The highly-anticipated UFC heavyweight title rematch between Fabricio Werdum and Cain Velasquez will no longer take place on February 6th, as the former champion has withdrawn from the bout due to a back injury.
UFC president Dana White broke the news of the Californian’s withdrawal via Twitter on Sunday, and simultaneously announced that Stipe Miocic would be stepping in to replace the American Kickboxing Academy representative in the UFC 196 main event.
Werdum and Velasquez first met last June at UFC 188 in Mexico City where the Brazilian capped a dominant performance by submitting the Mexican-American in the 3rd round to swipe the belt.
Many claimed that Velasquez did not look himself in that fight, something which was widely-attributed to his failure to adequately acclimatize to the altitude in the Mexican capital, and this belief only added intrigue to the Las Vegas based sequel.
Unfortunately, fans will have to wait to find out whether a better prepared, “sea level” Cain could fair any better against Werdum.
Velasquez took to his own Facebook account to explain the situation and apologize to “Vai Cavalo”.
This is the second time that Werdum has been left to fight a late-replacement following an injury-necessitated withdrawal from Velasquez. The Kings MMA fighter beat Mark Hunt for the interim-heavyweight title at UFC 180 after a knee-injury forced Cain off the card.
The new challenger, Miocic, last saw action on January 2nd at UFC 195 when he obliterated Andre Arlovski in just 54 seconds. Following the win, Miocic repeatedly screamed for his shot at the title.
Dana White and the rest of the UFC brass obviously took note.
Miocic is 5-1 in his last 6 fights, with the only loss coming via decision to former champion Junior dos Santos over 5 rounds in December of 2014.