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Marcin Tybura sees major opportunity in UFC-Sydney headliner vs. Fabricio Werdum

SYDNEY – Marcin Tybura’s training camp already was underway when the UFC sort of pulled the rug out from underneath him.

Citing “medical concerns,” the promotion pulled Mark Hunt from the UFC Fight Night 121 headliner and replaced him with Fabricio Werdum, a drastic change in opponent in terms of fighting style. Tybura didn’t mind, though, feeling like he still had plenty of time to alter his preparation.

“It was a big change, because he’s a completely different fighter from Mark Hunt,” Tybura told MMAjunkie on Thursday. “Coaches just came up with a new plan with new stuff. There was lots of ideas. … They’ve experienced lots of opponents changing short notice. (This) wasn’t really short notice, because it was still six weeks to go. So, we changed the plan and started to prepare for Fabricio.”

Werdum (22-7-1 MMA, 10-4 UFC) and Tybura (16-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC) will meet in the FS1-televised UFC Fight Night 121 headliner on Saturday night (Sunday morning in Sydney) from Qudos Bank Arena.

For Werdum, it’s a rather quick turnaround. He competed just last month at UFC 216, where he submitted Walt Harris with an armbar in just 65 seconds. Werdum accepted the fight with Tybura just three days later.

The fight with Werdum is the biggest of Tybura’s career. For starters, it’s Tybura’s first UFC main event. And the change in booking from Hunt to Werdum means Tybura, who’s No. 8 in the official UFC rankings, jumps up from originally facing the No. 5 fighter to No. 2.

Tybura naturally is the underdog, and he’s quite comfortable with that.

“I feel good as the underdog,” Tybura said. “That’s what it takes to climb to the top. You’re always the underdog. If you want to challenge yourself, you pick the better opponents, and you want to climb the ladder to beat the best fighters in the world.”

Werdum presents a major challenge with his Brazilian jiu-jitsu, which goes back to how Tybura adjusted his preparation some six weeks ago. He’s confident with the fight going anywhere – even down to the mat.

“I think I can survive there,” Tybura said. “That’s really what the thing is. This is my first fight where my opponent is a better grappler. That’s something new for me. I know he’s a good striker, as well. He’s well rounded. For sure it’s the hardest fight in my career. But I think I can handle the fight in all of the aspects. … There’s danger with everything. I just need to be focused.”

To hear more from Tybura, check out our one-on-one interview with him above, as well as his open workouts scrum below.

For more on UFC Fight Night 121, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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