35-Year-Old UFC Heavyweight 14-2-0
February 7, 2018 Cain Velasquez News
RotoWire Fantasy Analysis
Velasquez (back), who continues to train with teammate Daniel Cormier, is hopeful to be added to the UFC 226 card July 7 in Las Vegas, MMAFighting.com reports.
Velasquez has been on the shelf for 18 months, having last competed at UFC 200 in July of 2016. The American Kickboxing Academy product was once regarded as one of the best heavyweights on the planet, but his troubled injury history has paved the way for Stipe Miocic to take the title of "Baddest Man on the Planet." Miocic will be fighting Daniel Cormier at the July 7 event, and if Cormier is able to pull off a victory, it would put Velasquez in a tough spot. Velasquez and Cormier are teammates at AKA, and have both stated in the past that they would not fight each other. Velasquez stated in a recent interview that he would be open to fighting at light heavyweight, but would prefer his return to be in the division he is most comfortable in.
Cain Velasquez: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
Fantasy AnalysisVelasquez doesn't have any concrete plans for a fight just yet, but seeing that he's back to training is certainly a positive sign. Though Francis Ngannou and Stipe Miocic are currently set to fight in February, the winner of the matchup would be an excellent fight for Cain, unless he decides to book a "tune-up fight" first. Velasquez, a former heavyweight champion, has not stepped into the Octagon since a UFC 200 victory over Travis Brown in July 2016.
Fantasy AnalysisVelsaquez has been out of action since smashing Travis Browne at UFC 200 in July 2016. A lingering back injury inspired Velasquez to get surgery and he has been recovering ever since. With a baby on the way, Cain has been spending plenty of time with family while he heads toward a complete recovery. A date for his return to the Octagon isn't set but Cain states that he misses competing and is looking to possibly see action in 2018. There has been no talk between Velasquez and UFC brass of a rematch with Fabricio Werdum yet.
Fantasy AnalysisVelasquez underwent successful back surgery in January but didn't have a return date in mind. As of Saturday, Dana White stated that he would be ready to return to the Octagon around October or November. Before surgery, the heavyweight was scheduled for a rematch with Fabricio Werdum in December but was pulled from the fight.
Fantasy AnalysisVelasquez underwent successful back surgery in January, but he still hasn't fully recovered and intends to take as much time as needed to let it happen before scheduling a fight. UFC 214 on July 29 seems to be the most realistic date for a potential return at this stage in his recovery, although only time will tell.
Fantasy AnalysisThe health of Velasquez was a major topic of discussion leading up to his scheduled rematch against Fabricio Werdum at UFC 207 -- a fight that was ultimately scrapped on the authority of the Nevada Athletic Commission. Whether or not that fight went down, Velasquez had already scheduled this surgery, a procedure similar to one he's underwent in the past. The hope this time around is that it will buy him enough time in good health to make another UFC heavyweight title run. The former champion must wait for his incision to heal before he can resume training, which is expected to take about one month.
Fantasy AnalysisThe Nevada State Athletic Commission did not approve Velasquez's medicals in advance of his upcoming fight, which takes him out of consideration for UFC 207. In an interview during the week, Velasquez said "it's an achy pain that goes down your leg and it gets to a point where if you're standing for 10 minutes, you have to sit down." It has yet to be determined whether UFC will find a replacement for Velasquez in time for the event.
Fantasy AnalysisThe pain Velasquez is experiencing is due to pressure on his sciatic nerve caused by bone spurs -- an ailment that forced him to withdraw from a title fight back at UFC 196. At times, the pain is apparently so intense that it can become uncomfortable to stand upright for more than 10 minutes. It may sound bad, but the former UFC Heavyweight Champion has a plan to deal with the pain this time around. He is currently using Cannabidiol (CBD) via oral spray in an effort to avoid traditional (and potentially habit-forming) painkillers. This allows him to train at his usual level of intensity, but he will have to quit roughly a week before his Dec. 30 fight, as the substance is banned during competition. From there, he plans to get a cortisone shot prior to the fight. Regardless of the outcome of next Saturday's event, the 34-year-old Velasquez will then undergo surgery Jan. 4.
Fantasy AnalysisVelasquez will look for a better result than the last time he faced Werdum, losing the heavyweight title in a third-round guillotine choke at UFC 188 last June. Werdum ultimately went on to lose the title fight to Stipe Miocic, but the two both defeated Travis Browne before this fight was set up. This bout could decide who gets another shot at a title fight with Miocic and you can bet Velasquez will come in top shape after spending the majority of his time in Mexico prior to his loss to Werdum.
