UFC 188: Velasquez vs Werdum
Return of the Champ
With Cain being out for over two years with injuries and even missing UFC's first event in Mexico, he returns in their second trip to Mexico. During this time, the man he was originally scheduled to fight in Mexico, Fabricio Werdum has been taking out Heavyweight Contenders and earned himself the interim HW title after beating Mark Hunt. Many wonder if Cain is still the dominant force he was when he was healthy or has he lost a step due to injuries.
Fabricio Werdum rise back up to the HW division is nothing short of amazing. Previously failing to obtain a title shot after losing to then newcomer Junior Dos Santos by KO and then exiting the company in his last stint. After a run in Strikeforce which includes ending Fedor Emelianenko's win streak, Werdum found himself back in the UFC after Strikeforce was obtained by them. Since his return to the octagon, Werdum has been unbeaten with a 4 fight win streak with wins over Roy Nelson, Minotauro Nogueira, Travis Browne and Mark Hunt. The win over Mark Hunt crowned Werdum the interim HW Champ after his initial fight with Cain Velasquez was cancelled due to Cain's injury. June 13th brings together a Heavyweight Title Unification fight as Cain looks to retain and come back from injury with a win and Werdum looks to become the new king of the UFC's Heavyweight division.
Who wins in the co-main event of UFC 188?
The Co-Main Event: Gilbert Melendez vs Eddie Alvarez
Gilbert Melendez vs Eddie Alvarez has the potential to steal the show in this featured Lightweight Bout. Melendez a former title challenger against Anthony Pettis and Benson Henderson is looking to climb up the ranks once again to challenge Rafael Dos Anjos. Eddie Alvarez former Bellator who's biggests fights were the series against Michael Chandler, did not get the debut he wanted in the UFC when he lost a unanimous decision to Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone.
On paper this is a very close and will be a highly contested fight between Melendez and Alvarez. Both rely heavily on their movement and boxing. While Gilbert has competed longer in the top organization, Alvarez is still game. In the first round of Donald Cerrone fight, Alvarez was able to land heavy and a lot of shots with his hands to Cowboy despite struggling with the kick game and reach of Cerrone. Gilbert Melendez will be looking at a similar style and potentially adding in kicks to his game to put off Alvarez. Leg kicks and knees were Donald's main tool in taking over the Eddie Alvarez fight, taking away his movement from the constant damage delivered to Alvarez's lead leg. Gilbert also can get caught brawling and leaving behind his technical striking in favor of a war, as seen in his fight with Diego Sanchez. Late in the 3rd round of a fight Gilbert Melendez was comfortably winning, he engaged in a slug fest with Sanchez which saw him get dropped and almost finished.
This fight is extremely with both guys looking to climb the rankings of the Lightweight division, with Khabib Nurmagomedov out again with injury and Cerrone the next contender, another spot has opened in the Lightweight contenders and a big win here at UFC 188 can put either man in a spot for a title eliminator fight or even a contender fight.
The main-event for UFC 188 brings a lot of intrigue. After missing the UFC's first trip to Mexico, Cain Velasquez finally comes back to fight after being out for two years and back for the UFC's return trip to Mexico. This fight between Fabricio Werdum and Cain Velasquez was originally scheduled for the first trip at UFC 180 but Velasquez suffered another injury. Werdum went on to beat replacement Mark Hunt to be crowned the interim champion. This time around, more is at stake for both fighters. Velasquez comes to defend his throne atop the HW mountain and also prove he has not lost a step after suffering from injuries for two years. Werdum looks to add to his legacy and become one of the all time Heavyweight greats by capturing the undisputed HW championship and adding another feather to his cap with a win over one of the best UFC HW's in the modern era.
This fight has a lot of interesting variables when it comes to who wins. Though Cain is a betting favorite, Werdum is no stranger to overcoming the odds, as he was the one to take down Fedor's legendary win-streak.
The styles to this match-up are interesting as Cain mainly uses his immense cardio to tire out Heavyweights and also mix his superb clinch and wrestling with his strikes to beat up and exhaust his opponent up against the cage to devastating finishes. Velasquez employed this strategy to avenge his only loss against Junior Dos Santos in their second fight and the third fight it was just as one-sided with JDS being finished this time around in the 5th round. Cain is touted as the best modern HW in the UFC with wins over Kongo, JDS x2, Bigfoot Silva x2 and Brock Lesnar. At the time of the JDS fights, Cain and JDS were touted as the being way above the rest of the HW division and Velasquez strongly avenged his loss and again.
Werdum brings a whole new kind of fighter against Cain. With Fabricio always improving his stand-up, which was displayed in his unanimous decision win over Travis Browne and finish over heavy-handed Mark Hunt, he has improved his all-around game to go with his most lethal tool...his jiu-jitsu. Werdum has the most dangerous guard and world-class BJJ which not many in the world can match, especially in Mixed Martial Arts. Werdum will be the first fighter not afraid to be on his back against Cain Velasquez who has brutalized people from there. With this and not worrying as much of the takedown threat, Werdum will be able to let his improved stand-up skills go and then use the threat of submissions off of his back or in scrambles to if he gets put on his back.
Cain best assest is his dirty boxing, cardio and bullying the opponent up against the cage. He has won most of his fights, most effectively the JDS fights. Cain will be looking to employ a similar strategy against Werdum. It will negate the range of Werdum's strikes and also no worry of Werdum's BJJ unless Werdum jumps and attempts to pull guard. Cain has been the Heavyweight champion for a reason and dominantly beaten most who has stood in his way. If Cain can employ his strategy and avoid the guard of Werdum, he can retain the HW championship for a record 3rd straight title defense.
What Werdum also has an advantage is that he has been active while Velasquez has been out for two years with significant injuries. Whether Cain returns 100% like his pre-injury form is to be seen, regardless, Werdum is always a live-underdog and is proven in his fight with Fedor Emelianenko. If anyone can dethrone Velasquez, Fabricio Werdum is the biggest test and threat in Cain's career. One who does not fear the takedown and while not on the level of Cain, still has pretty good cardio to keep pace, especially if he can knock Cain off of his game-plan.
Who do you think wins the UFC 188 Main-Event? Check the poll down below and any other comments!