FORTALEZA, Brazil - Heavyweight Fabricio Werdum avenged a 2006 loss to Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira with a second-round submission win over the former interim UFC champ in the main event of Saturday's UFC on FUEL TV 10.
Werdum was in control from the start, looking quicker on the feet in the standup department and stronger on the floor. Still, the 27-year-old Nogueira showed his legendary tenacity as he constantly walked forward and looked to strike from the clinch. However, things took an unfortunate turn for him in the second frame.
As Nogueira looked to secure a guillotine choke in a scramble, Werdum pulled his head free and took top position as the pair hit the floor. From there, Werdum methodically worked himself into a tight armbar position. Nogueira tried desperately to outlast the hold but eventually verbally submitted.
"It's my second fight with him, and it was a tough fight," Werdum said after the win. "I was able to get onto his back and get the armbar, and then I was able to make him submit. That made me very happy."
Marshall Zelaznik, the UFC's managing director of international development, said the win might not necessarily guarantee a fight with the winner of a planned heavyweight title fight between current champ Cain Velasquez and former title holder Junior dos Santos, but he believes Werdum can at least make a case for the booking.
"Obviously this was an important fight for Fabricio," Zelaznik said. "The chatter in the office was that this was an improtant fight for determining the contender for the championship."
In the night's co-feature, 33-year-old Leonardo Santos (12-3 MMA, 1-0 UFC) became the oldest winner of "The Ultimate Fighter" with a second-round submission win over William Macario.
Santos and Macario faced off in the tournament final of "The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 2." Macario looked the better fighter to open, toying with his opponent on the feet and showing little regard to his opponent's vaunted grappling skills. But as the contest wore on, Macario appeared to tire and Santos took full advantage.
Taking the fight to the floor, Santos quickly advanced to mount position and locked in an arm-triangle choke. As he dismounted to finish the hold, Macario tried desperately to spin and escape but was forced to tap with 17 seconds left in the second round.
An emotional Santos celebrated the victory with his longtime teammate, UFC featherweight champ Jose Aldo. In a moment of raw emotion, both men shed tears as the enjoyed the importance of the win, which sees Santos earn a six-figure UFC contract.
"I know many of you, when you saw me walking in, a small-city guy, you thought I was going to lose," Santos said. "But no way — I'm very tough. Aldo is the most humble person I know of. He's a really good champion and a great person. I consider him my brother."
In another featured matchup, one-time UFC title contender Thiago Silva (15-3 MMA 6-3 UFC) earned his first official win since 2009 with a stunning first-round knockout of former Strikeforce champ Rafael "Feijao" Cavalcante (11-4 MMA, 0-1 UFC). While Cavalcante looked the stronger man to open the fight, he tired as the opening round unfolded, and Silva made him pay.
A straight wobbled the favoured Cavalcante before an uppercut landed flush on the chin and ended the contest with 31 seconds left in the opening round.
The performance earned Silva US$100,000 in extra income for earning both the "Knockout of the Night" and "Fight of the Night" bonuses.
UFC on FUEL TV 10's undercard featured seven bouts that included Brazilian fighters against foreign competition. The Brazilian fighters were victorious in all seven contests. A crowd of 6,286 fans attended the event, according to Zelaznik.