UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez returns to action next weekend (Saturday June 13th, 2015) as he headlines UFC 188 against the dangerous grappler-turned striker Fabricio Werdum. The Mexican heavyweight boss has been inactive since defeating Junior Dos Santos in their rubber match at UFC 166, that was way back in October 2013, and ‘Vai Cavalo’ has been a five fight streak in the lead up to his unification bout next Saturday.
Werdum has scored wins over Travis Browne, Roy Nelson, Mike Russow, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and he also defeated Mark Hunt at UFC 180 for the interim strap. Velasquez’s absence at UFC 180 meant ‘The Super Samoan’ was called in on short notice and the ‘junior’ title was made the prize, and ‘CV’ was unable to compete on the first Mexican UFC card. Glad that he is getting the chance to go and fight in his home nation at UFC 188, Velasquez tells MMAFighting.com that he is primed for the title showdown:
“It sucks that I couldn’t make the first one,” he said. “I always, when asked about the place I wanted to fight, it was always Mexico City. I’m happy I’m getting the opportunity to fight there again.”
“I find him dangerous, yeah, I feel like he’s a complete fighter,” said Velasquez. “He does everything. He punches, he kicks, he’s really good on the ground, and he’s always getting better. Every time we see him fight, we see a new and improved Werdum, a guy who has more skills. That’s what makes him dangerous. In the last fight with Mark Hunt, he was losing on the ground and losing on his feet. But then he threw that knee and knocked Hunt out, so even if he’s losing, he’s still dangerous.”
Werdum’s striking has come on leaps and bounds, but AKA (American Kickboxing Academy) head coach Javier Mendez feels Cain Velasquez is simply on another level:
“I’m very confident in this one,” said Mendez. “He’s gonna kill him. Werdum has no chance. Cain’s gonna do what he wants to do with him. Junior dos Santos is still the biggest threat to Cain Velasquez. In all respect to the other guys, Cain and Junior are at another level. I’m stating facts. Come June 13, Werdum can prove us wrong. But I don’t think he will.”
“Werdum’s not going to be able to handle the intensity,” Mendez said. “He’s not going to be able to handle the cardio. His best chance is a knockout or a submission. He can’t win a decision. Nobody can beat Cain in a decision. He’s never lost a round except for the one fight (where Dos Santos knocked him out in the first round to take the title in 2011).”
“Keep this in mind, Mark Hunt lost 23 kilos (51 pounds) in three weeks before the fight. What happened in the first round? What happened in the second round before Mark Hunt hit the wall? Thank God Mark Hunt had the balls to lose that weight so quickly and fight a guy who had prepared in the altitude. Hunt wasn’t prepared to lose that weight in that time and be in shape for that altitude.”
Mark Hunt’s guts are not in question here, what is an unknown is how much Werdum can handle from the champion. Cardio is not a problem for ‘CV’, he’ll simply go all day, so the obvious answer for Werdum is to go for the finish. The problem with trying to go for that finish is that he could well leave a gap, a small opening, and that’s all guys like Velasquez need to finish a fight.
Either that, or the champion will create another Frankenstein’s monster. Thoughts?