Fabricio Werdum’s Professional Fighters League (PFL) debut was spoiled by an insane and unfortunate sequence of events earlier tonight (Thurs., May 6, 2021) at PFL 3 against fellow heavy hitter, Renen Ferreira.
After starting off the action with flying kicks from both big men, the combatants wound up on the mat with “Vai Cavalo” getting top control. After a few seconds of tussling for position, Ferreira found himself in top position, though Werdum never let go of an armbar attempt which he turned into a triangle choke. Undeterred, Ferreira kept raining down punches on the jiu-jitsu expert which landed flush and eventually prompted referee Keith Peterson to put an end to the fight.
Then the controversy began.
After the fight, replays clearly showed Ferreira tap twice on Werdum’s shoulder while he was in the triangle choke, seconds before scoring the stoppage win. While Werdum didn’t cause a storm inside the cage, he was rather irate during his post-fight interview, saying that the clearly felt the tap, prompting him to loosen up the choke out of respect for his foe.
“I think everybody saw the fight. He tapped and I have to respect my opponent. I have to stop. Maybe I break his arm or put him to sleep. When he tap I automatically stop the fight but he keep going to punch my head. But I stopped because he tapped,” said the former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight champion.
The brief pause from Werdum gave Ferreira the little breathing room he needed to escape and to eventually rain down the ground-and-pound that earned him six points in the Heavyweight tournament. When asked if he would file an appeal, Werdum didn’t give a clear answer, though it’s safe to assume his team will have plenty to think about in the coming days.
“In my mind it was over because I feel when he tapped my shoulder. This is why I stopped the fight. I stopped and he keeps going to punch my head. The referee don’t see nothing. When you tap you have to stop the fight. But, it happened and everyone saw he tapped for sure and he knows he tapped.”
Here is another look at the finish:
What say you? Does Team Werdum have a good case to file an appeal here?
For full PFL 3: “Werdum vs Ferreira” results click here.