Mark Hunt just stepped into a big opportunity. | Photo: Taro Irei/Sherdog.com
Cain Velasquez’s time on the shelf has been extended.
The UFC heavyweight champion has been forced to withdraw from his UFC 180 headlining bout against Fabricio Werdum due to injury. As a result, Werdum will now lock horns with Mark Hunt for the interim title on Nov. 15 in Mexico City. The promotion announced the change on Tuesday. The withdrawal is especially damaging considering that Velasquez, who is of Mexican American descent, was one of the key figures expected to lead the UFC’s push into Mexico.
The 40-year-old Hunt last appeared at UFC Fight Night in Japan, where he garnered a second-round knockout of Roy Nelson. “The Super Samoan” is 5-2-1 in the Octagon overall, with other notable victories against Ben Rothwell, Cheick Kongo and Stefan Struve.
Werdum, meanwhile, enters the bout on a four-fight winning streak. The Brazilian known as “Vai Cavalo” most recently appeared at UFC on Fox 11, where he displayed improved striking skills en route to a five-round verdict against Travis Browne. Werdum owns wins over the likes of Fedor Emelianenko, Alistair Overeem, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Gabriel Gonzaga, Antonio Silva and Nelson, to name a few.
Velasquez has not competed since October 2013, when he stopped Junior dos Santos via TKO in the fifth round at UFC 166.