Cain Velasquez injures knee and withdraws from UFC 180

October 21, 2014

The UFC's plan to stage a major card in Mexico City had all the makings of a rousing success -- a heavyweight main event, two elite fighters, and a "name" headliner of Mexican heritage.  The local public seemed to agree, as the fight quickly sold out its 20,000-plus tickets in only a matter of hours.

Unfortunately, many of those fans today will be disappointed to learn that the fighter they wanted to see, UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez, has suffered a right knee injury during training and will be forced to withdraw from his championship fight against No.1 contender Fabricio Werdum on November 15.

“I’m so unbelievably disappointed that this happened,” Velasquez said. “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.”

As a result, No.4 heavyweight Mark Hunt (10-8-1), who is coming off a walk-off knockout against the iron-chinned Roy Nelson in Tokyo in September, will face Werdum (18-5-1) in the five-round main event for the interim UFC heavyweight title.

For Werdum, it was never about Cain, it was always about the title.

“I’m ready for whatever comes," said Werdum.  "I have been training in Mexico for nearly two months and accept the challenge that is presented to me. I'll continue to prepare and will arrive ready to fight on behalf of all my Latin American fans."

Mark Hunt, never one to shy away from a big opportunity, wasted no time accepting a dream opportunity to fight for UFC gold.

“I feel blessed to have this opportunity to fight for another world title," said Hunt.  "This is something that doesn’t happen often to people. First K1 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. 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.”

UFC 180 will be held on November 15 at the Arena Mexico City, and will have six other bouts featuring Latin American contenders in addition to the Hunt-Werdum clash.

By Staff of and news services

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