Velasquez-Werdum Set for UFC 188

UFC Belt

UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez defends his belt against interim title holder Fabricio Werdum on June 13 in Mexico City.

The promotion scrapped a Mexico City match between the pair last November when the oft-sidelined champ got bit by the injury bug again. At that event, where Mexicans hoped to cheer on the Mexican-American champion with “Brown Pride” emblazoned on his chest, Werdum knocked out Mark Hunt for the interim title. The ill-timed injury for the main draw for the Mexican crowd, and the marquee name for a long-planned return to movie theaters for pay-per view, punctuated a year of pullouts for the promotion.

But 2015, like Frank Mir’s upset knockout of Antonio Silva last night, quickly looks like a comeback year for the UFC.

The highly-anticipated title bout in Mexico City marks an unprecedented seven-week stretch when the UFC features championship fights in the heavyweight, light heavyweight, middleweight, welterweight, and featherweight divisions. UFC 187-UFC 189 figures to reinvigorate fan enthusiasm to fork over cash to watch the promotion’s numbered cards that failed to elicit 250,000 buys in more than half of its pay-per-view events in 2014.

The heavy-handed, high-octane wrestler Velasquez, perhaps as dominant a heavyweight champion as has been seen in the UFC, owns wins over Brock Lesnar, Junior Dos Santos, and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. Werdum, a jujitsu ace reinvented as a precision striker, submitted Fedor Emelianenko and Nogueira before using his new-found boxing to defeat Travis Browne and Mark Hunt last year.