Former UFC heavyweight champs to clash at Jorge Masvidal’s big time bare knuckle MMA event

2 ex-UFC heavyweight champs make their bare knuckle debuts at Gamebred FC in August.

By: Lucas Rezende | 2 months ago
Former UFC heavyweight champs to clash at Jorge Masvidal’s big time bare knuckle MMA event
IMAGO/USA Today: Junior dos Santos beat Fabricio Werdum at UFC 90.

A rematch 15 years in the making actually taking place in 2023. Ever since UFC 90, when former UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos impressed the world by knocking out Fabricio Werdum in his Octagon debut, it seemed that both Brazilians would never cross paths again. Yet, they are, and not in the usual fashion.

Junior dos Santos and Fabricio Werdum meet again 15 years later

In an interview with Portal do Vale Tudo, it was dos Santos’ American Top Team coach Conan Silveira who revealed that ‘Cigano’ has already started his training camp to rematch Werdum in a bare knuckle MMA match. To make matters even more fascinating, the pair is expected to square off at Jorge Masvidal’s Gamebred FC, in August.

“Cigano has already started his camp.” Silveira said (transcribed by Combate) He’s fighting on August 4 at this Jorge Masvidal event, against Werdum. I don’t know if the news was out or if I’m messing up here, but that’s all right. We’ve already begun training. We officially started the camp yesterday. It’s bare knuckle MMA.”

Age does not seem to be a problem for Cigano

Although it seems concerning that Junior dos Santos is taking on a bare knuckle match after losing all of his last five bouts by way of knockout, Silveira does sound too worried. In the coach’s opinion, ‘JDS’ does not appear to have been too affected by his recent skid, physically or mentally. Having turned 39 this year, Cigano shows a joviality that gives Silveira the impression he could still perform well.

“Junior is awesome.” Silveira said. He’s never sad, he’s always cheerful. Jumping around, training, wanting more. It’s like age doesn’t affect him. Like I said, we are the beginning of the camp, but this is still a rematch between the two of them.”

Both Werdum and Dos Santos could use a win

As stated before, Junior dos Santos rides a concerning five-fight skid, having lost by knockout to Francis Ngannou, Curtis Blaydes, Jairzinho Rozenstruik, Ciryl Gane and Yorgan de Castro (this one a should injury TKO). The 39-year-old’s last win dates back to March 2019, when he scored a TKO victory of his own against Derrick Lewis.

Meanwhile, Fabricio Werdum (24-9-1-1 NC) had been trying to secure a football stadium match against PFL’s recently signed star Francis Ngannou, but seems to have seetled for Cigano at least for the time being. The 45-year-old’s last originally ended in a TKO loss to Renan Ferreira, but got overturned when footage showed that ‘Problem’ had tapped to a triangle choke from ‘Vai Cavalo’ earlier into the fight.

Before that, the former UFC heavyweight champion had his last Octagon match when he took Alexander Gustafsson and finished the Swede in the first round with an armbar in July 2020. The victory snapped a two-fight losing skid for Werdum, with a split decision loss to Alexey Oleynik and a knockout one to Alexander Volkov just before that.

You know you can count on us for quick, consistent quality UFC coverage. Bloody Elbow is an independent, reader supported publication. Please subscribe to our newsletter to keep up with our best work and learn how you can support the site.

Bloody Elbow Archives

Join the new Bloody Elbow

Our Substack is where we feature the work of writers like Zach Arnold, John Nash and Karim Zidan. We’re fighting for the sport, the fighters and the fans. Please help us by subscribing today.

Share this story

About the author
Lucas Rezende
Lucas Rezende

Lucas Rezende is a Brazilian journalist and writer from Belem, Para. He has been covering MMA since 2012 and contributing with Bloody Elbow since March 2015. When not writing, Lucas also teaches English. In his free time, he enjoys reading, slapping the bass guitar and traveling.

More from the author

Bloody Elbow Podcast
Related Stories