After a somewhat underwhelming fight card went down in early hours of Sunday morning, with ten out of the thirteen bouts heading to a decision, Fabricio Werdum triumphed over Marcin Tybura after five rounds in the main event.
The Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney, Australia played host to the longest thirteen-fight event in UFC history, with fight time exceeding three hours. The former heavyweight champion outpointed his Polish challenger over five rounds, with two judges ruling it a clean sweep.
A clear candidate for fight of the night emerged early in the card with Frank Camacho outpointing Damien Brown after a fifteen-minute slugfest. Camacho had missed weight a day prior to the card, but Brown accepted the fight regardless.
Over three-hundred strikes landed between them, in a battle not one for those who adore the defensive side of the sport. It might possibly be the only entire fight worth watching on the card! Camacho managed to gain his first victory in the octagon whilst Brown slides to 2-3 inside the UFC.
Tai Tuivasa ended his UFC debut in explosive fashion, finishing Rashad Coulter with a flying knee! The Australian who weighed in on the heavyweight limit of 265lbs delivered the fight-ending touch with less than thirty seconds to go in the first round. The finish earned the twenty-four-year-old a performance of the night bonus, adding $50,000 to his fight purse.
With the card in the back of our minds and the history books, what fights can be made following UFC Sydney?
Fabricio Werdum vs. Alexander Volkov
Werdum has lost to both Alistair Overeem and Stipe Miocic in the last eighteen months and with Cain Velasquez still sidelined, it is unclear who the Brazilian could face in the division. If Francis Ngannou is to defeat Overeem, it paves the way for the Cameroonian to challenge for the title.
A rematch with Overeem is a fight I wouldn’t be itching to watch again after their snorefest at UFC 213 in July. Mark Hunt appears to be sidelined and Derrick Lewis pulled out of ta fight with Werdum just two months ago at UFC 216.
This series of events paves the way for Alexander ‘Drago’ Volkov to take on the former champion. The Russian towers above at 6’7” and has won all three of his UFC bouts after capturing the M-1 heavyweight crown.
It represents a top test for Volkov to infiltrate the top five in the division, whilst for Werdum it adds to his hopes of a rematch with Stipe Miocic. This could headline a ‘Fight Night’ card or appear high on a pay-per-view event in early 2018.
Marcin Tybura vs. Curtis Blaydes
The loss in Sydney will rankle Tybura, having picked up three consecutive wins to affirm his top ten heavyweight ranking, however a bout with Curtis ‘Razor’ Blaydes may act as a test for both men to prove their contender status.
Blaydes was given a baptism of fire when joining the UFC, fighting Francis Ngannou just six weeks after his last bout. The American is one of only two fighters to make it out of the first round with the dangerous Cameroonian and has since gone undefeated in the octagon to propel his way up to ninth in the rankings.
A win over Oleksiy Oliynyk at UFC 217 reaffirmed the talents of the twenty-six-year-old, who also defeated Tybura’s compatriot Daniel Omielanczuk at UFC 213. The octagon is due to return to London on March 17th and this fight could feature to attract the Polish crowd to the English capital.
Alexander Volkanovski vs. Chas Skelly
The Australian continued his perfect start to life in the octagon with his third victory in less than a year with a decision over New Zealand’s Shane Young. Volkanovski has won thirteen straight bouts as a professional, picking up various titles at both featherweight and lightweight.
He is yet to step out of Australia and New Zealand and the twenty-nine-year-old may not have to for his next bout with UFC 221 taking place in Perth on February 11th. Chas Skelly represents a more experience opponent, having nine octagon appearances and coming off a recent loss to Jason Knight.
A fight like this could likely lead to a ranked opponent for Volkanovski if he were to be victorious. Is he the next star to follow in Robert Whittaker’s footsteps?
The octagon returns next weekend in Shanghai with a UK-time friendly fight card headlined by our very own Michael Bisping taking on Kelvin Gastelum.