Cain Velasquez is set to fight for the first time in 20 months. | Photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight ace Cain Velasquez and interim titleholder Fabricio Werdum will look to unify their belts in Mexico City for the main event of UFC 188.
UFC officials Monday announced that the title bout will take place at Mexico City Arena, the site where Velasquez and Werdum were originally scheduled to meet last November at UFC 180.
That matchup -- the culmination of the pair’s coaching stints on “The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America” -- was scratched when Velasquez suffered a knee injury only weeks out from the event. Instead, Werdum scored a second-round knockout of replacement Mark Hunt to claim the interim strap.
Velasquez, 32, has been out of action since October 2013 due to a combination of knee, hand and shoulder injuries. When healthy, American Kickboxing Academy’s top big man has won four in a row, claiming two victories apiece over Junior dos Santos and Antonio Silva. In his 12 UFC appearances since 2008, only two have gone to the judges’ scorecards, with Velasquez punching out 10 opponents and seven inside the first round.
Werdum, 37, will enter the long-awaited bout on a five-fight winning streak, including his violent stoppage of Hunt last fall. “Vai Cavalo” is perhaps best known as the first man to submit heavyweight great Fedor Emelianenko; in the past three years, the Brazilian has earned victories against the likes of Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Roy Nelson and Travis Browne.