Having held the interim title during Cain Velasquez’s absence, Fabricio Werdum can now officially call himself the undisputed UFC heavyweight champion.
Werdum, a 4/1 underdog going into the fight, defeated Velasquez via third-round submission (guillotine) in the main event at UFC 188 last night in Mexico City.
Velasquez was returning to the octagon for the first time since October 2013 after a long lay-off due to injury, but it was a bad night for the reigning champion.
A tired Velasquez shot in for a laboured takedown attempt which allowed Werdum to lock in the choke, forcing Velasquez to tap at the 2:13 mark in the third frame.
Velasquez was aiming to make UFC history by becoming the first heavyweight champion to make three successful title defences in a row, but again it was a bridge too far for the division’s title-holder.
“I’m very happy,” said Werdum. “I had a great camp. I felt strong and I have a great team. I had a good strategy, I had a big dream and I got it today.”
Also last night at UFC 188 there were main-card wins for Eddie Alvarez, Kelvin Gastelum, Yair Rodriguez and Tecia Torres, while Ireland’s Cathal Pendred picked up his fourth consecutive UFC victory on the prelims at the expense of Augusto Montano.
Fabricio Werdum def. Cain Velasquez via submission (guillotine) — Round 3, 2:13
Eddie Alvarez def. Gilbert Melendez via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Kelvin Gastelum def. Nate Marquardt via TKO (corner stoppage) — Round 2, 5:00
Yair Rodriguez def. Charles Rosa via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Tecia Torres def. Angela Hill via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Henry Cejudo def. Chico Camus via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Efrain Escudero def. Drew Dober via submission (guillotine) – Round 1, 0:54
Patrick Williams def. Alejandro Perez via submission (guillotine) – Round 1, 0:23
Johnny Case def. Francisco Trevino via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Cathal Pendred def. Augusto Montano via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Gabriel Benitez def. Clay Collard via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)