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Fabricio Werdum-Cain Velasquez II Set for UFC 196

Fabricio Werdum squares off with Cain Velasquez at UFC 188
Photo Courtesy of AP

Former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez finally has his date for a rematch with the man who dethroned him, as he takes on newly crowned heavyweight king Fabricio Werdum at UFC 196 on Super Bowl weekend in Las Vegas, UFC President Dana White announced Wednesday (h/t UFC Total).

The two first met at UFC 188, as Velasquez and Werdum set off to unify the heavyweight titles in Mexico City this June.

Werdum had previously earned the interim title in November 2014, defeating Mark Hunt via second-round KO in that very arena. “Vai Cavalo” was originally scheduled to face Velasquez in that match, but the then-champion was forced to pull out of the contest due to injury.

Velasquez returned to defend his heavyweight title for the first time in nearly two years, only to fall short and lose via second-round submission. The match showed several uncharacteristic attributes to the former champion, particularly his inability to maintain a high pace. Velasquez, who’d previously shown himself to be a fighter with a seemingly endless gas tank, appeared to grow tired after just five minutes of action against¬†Werdum. It had been four years since Velasquez’s last loss, defeating both Junior dos Santos and Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva twice since then.

The location of the bout could potentially favor the former champion, as the altitude in Mexico City proved to be an issue for his cardio in June. He spent just two weeks preparing for the altitude changes in the first match, whereas Werdum spent more than a month preparing for the extreme elevation.

The bout was previously rumored to take place in March, potentially as the headliner for UFC 197 in Rio de Janeiro. No other fights have been announced for the Feb. 6 card.


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