The UFC held a special press conference in New Mexico yesterday where they confirmed that the promotion will be hosting their first ever event there at UFC 180 on November 15th with a heavyweight title fight between Cain Velasquez and Fabrico Werdum headlining the show.
Before that, Velasquez and Werdum will serve as the coaches on the first edition of ‘The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America’ which will be broadcast on Televisa in Mexico (As will the UFC 180 event).
Werdum paved the way for this fight to happen by dominating Travis Browne in a No.1 contender match-up in the main event of UFC On FOX 11 earlier this month. That marked his fourth straight victory since rejoining the UFC, having also defeated Roy Nelson, Mike Russow and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira along the way.
Velasquez last fought in October of last year, defeating Junior dos Santos for a second time by TKO to solidify his position as the undisputed heavyweight champion.
Velasquez has been injury prone over the years which has limited his Octagon time, and that proved to be the case again after that fight, with a shoulder injury requiring surgery which has kept him out of action since.
He’s still rehabbing his shoulder at the moment which is why there’s a long wait before their title fight, and so it makes sense for them to coach TUF in the mean time, and it’s a perfect opportunity for the UFC to have two fighters who resonate with the Latin market be involved.
Mexico is a market that the UFC have wanted to break into since Zuffa took over the promotion, but it’s taken far longer than they ever expected to finally make the inroads they needed in this market to make it become a reality.
So, yesterday was a big day for the promotion and they will be hoping that this is the first step towards building another major market for MMA.