Cain Velasquez is out of UFC 196 with a back injury.
UFC President Dana White broke the news on Twitter Sunday night, and Stipe Miocic will now step in to fight Fabricio Werdum for the UFC Heavyweight Championship on three weeks notice.
Cain Velasquez is out with a back injury. Stipe vs Werdum for the heavyweight championship February 6th. pic.twitter.com/vPRJYJvOjL
— Dana White (@danawhite) January 24, 2016
Miocic gets his shot after a December KO win over Andrei Arlovski, his second straight win in 2015 after a December 2014 split decision loss in a five round fight with Junior dos Santos.
Champ Werdum took the title from Velasquez last June, submitting him in the third round in Mexico City at UFC 188. The win was Werdum’s sixth straight since returning to the organization from Strikeforce, and was his fourth stoppage win in that stretch.
The fight is now the new headliner for UFC 196, which hits Las Vegas on pay-per-view on Feb. 6.
Penick’s Analysis: This is kind of sad and laughable at the same time. Werdum could have potentially fought again in 2015, and instead they delayed his return to set up an unnecessary rematch, which is now not happening because of yet another injury to Velasquez. It’s entirely unfortunate for Velasquez to once again be forced out of a fight due to injury, and it’s probably going to ensure that his next fight is not for the belt. Good for Miocic in getting his shot, I suppose, but he’s also not getting a full camp to prepare for what will be his biggest career opportunity, either.
[Cain Velasquez art by Grant Gould (c) MMATorch.com]
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