UFC 188 Fight Breakdown: Cain Velasquez vs. Fabricio Werdum

Cain Velasquez The main event of UFC 188 is a five-round title unification bout between UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez and UFC interim heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum. According to the current betting lines available at Several Bookmakers, Velasquez is a -485 favorite (bet $485 to win $100) while Werdum is a +385 underdog (bet $100 to win $385). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened up Velasquez at -475 and Werdum at +325, and more action has come in on Velasquez so far. I expect Velasquez to defeat Werdum in his return to the Octagon, and most likely get the stoppage win. Here’s why. Velasquez (13-1) is the UFC heavyweight champion. The 32-year-old American is 11-1 in the UFC with wins over Junior dos Santos (twice), Bigfoot Silva (twice), Brock Lesnar, Cheick Kongo, and Ben Rothwell, among others. Velasquez is a relentless wrestler and has the best cardio in the heavyweight division. He never slows down and even in 25-minute fights he can lay a pounding on his opponent in the third round. He constantly shoots for takedowns and for the most part gets them, and on the ground he has nasty ground and pound. On the feet he has a good kickboxing base and he has the power in his hands to knock anyone out at heavyweight. He is just a fantastic fighter overall. However, he has not fought in nearly two years due to injuries, so there will be some question marks about him heading into this fight. But while those questions are fair, my answer would be why would he take this fight if he wasn’t fully healthy? He already fought JDS injured a few years ago and got knocked out for it, so I doubt he makes that mistake again. I think he’s fully healthy, ready to go, and I believe he smashes Werdum in this fight, which is why he is the clear-cut favorite heading into it. Werdum (19-5-1) is the UFC interim heavyweight champion. The 37-year-old Brazilian is 7-2 overall in the UFC, including a 5-0 mark in his return to the organization. He is currently riding a five-fight win streak with wins over Mark Hunt, Travis Browne, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Mike Russow and Roy Nelson, and even at 37 is getting better and better every time we see him. The first man to stop the great Fedor Emelianenko via submission, Werdum is a high-level BJJ black belt and is known for his lethal ground game. He has nine career submission wins and has an edge on the ground over almost every heavyweight in the UFC. He has solid wrestling as well. But while he is mostly known for his ground game, Werdum’s striking is really coming around. Training with Master Rafael Cordeiro at King’s MMA, Werdum is coming off of a brilliant KO of Hunt via flying knee, which was ultra impressive. He was rocked and dropped against Hunt, but recovered and won in stunning fashion. However, his chin was shaky in that fight, and he has been knocked out for by JDS, so thats a worry going up against Velasquez. To beat the champ, Werdum is probably going to have to stop him because his opponent will have the cardio edge in this fight. He either has to knock Velasquez out on the feet, or submit on the ground, but with both those scenarios being quite unlikely, you see Werdum enter this fight as a big dog despite his recent improvements. It’s always tough to completely trust a fighter coming off of a super-long layoff, but Velasquez is a different beast. If he’s healthy, which I truly believe he is, he’s the most dominant heavyweight in MMA, bar none, and it’s hard to see anyone beating him outside of landing a lucky punch. Werdum is a tremendous fighter, but he has several key disadvantages in this fight. I believe Velasquez is the more durable fighter of the two, I believe he has more knockout power, I believe his cardio is better, and I know he has the wrestling advantage to dictate where this fight takes place. Is it possible Werdum could land a punch and knock Velasquez out? Of course — this is heavyweight, after all. But I don’t think Velasquez gets knocked out here. In fact, I see him knocking Werdum out, probably in the first or second round. I really like Velasquez here. The line is pretty high at nearly 5-to-1, but the prop on Velasquez inside the distance is -150 and the prop on him winning by T/KO is -110. Those props provide tremendous value in my opinion as I believe Velasquez by T/KO is the most likely outcome to the bout, so I recommend playing them, possibly with a small hedge on Werdum wins inside the distance if you want to be safe, as I do not see the fight going the full 25 minutes.

Written by Adam Martin.

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