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Posted on February 26, 2015 by Jack Thurman
UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez will defend his title against Fabricio Werdum at UFC 188 in Mexico City on June 13, 2015. Velasquez is now 13-1 by virtue of his most recent victory over Junior Dos Santos in October 2013. Velasquez has fought a highly dubious class of opponent catching a lot of former greats like Brock Lesnar and Antonio Rodrigo Noguiera on the downside of their career. He’s also padded his resume with a couple of overhyped ‘contenders’ in Antonio Silva and Dos Santos.
The never ending UFC heavyweight time warp will continue in Mexico for what is obviously supposed to be a coronation fight for Velasquez. The UFC has tried to sell the sport to the Spanish speaking audience with Velasquez since the start of his career with mixed results. The fight with Werdum is technically a ‘unification’ match as he became ‘interim champion’ while Velasquez was sidelined for over a year due to a knee injury.
Werdum became UFC Interim Champion by beating overmatched Travis Browne and limited Mark Hunt. He’s most famous for handing Fedor Emelianenko his first loss at a 2010 Strikeforce show. Like most of the UFC heavyweights, Werdum is somewhat ‘long in the tooth’ at 37 years old but has very high level Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu skills. He’s an odd choice for a ‘coronation’ fight in front of a Mexican audience but it’s not like the UFC has had much success in the past with this kind of matchup. They did book Brock Lesnar to face another BJJ fighter, Frank Mir, in his UFC debut and that didn’t exactly turn out as planned either. Velasquez is a -500 favorite over Werdum which is a ridiculous price. If Werdum can get the fight to the ground he’s got a very legitimate chance against Velasquez and that alone would justify a play on him at +400.
And speaking of Frank Mir, he became relevant again by upsetting Antonio Silva by TKO in the first round of their fight. Mir was supposed to be a ‘build up’ fight for Silva but it didn’t quite work out like the UFC drew it up. Mir had lost four straight fights while Silva was 0-2-1 in his last three fights.