Stipe Miocic will now replace injured Cain Velasquez and face Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum at UFC 196 to be held at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on Feb 6. UFC President Dana White made the announcement on Sunday via Twitter.
He posted: “Cain Velasquez is out with a back injury. Stipe vs Werdum for the heavyweight championship February 6th.”
Velasquez was forced to withdraw from the fight due to a back injury. Doctors told him that going with the fight will damage his sciatic nerve, which could have longer-term consequences on his health.
The former UFC heavyweight champion issued an apology on Facebook for his withdrawal.
“Training camp has been difficult for the last few weeks, but sometimes no matter how much the heart and mind want to fight through an injury, healing has its own timeline. We thought we’d get through it, but we had to face the truth that it wasn’t going to be OK in time to fight,” Velasquez wrote on Facebook.
“All of us fighters have all fought injured at one time or another, but I can’t ignore this injury, as my doctor has indicated that not addressing the problems with my sciatic nerve could have longer-term consequences. Fabricio, I hope that you accept my sincere apology. I understand how you may think this is an excuse. From one professional to another, I can tell you I was committed and looking forward to competing with you again. I greatly respect you as a fighter and man, and we will meet soon.”
This will be Werdum’s first title defense after he clinched the heavyweight belt from Velasquez at UFC 188.
Source: MMA Fighting