazilian twice with right hands.
Hunt caught Werdum again as he threw a heavy kick to the head early in the second stanza, but the latter remained composed and waited for the right moment to land a crushing knee in the center of the cage.
Werdum immediately followed Hunt on the mat and then clobbered a series of hammerfists to compel referee Herb Dean to halt the action at the 2:27 mark of round two.
“This belt is for my daughters and my wife and my family and my team,” he said in his post-fight interview. “He punched me very hard, but I’ve been waiting for this moment.”
With the title-winning performance against Hunt, Werdum improves his mixed martial arts record to 19-5-1 and has now won five bouts in a row.
Werdum figures to face Velasquez in a unification bout, but only if Velasquez is able to recover by March of 2015.
UFC president Dana White publicly revealed prior to the event that Velasquez could be stripped off the heavyweight strap if he is not able to return to action within the aforementioned deadline.
On the other hand, Hunt drops his prizefighting standing to 10-9-1 and has lost two of his last four Octagon outings since viciously knocking out Stefan Struve in March 2013.
“This was Fabricio’s shot anyway. I just tried to come and take his spot, but he already had the spot anyway. God bless him, mate,” Hunt stated. – Rappler.com