When the dust settled on UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez’ title defense over archrival Junior dos Santos at October’s UFC 166, talk immediately shifted to just whom Velasquez would face next.
Not surprisingly, Fabricio “Vai Cavalo” Werdum was at the top of the list of worthy contenders. Today, a report has surfaced that the bout is close to being booked, and it could take place at a monumental event. According to Mexican site La Afficion, Velasquez will fight Werdum in the main event of UFC 172 in Mexico City, Mexico, signifying the UFC’s first foray south of the border.
It’s an obvious choice for the promotion, as Velasquez’ Mexican heritage has gained him a ton of fans. He’s a bilingual champion and frequently makes his own trips to Mexico.
The event is slated tentatively for the weekend of either April 19th or 26th. The UFC is hard at work to book other fighters with Mexican roots on the card, with names like Gilbert Melendez, Diego Sanchez, Kelvin Gastelum, and Mexican-born Erik Perez all possibilities.
The UFC’s first event on Mexican soil has been a long time coming. Thankfully for their many fight fans, that day is almost here. It looks like the promotion is not holding back to put on a great show at UFC 172.
Werdum hasn’t fought since his armbar victory over “Big Nog” at UFC on Fuel TV 10 this June. He’ll face a noted step up in competition when he locks horns with the grinding Velasquez. Werdum’s Brazilian Jiu-jitsu game is world class, and his striking has definitely improved by leaps and bounds in recent years. But will all that be enough to contend with a surging heavyweight champion at the top of his game?
Outer Photo: Andrew Richardson for USA TODAY Sports