For fans of the UFC heavyweight division, UFC 196: Werdum vs. Velasquez was highly anticipated. The upcoming premier MMA event is that it featured a rematch between current UFC heavyweight champion, Fabrício Werdum, against the former champion, Cain Velasquez. Besides being a rematch, what’s important about the upcoming fight is it would solidify Werdum’s championship reign as legitimate. Right now, many in the MMA community think Werdum’s victory over Velasquez at UFC 188: Velasquez vs. Werdum was a fluke. They cite Velasquez’s 20 months of ring rust and the venue’s altitude working in favor for Werdum. In short, Werdum defeated a man who wasn’t at his present best.
Unfortunately, for those who want to see if Fabrício Werdum can legitimize his reign or Cain Velasquez can reclaim his crown have to wait. UFC 196: Werdum vs. Velasquez has officially been cancelled. The reason: both contestants in the championship rematch are out due to injury.
The first signs that UFC 196: Werdum vs. Velasquez was doomed came when Cain Velasquez announced he would have to drop out of the title rematch due to a back injury, as reported by Uproxx. To be fair, many MMA fans were not surprised at the announcement because Velasquez has a history of injuries throughout his MMA career. His first championship reign began back in 2010 after he decimated Brock Lesnar, but he was unable to defend it for over a year because of a torn right rotator cuff. When Velasquez did come back, he lost to Junior dos Santos. Velasquez eventually regained the title but it was an uphill battle for him given the growing number of injuries including a torn meniscus, the big one that kept him away for 20 months before losing to Fabrício Werdum.
Cain Velasquez is out with a back injury. Stipe vs Werdum for the heavyweight championship February 6th. pic.twitter.com/vPRJYJvOjL
— Dana White (@danawhite) January 24, 2016
As a result of Cain Velasquez now being out, Stipe Miocic was called in as a replacement. Coming off a victory in which he dominated former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski at UFC 195: Lawler vs. Condit, Miocic was more than ready to take on the champion even if it was on short notice. Unfortunately, Miocic will not get the chance to become champion as Fabrício Werdum would also drop out of the main event, as reported by MMA Fighting. Vai Cavalo would cite, by happenstance, multiple injuries as the reason.
“I was already injured. I have a foot injury, and haven’t been able to throw kicks in training for two weeks. I would still fight Cain because I was injured the last time, but I also hurt my back last Friday. I went to the doctor, tried to continue training, but couldn’t spar as I should spar.
“I decided not to fight because I’m not 100 percent. If Cain was the opponent, I would go on. It’s not his fault, it’s nobody’s fault. Injuries happen. You can’t avoid them. I have no option. I made this decision because I’m not feeling 100 percent.”
Related Inquisitr Articles
Though Josh Barnett said he would step in for Fabrício Werdum, the fact that both fighters of the main event dropped out within a span of one week was enough for Dana White to pull the plug on the premier event, as reported by Yahoo! News. As a result, the UFC 197: dos Anjos vs. McGregor will now be re-titled to UFC 196: dos Anjos vs. McGregor. Also, the upcoming UFC Fight Night event, the one before UFC 196: Werdum vs. Velasquez originally was, will be retooled.
[Image via Promotions For UFC 196: Werdum vs. Velasquez Edited By Jan Omega]