Legendary heavyweight Fabricio Werdum makes his PFL debut this Thursday at PFL 3 against fellow promotional newcomer Renan Ferreira. Despite being far less experienced, Ferreira feels as though he’ll have an answer no matter where this fight ends up.
The former UFC heavyweight champ has fought the very best that the division has to offer for nearly two decades. Werdum returned to competition last year following an extended layoff to earn a Performance of the Night bonus in a submission win over Alexander Gustafsson. Meanwhile, Ferreira is a giant of a man at 6’8″ with an 83.5″ reach. The Brazilian is coming off a dominant victory in LFA against Jared Vanderaa.
Fabricio Werdum vs Renan Ferreira Breakdown
The PFL 3 main event features two mountainous men, but they have more differences than similarities when inside the cage. Werdum has shared the octagon with the likes of Alistair Overeem, Antonio Nogueira, Fedor Emelianenko, Cain Velasquez, Stipe Miocic, and many more. The 43-year-old has compiled an exceptional resume over the years and is currently in the final stages of his career. Conversely, Ferreira is fairly young in terms of MMA, having just eight professional fights under his belt. The 31-year-old has displayed talent, but this next fight is his biggest test to date by far.
Werdum is much more of a threat to finish the fight with his grappling than his hands at this stage in his career. “Vai Cavalo” hasn’t scored a KO/TKO finish since beating Mark Hunt in 2014, but he’s secured three submission victories in that time. The lifelong mixed martial artist flaunts a 2nd-degree black belt in BJJ under Octavio Couto, to accompany his black belts in Judo and Muay Thai. Needless to say, Werdum is one of the most decorated fighters in the world. Now, the real question is how much does he have left in the tank? His performance at PFL 3 against a far less experienced opponent will serve as a prime indicator.
Projecting how Ferreira will fare against a former world champion is difficult to gauge, considering his lack of film to study. In a sense, he’s the ultimate wild card heading into this bout. His fight against Vanderaa told us quite a bit, however. He was able to drop his opponent with a flush straight right hand, which he followed up with vicious elbows from the top position. Vanderaa eventually got back to his feet and took Ferreira down with an outside trip, but the Brazilian immediately became the aggressor off of his back and sunk in a triangle choke which ended the fight.
Undoubtedly, Ferreira will benefit from utilizing his reach advantage at PFL 3 by peppering the jab. The real fun will ensue once these two begin to grapple though. Yes, Werdum out-credentials his foe per usual, but Ferreira will not get dominated by him on the ground. His long limbs and coinciding learned knowledge from Team Nogueira will have him prepared to grapple with someone as accomplished as Werdum. The standup advantage actually leans towards the younger competitor, while the more experienced Werdum holds a slight edge in terms of grappling. All in all, this is a fairly even contest wherever it ends up.
PFL 3 Main Event Final Thoughts
PFL 3: Werdum vs Ferreira is a matchup of two all-around mixed martial artists, and it’s easy to see why they’re headlining the event on May 6. In all honesty, Werdum surprised many with his swift submission over Gustafsson, but Ferreira is much more of a crafty grappler. This bout is scheduled for three, five-minute rounds and it has a decision written all over it. That is due to the notion that they’ll have answers for each other in just about every facet. If either heavyweight were to score a knockout it’d most likely be Ferreira, but Werdum is still sharp enough to avoid the devastating blows. Expect an entertaining back and forth at PFL 3.
PFL 3 is taking place in Atlantic City, NJ with the undercard kicking off at 5:30 PM (ET) on ESPN+. Then, the main card begins at 7:00 PM (ET) live on ESPN. Make sure to tune in for Fabricio Werdum vs Renan Ferreira!
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