The rematch between Fabricio Werdum and Cain Velasquez may be coming earlier than planned.
Though the UFC had been looking at running a stadium in Brazil in March, it was reported on Wednesday’s UFC Tonight program on Fox Sports 1 that they’re having trouble securing a date and location, and may shift that title bout to Las Vegas for UFC 196 on Super Bowl weekend.
Werdum and Velasquez finally met back in June following significant injury delays, and Werdum took out Velasquez by submission in the third round to capture the UFC Heavyweight Championship. As that bout happened in Mexico City, Werdum was hoping to bring a title defense to his home country, but it seems that might not be happening. For Velasquez, he’s likely open to the bout anywhere, given it was a surprise they were giving him an immediate rematch to begin with.
Additionally, shifting the fight makes sense at the moment, as the UFC may be in need of a headliner for the Feb. 6 event. There had been speculation that the UFC would target Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier II for that event, but they’ve now told Cormier they’ll give him until after the holidays before setting up the next fight, and Jones’ manager Malki Kawa tweeted out a quick “no” to that fight happening on Super Bowl weekend.
Penick’s Analysis: It makes sense to move this fight if Jones-Cormier isn’t going to happen by February. They need to cut out one pay-per-view event next spring anyway to make UFC 200 fall in July, so they may wind up skipping March entirely. Unless New York falls through for April, at which time Jones-Cormier could happen a bit earlier. There are still a lot of moving parts to the schedule right now, and we’ll know more within the next month or so for their early 2016 plans.
[Cain Velasquez art by Grant Gould (c) MMATorch.com]