Fantasy AnalysisAfter taking one fight off, Cain was back to being his usual dominant self. He peppered Browne with repeated combinations including an impressive spinning wheel kick to Browne's face that we have never seen him employ before. The fight lasted less than five minutes, but there was absolutely no evidence of the cardio issues that Cain suffered in his loss to Fabricio Werdum last June. Velasquez is still pretty clearly the most talented heavyweight on the planet. It seems like a forgone conclusion that he will get the winner of September's title fight between champion Stipe Miocic and challenger Alistair Overeem. Nothing else makes sense.
Fantasy AnalysisThis sport is all about what you have done for me lately and lately (his last fight), Velasquez was embarrassed by Fabricio Werdum and lost his UFC Heavyweight Championship. Long known as the “Cardio King”, Cain was gassed and exhausted by the time Werdum finally stopped him. A large portion of that poor performance was seemingly Cain not being prepared to fight in the high altitude of Mexico City. There is every reason to expect a strong bounce back performance against Browne. The UFC did the right thing in not giving Velasquez an immediate rematch for the title, but he will likely be deserving of another opportunity if he can finish Browne in impressive fashion.
Fantasy AnalysisVelasquez had a shot at current champion Fabricio Verdum at what was originally scheduled to be UFC 196, but ultimately had to pull out and undergo back surgery. He'll now find himself in a title eliminator, where the winner would be in line to face either Verdum or Travis Browne, depending on who emerges on top at UFC 198. Given the injury history of Velasquez, however, looking that far ahead may not be wise.
Fantasy AnalysisVelasquez last made headlines when he withdrew from a heavyweight title rematch against Fabricio Werdum in February, but his recovery now appears to be on the right track. The timeline for a return falls right in line with the projected UFC 200 date, so if everything goes as planned, Velasquez could find himself fighting for a belt on one of the biggest cards in the history of the promotion.
Fantasy AnalysisVelasquez had originally been scheduled for a rematch against Fabricio Werdum, who submitted the former champion at UFC 188 in Mexico City. Many blamed the altitude for Velasquez's defeat in that bout, as he was unable to display the superior cardio that had been regarded as one of his best traits in the octagon. Rather than get a rematch in Las Vegas, Velasquez will now be out indefinitely while looking to regain his health. It's currently unclear what the next step will be for the former heavyweight champion, but Stipe Miocic will replace him in the octagon Feb. 6.
Fantasy AnalysisThe UFC originally wanted to book the heavyweight championship in March, but after encountering some unexpected difficulties, the Werdum/Velasquez rematch could now be moved to a bigger stage. Watch for an update/official confirmation in the coming months.
Fantasy AnalysisThe UFC had plenty of other options in a suddenly relevant heavyweight division, but they decided that Velasquez was worthy of an immediate rematch. Cain should consider himself lucky. He looked so poor in the first fight and he's dealt with so many injuries that he's fortunate to get another title shot right away. Despite the terrible performance in their first meeting, it's entirely possible that Velasquez will be the betting favorite in the rematch. No date has been set as of yet.
Fantasy AnalysisDespite the beating he took at the hands of Fabricio Werdum last month, Velasquez came through the fight relatively healthy and he's hoping to return to the octagon in a few months. There's no word on a potential opponent at this point, but it doesn't appear as if Velasquez is going to get an immediate rematch against Werdum.
Fantasy AnalysisIt could have been the altitude that caused it or it could have been 20 months of inactivity, either way, it was by far the worst performance of Velasquez's career. He got battered on the feet, was a bloody mess and most shockingly of all, was exhausted by the time it was over. It's possible the altitude (Mexico City is over 7,000 feet above sea level) played a factor, but Velasquez was whipped in the two areas where he figured to dominate: striking and cardio. He was too tired to continue to stand and exchange with Werdum so he went for the takedown in Round 3, he got it, but he was too exhausted to make anything of it and he quickly ended up in the guillotine. He looked like a guy who was broken. Cain's resume is impressive enough that this could be chalked up to a rusty return in an environment that he's never fought in before, but it's a major concern that he struggled in the areas that he had excelled in in the past. He's not going to get an immediate rematch.
Fantasy AnalysisVelasquez hasn't seen the octagon since October of 2013 when he defeated Junior dos Santos to retain his heavyweight title. His opponent, on the other hand, has collected five straight victories, including a win over Mark Hunt last November for the interim title. Velasquez will bring devastating knockout ability to this bout, along with some of the best cardio in the promotion (especially for a heavyweight). Verdum has excellent takedown defense and is potentially better on the mat, but remains a heavy underdog in the fight. Velasquez is five years younger, has four less defeats on his resume, and according to the oddsmakers, the belt is his to lose.