When the UFC held their first event in Mexico in November with UFC 180 in Mexico City, they set the record for the largest grossing gate in the history of Arena Ciudad de México. 21,000 spectators were in attendance that night to witness Fabricio Werdum defeat Mark Hunt to win the UFC interim heavyweight title.
On Saturday, the fight promotion returned to Mexico City and broke their previous record for gate figures and packed in 36 more people in the venue than they did in November. 21,036 spectators filled the arena to capacity for UFC 188: Velasquez vs. Werdum.
“We broke our record from the last time we were here, highest grossing gate in the arena’s history,” said White during the post-fight press conference.
Werdum unified the heavyweight title by finishing former champion Cain Velasquez in the third round of the main event. The two were originally schedule to headline the UFC 180 fight card, but an injury forced Velasquez out of the title fight. Werdum instead faced Hunt, and an interim title was created. The Brazilian elevated his status from interim titleholder to undisputed champion when he forced Velasquez to tap out from a guillotine choke.
The co-main event featured a lightweight bout that been years in the making. Former Bellator champion Eddie Alvarez came from behind to narrowly defeat former Strikeforce titleholder Gilbert Melendez by split decision. Alvarez overcame being hurt in the early going and a swollen shut left eye to settle the grudge match.