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Cain Velasquez Injured Yet Again, Fabricio Werdum Now Faces Stipe Miocic at UFC 196 [UPDATE]

(Hello ER my old friend, I’ve come to lie with you again…)

You might not know this about Cain Velasquez, but the former heavyweight champion is what some would call “prone to injury.” In fact, Velasquez has spent far more time on the shelf during his tenure with the UFC than he has been fighting, competing just 6 times (and against a grand total of 3 different opponents) dating back to the night he first lost his belt to Junior Dos Santos in 2010.

So when it was first announced that Velasquez would inexplicably be receiving an immediate rematch against Fabricio Werdum following his one-sided defeat at UFC 188, the booking was met with a certain amount of trepidation. Rightfully so, it would seem, as today brings the news that Velasquez has has been forced to withdraw from UFC 196 just two weeks out with a back injury.

Details after the jump. 

The saddening but all too familiar news was broke on Sunday evening via Dana White’s Instagram. Stepping in as a short notice replacement against Werdum will be Stipe Miocic, who is currently riding back-to-back wins over Mark Hunt and Andrei Arlovski and has been angling for a title fight for some time now, only to be consistently rebuked by the UFC for lacking the “popularity” necessary for a title contender. Of course, name value doesn’t mean sh*t when you can’t actually make it to fight night, so let’s hope that Stipe can make his name off of this fight whether in victory or defeat.

Velasquez, who has already undergone surgeries for torn meniscus in his knee and a torn rotator cuff (twice), took to Facebook to apologize to Werdum, writing:

I’m sure you’ve heard the news that I won’t be able to fight at UFC 196. I can’t begin to tell you how disappointed I am and how I feel I’m letting you all down. I’ve heard and read all of your messages of support since my last fight and during this camp and for that I thank you.

Training camp has been difficult for the last few weeks, but sometimes no matter how much the heart and mind want to fight through an injury, healing has its own timeline. We thought we’d get through it, but we had to face the truth that it wasn’t going to be OK in time to fight. All of us fighters have all fought injured at one time or another, but I can’t ignore this injury, as my doctor has indicated that not addressing the problems with my sciatic nerve could have longer-term consequences.

My fans deserve to see me compete as close to 100% as possible. I’m committed to giving them that. I’m not going to let my fans down, and I want to make sure I do the right things to ensure a long career.

Fabricio, I hope that you accept my sincere apology. I understand how you may think this is an excuse. From one professional to another, I can tell you I was committed and looking forward to competing with you again. I greatly respect you as a fighter and man, and we will meet soon.

I will get this taken care of as soon as possible. I will heal and will come back and show you the Cain Velasquez you all deserve to see.


It’s a real shame that the majority of Cain’s athletic prime has been spent healing on the sidelines, but maybe this latest injury might be his body’s way of telling him when enough is enough. He hasn’t seemed to heed the message yet, but then again, when looking at the litany of setbacks that Dominick Cruz suffered on his way to reclaiming the bantamweight title, it’s hard to fault him for being stubborn.

There has been no timetable set for Velasquez’s return.


Oh great, now Werdum has gone down with an injury as well. (via BloodyElbow)

“I was already injured,” Werdum told Brazilian journalists on Monday. “I have a foot injury, and haven’t been able to throw kicks in training for two weeks. I would still fight Cain because I was injured the last time, but I also hurt my back last Friday. I went to the doctor, tried to continue training, but couldn’t spar as I should spar.”

“I decided not to fight because I’m not 100 percent,” he continued. “If Cain was the opponent, I would go on. It’s not his fault, it’s nobody’s fault. Injuries happen. You can’t avoid them. I have no option. I made this decision because I’m not feeling 100 percent.”

So basically, Werdum pulled out of the fight because Stipe Miocic…isn’t popular enough. That’s gotta sting.

FWIW, Werdum also mentioned that he’d be ready to fight “two to three months” and would gladly take on either Velasquez or Miocic, but for now, UFC 196 is left without a main event.

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