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Fabricio Werdum shocks Cain Velasquez, Mexico City crowd at UFC 188

By Daniel Austin, Calgary Sun

Fabricio Werdum submitted Cain Velasquez with a guillotine in the third round at UFC 188 in Mexico City. (David Manning-USA TODAY Sports)

Fabricio Werdum submitted Cain Velasquez with a guillotine in the third round at UFC 188 in Mexico City. (David Manning-USA TODAY Sports)

MEXICO CITY – Cain Velasquez had so thoroughly dominated the pre-fight conversation that it seemed like almost a given that he'd dominate Saturday night's UFC heavyweight championship bout.

Interim champion Fabricio Werdum had other ideas.

The Brazilian shocked fight fans on Saturday night, silencing an emotional Mexico City crowd by submitting Velasquez with a guillotine in the third round.

It was a fight Mexican fans had waited to see for years. Velasquez is one of the country's most beloved athletes, and after almost two years spent sidelined by injuries, his first-ever fight in Mexico City was treated almost as a coronation.

For the first-round, it looked to be just that. Velasquez landed a number of big shots and Werdum appeared to be gassing out by the end of the opening frame. The noise in the crowd was deafening and a Velasquez victory began to feel almost like a foregone conclusion.

Then, Werdum came out for the second round and appeared to tap into some previously unseen energy source. His strikes were landing flush, his movement appeared faster, and Velasquez was fading right as his opponent found a rhythm.

In the third it was more of the same, and when Velasquez went for a takedown – he'd been avoiding engaging with Werdum on the ground all fight – it seemed almost desperate.

Once they got to the mat, the fight didn't last long. Within seconds, Werdum's superior jiu-jitsu skills took over and Velasquez was tapping his out just 2:15 into the third round.

“I'm sorry to everyone here, my dream was to fight here,” Velasquez said. “I'll come back and I'll win that title again.”


When Kelvin Gastelum was told by UFC bosses that he wouldn't be fighting as a welterweight anymore, there wasn't much he could say.

All he could do was go out and put on the type of performance that would make Dana White & Co. feel like they needed to keep him happy and allow him to go back down to 170 lbs.

On Saturday night at UFC 188, Gastelum sure gave them something to think about. Fighting at middleweight (185 lbs.), the 23-year-old dominated Nate Marquardt for two rounds before the veteran's corner mercifully threw in the towel.

“Hopefully this performance was good enough to get on their good sides and tell them to give me a good opportunity at 170 lbs.,” Gastelum said in the octagon after the fight.

After missing weight by 9 lbs. prior to loss to Tyron Woodley back at UFC 183 in January, Gastelum was forced out of the welterweight division by White. He'd previously fought at middleweight when he was competing on the Ultimate Fighter, but is short for the 185 lbs. division and would prefer to fight in the lower weight-class.

On Saturday, though, he looked as good as he's looked in any of his UFC fights, hurting Marquardt with his strikes and controlling the match from the opening bell. There were several moments in the second round during which it looked as if the ref might step in and stop the fight, but Marquardt held on until corner-man Trevor Wittman made the decision to end the fight.


For two rounds, Eddie Alvarez could barely see out of his left eye.

Didn't matter. The former Bellator lightweight champion recovered from a vicious Gilbert Melendez elbow to gut-out a split decision win.

It wasn't the elbow itself that caused the swelling around his right eye, though, it was only when Alvarez blew his nose after the first-round that a welt the size of a golf ball grew.

A lesser fighter might not have carried on – and he was immediately taken to the hospital after the fight – but Alvarez actually came out and looked better in the second and third rounds than he had in the first. The Philadelphia-bred fighter was able to take Melendez to the mat a number of times and got the better of the majority of striking exchanges.

The win was Alvarez's first in the UFC after losing his debut to Donald Cerrone. There were still lingering questions about his abilities despite an impressive Bellator resume, but a win over the organization's No. 4-ranked lightweight should be enough to answer his critics.


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