While the UFC has plans to hold their first event in Mexico in 2014, president Dana White has refuted a Spanish-language report that heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez will be fighting Fabricio Werdum at UFC 172 in Mexico City.
The initial report from Milenio had stated the event would be held on April 19 or 26. White says Velasquez does not have his next fight set because of a shoulder injury. He’s already undergone one MRI and another is scheduled. His handlers are hoping to know by next week whether the injury is something that can be dealt with through rehabilitation or whether surgery will be necessary.
Velasquez is proud of his Mexican heritage, so having him headline the promotion’s first event there makes perfect sense from a marketing perspective. White has gone on record saying they aren’t going to Mexico without the champion, so things are basically in a holding pattern at the moment.
Velasquez sustained the injury during his recent battle at UFC 166 against Junior dos Santos. Velasquez retained his title with a dominating fifth-round TKO in their trilogy fight. It’s not the first time Velasquez has had to deal with a shoulder issue. He required surgery and was sidelined after his title-winning effort at UFC 121 against Brock Lesnar when he sustained a torn rotator cuff in that fight.
If there’s a delay, it would definitely not be good news for Werdum. The veteran Brazilian submission specialist has been patiently waiting things out for his title shot. He’s 3-0 since his return to the Octagon, having defeated Roy Nelson, Mike Russow and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. The 36-year old hasn’t fought since submitting “Big Nog” in the second round of their fight in June.
Werdum will no doubt be considered the underdog against Velasquez. The champion is at the prime of his career and seems to be getting better each fight. His striking has gotten better and more accurate, but it is his frenetic pace that separates him from the pack. No one has been able to match his cardio and tempo.
Many believe Velasquez is poised to make a very lengthy run in his second stint as UFC heavyweight champion. Werdum is hoping he won’t have to wait much longer before he gets his chance. We should learn more in the next week or so once Velasquez has been checked out by doctors.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports