Fabricio Werdum’s first heavyweight title defense will comes against the man he just defeated to take the belt, Cain Velasquez.
The rematch was confirmed on last night’s ‘UFC Tonight’ show on FOX Sports 1, though at this stage no date or location for the fight has been established.
Werdum came into their first encounter in Mexico back in June at UFC 188 as the underdog, but ended up producing a surprisingly comfortable upset victory – oustriking Velasquez in the early rounds and then submitting him with a third round guillotine choke.
The manner of Velasquez’s defeat was entirely unexpected, especially since he’s well known for possessing excellent cardio for a heavyweight, yet he tired early in the bout and looked exhausted by the end.
It should be noted however that, unlike his opponent, Velasquez didn’t appear to have spent enough prior to the fight acclimatizing to the high altitude he’d experience in Mexico City and was also coming off a 20 month layoff due to knee surgeries.
So, Velasquez’s reputation in the weight class and the sense that he didn’t fight anywhere close to his full potential appears to have helped make the case for him to be given an immediate rematch.
It’s perhaps a little unfair on Werdum though as he’s shown genuine, sustained improvement in his skill set in recent years even though he’s now in his late 30’s and as a result has now gone six fight without defeat, taking on some of the best fighters the division has to offer along the way.
So, it’s possible that Werdum simply has Velasquez’s number, but there’s only one way to be sure and that’s for them to get back into the Octagon again and find out who emerges with their hand raised.