Photo courtesy of UFC
The UFC’s first trip to Mexico just took a heavy hit.
In Velasquez’s place will be Mark Hunt, who will now face Werdum at the Nov. 15 main event in Mexico City for the interim heavyweight title.
“I’m so unbelievably disappointed that this happened,” Velasquez said in a statement released by the UFC. “To say I was looking forward to fighting in Mexico for the first time is an understatement. I wanted to fight on that card so bad. Looks like it wasn’t meant to be and it’s not going to happen. I’m going to get my [right] knee fixed and get back to training as soon as I can. I’m sorry to the fans in Mexico who were expecting this fight, and I hope to be able to come down and still be a part of this historic event.”
Details on how Velasquez injured his knee were not revealed.
Hunt was quick to jump at the opportunity to face Werdum as Velasquez heads to the sideline. According to the New Zealander, he’s hopping on a plane to Mexico tomorrow so he can prepare for the five-round main event.
“I feel blessed to have this opportunity to fight for another world title,” Hunt said in a statement. “This is something that doesn’t happen often to people. First K1 and now UFC – how can I say no, even though it’s on short notice? I’m dropping everything and flying to Mexico tomorrow so I can best prepare myself for this fight. I have to get into shape and acclimatize to that environment, which is really important.”
Velasquez is no stranger to injury, having hurt his shoulder in a trilogy fight with Junior dos Santos in October 2013. The heavyweight champ has been inactive since, and the Werdum bout was meant to be his long-awaited return from injury.
Werdum, through a statement to the UFC, said he’ll be prepared for whatever stands in front of him at the November pay-per-view.
“I’m ready for whatever comes,” he said. “I have been training in Mexico for nearly two months and accept the challenge that is presented to me. I’ll continue to prepare and will arrive ready to fight on behalf of all my Latin American fans.”
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