The UFC’s first trip to Mexico has been dealt a massive blow, as the promotion has confirmed that heavyweight champ Cain Velasquez will no longer battle Fabricio Werdum due to a knee injury. Instead, Mark Hunt has been booked to fight Werdum for the promotion’s interim title, which is pretty awesome news if you’re a fan of the New Zealand slugger.
The heavyweight scrap will headline the November 15th, UFC 180 card, which will go down in Mexico City. Velasquez, who has not fought since he took out Junior dos Santos last October, was quoted saying in the official announcement:
“I’m so unbelievably disappointed that this happened,” said Velasquez, who has been sidelined for much of 2014 due to a shoulder injury. “To say I was looking forward to fighting in Mexico for the first time is an understatement. I wanted to fight on that card so bad. Looks like it wasn’t meant to be and it’s not going to happen. I’m going to get my [right] knee fixed and get back to training as soon as I can. I’m sorry to the fans in Mexico who were expecting this fight, and I hope to be able to come down and still be a part of this historic event.”
Hunt has been handed the golden opportunity, after knocking out Roy Nelson in walk off fashion last month. The decorated striker has gone 3-1-1 in his last 5 scraps.
“I feel blessed to have this opportunity to fight for another world title. This is something that doesn’t happen often to people. First K-1 and now UFC – how can I say no, even though it’s on short notice? I’m dropping everything and flying to Mexico tomorrow so I can best prepare myself for this fight,” said Hunt, who is ranked #4 in the UFC’s heavyweight division. “I have to get into shape and acclimatize to that environment, which is really important.
“There’s nothing to lose when you’re competing against the best at the top level,” Hunt furthered.
While Velasquez fans will no doubt be devastated to hear the news, the UFC has likely ensured PPV buys will continue to move, by tapping Hunt as a replacement.
Werdum is coming off impressive wins over the likes of Roy Nelson, Travis Browne, and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, and certainly will be the favorite to spoil Hunt’s Cinderella story.