UFC 196 Picks: Velazquez To Earn Title Back From Werdum In Ferocious Fight

Swinging Johnson

Sunday, January 24, 2016 5:04 PM GMT

Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016 5:04 PM GMT

Let's take a look at how this rematch sizes up after the legendary Fabricio Werdum stunned Cain Velasquez last June and cashed for all those who backed him in their UFC picks.

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Free UFC Pick: Cain Velasquez -145
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

 

Tale Of The Tape

  Fabricio Werdum Cain Velasquez
Height 6’4” 6’1”
Reach 76" 73"
Weight 239 lbs. 240 lbs.
Record 20-5-1
(6 KO's, 10 subs)
13-2
(11 KO's, 0 subs)
Age 38 33

 

Werdum Shocks Velasquez
The UFC odds makers installed Velasquez as a better than -400 favorite in their first go round and all those chalk eaters who bet the former champ straight up in their UFC picks got rocked right along with Cain. For those that need a refresher course, Fabrico Werdum shocked the world in the third round when the champion bull-rushed the challenger across the cage like a charging rhino with Werdum calmly going along for the ride only to slap on a guillotine choke when the fighters hit the mat. Once that happened, it was only moments later when Velasquez tapped and a new champion was crowned king.

So why did Velasquez lose? If you recall, there was plenty of talk about the high altitude of Mexico City where Werdum spent months training and acclimating to his new surroundings. Meanwhile Velasquez, who had not thrown a punch inside the Octagon in almost two years due to a series of injuries, waited until only weeks before the fight to move his camp to the thin air of Ciudad de Mexico. Those observations proved prescient as Velasquez looked sluggish soon after the fight began. He also appeared big and soft as opposed to the razor sharp champion we had come to know and expect. His cardio advantage was a false flag as Werdum took every punch and responded in kind. While Velasquez would throw looping right hands and charge into the belly of the beast, Werdum was calm, cool and calculating.

Another big reason why Werdum was able to withstand Velasquez's ferocious power was his sublime Muay Thai skills. The challenger routinely ripped knees into Velasquez's midsection which slowed the champ down dramatically. And when Velasquez realized he would not win the stand-and-trade war, he relied upon his wrestling background where he was a JUCO National champion and subsequently a Division 1 top talent at Arizona State. But the problem with battling a world class mat master like Werdum is what to do with him when you take him to the ground? It is easy enough to gain top control on a boa constrictor but that is exactly where the snake wants you. That ultimately proved to be Velasquez's undoing.

 

Betting Analysis
The belt has shifted and so has the venue for this rematch. The former champ finds himself in the friendly confines of Sin City where he is undefeated in four bouts. He has also been absolved of any ring rust that may have lingered from his long absence outside the Octagon. In addition, both fighters have grown a year older but Velasquez's 33 is far preferable to Werdum's 38 years and who is now in the thick of middle age. Due to gains in nutrition and training regimens, we see fighters warding off Father Time longer than ever before. But 38 is officially long in the tooth when it comes to mortal combat and Velasquez now has an up close and personal blueprint of the beast that is Fabricio Werdum.

Unless Velasquez has completely lost his desire to compete and is in this one for a paycheck (don't count on it), he will be in better physical shape as well as enjoying the emotional comfort of fighting in a venue where he has never been defeated. Werdum should be aware he will not be able to tee off on a gassed Velasquez this time around, and will be hunted by a relentless assault that will equate to a kill or be killed game plan. There will be no retreat and no surrender this time around because Velasquez is aware of the potent knees and elbows of Werdum as well as his evolved striking ability. What Velasquez will not be able to contend with is Werdum's sublime submission skills. If the former champ decides to forge a ground-and-pound approach, he will be not so subtly reminded that he is entering a deadly world that Werdum calls home. I say Velasquez knows all of this and is as bent on avenging this loss as he was when he pummeled Junior dos Santos in their rematch after Velasquez lost his title the first time.

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