Stalling at Heavyweight

ufc-fn121The quest to find new blood in the heavyweight division continues for the UFC as the old guard just continues to stick around.

The heavyweight division is one where there is a clear division among the roster with a host of older fighters just sitting and waiting to take out every new fighter.

Although Stipe Miocic is not necessarily the oldest champion in the division all of his challengers have been around for a long time.

The list of gatekeepers is long as fighters like Alistair Overeem, Cain Velasquez and Mark Hunt are among the biggest names in the division.

All have been around for a long time and, with the exception of Velasquez, have been looking for their chance at the title in that time.

In most divisions, these older fighters get their time on time and then go away as they begin to lose and begin to be overshadowed by the new wave of fighters.

In the heavyweight division, the older fighters have just stuck around as the young wave of fighters has failed to make an appearance.

For the last few years, the entire division has been dominated by the older fighters who have continued to win and continued to stay on top.

It has made things a little boring in a division that is supposed to be the king of all divisions.

Things are beginning to shift though as 2017 has seen a few fighters begin to emerge as new and exciting talent.

It is a build-up that could make 2018 the year of the young heavyweights with a number of names beginning to develop.

That new year where the young heavyweights can rise up and take over will all begin at the end of 2017 as a few young names have a chance to end their years with some momentum.

At UFC 218 the one young heavyweight that the UFC has invested more in than anyone else will take on Alistair Overeem as Francis N’Gannou tries to get a signature win.

N’Gannou leads the way for the younger group that includes Derrick Lewis, Alexander Volkov and Curtis Blaydes.

Another member of that young group got his chance to end the year with a win as Marcin Tybura was set to headline UFC Fight Night 121.

He was originally scheduled to take on one of the old guards in Mark Hunt who was hoping to take out a younger fighter trying to take over his spot.

Hunt was removed from the fight for health concerns and in his places stepped in another older fighter and former champion, Fabricio Werdum.

Werdum is another member of that old guard in the heavyweight division with plenty of octagon experience.

He is considered one of the best Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners in the UFC as a four-time IBJJF World Champion and a two-time ADCC World Champion.

There are few in the MMA world that can match his accomplishment in BJJ and he took that into a very successful MMA career.

In the UFC, Werdum took the interim title against Hunt in 2014 and then beat Cain Velasquez to unify the belt in 2016.mma-sidebar.fw

The former champ may never have defended the belt but he has beaten just about every challenger in the division.

He is a perfect example of the situation that the UFC is now in as he is now 40 years old and still has a lot of talent but has already faced just about everyone in the division.

The UFC would love nothing more than for the young guns to start beating all of these older fighters to bring new life into the division.

They can’t make those plans though as this is fighting and their best-laid plans tend to have a bumpy road.

UFC Fight Night 121 was another attempt at getting their plan in place bringing in a young heavyweight on a three-fight win streak to take out a member of the old guard.

Of course, no matter how they wanted things to go both fighters had to go into the octagon and take care of business with only one left standing at the end of the night.

Tybura did well to keep this fight on the feet and avoid the devastating ground game of Werdum.

It was a good strategy but Werdum was up for the challenge of the match held almost entirely on the feet.

He picked apart Tybura throughout five rounds and eventually found his way to the ground near the end of the fight.

There was no finish on the night though, following the pattern of the rest of the card, and the fight went to the judges.

It was pretty clear as Werdum took the win with a unanimous decision win as Tybura clearly wasn’t ready for the veteran.

The win only continued the pattern in the division as the older fighter took out one of the more promising younger fighters in the division.

So Werdum continues to climb towards another title shot looking for a second fight against Miocic and keeping the contenders as they are for the time being.

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