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Breaking: Cain Velasquez injured, Fabricio Werdum vs Mark Hunt to fight for interim title at UFC 180 in Mexico City

Third time is not the charm.

Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Spor

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) tonight announced that its Heavyweight champion, Cain Velasquez, injured his right knee in training and has been forced out of his upcoming title defense against Fabricio Werdum at UFC 180, which is scheduled to take place at Arena Mexico in Mexico City, Mexico, on Nov. 15, 2014.

Mark Hunt -- fresh off a walk-off knockout of Roy Nelson last month at UFC Fight Night 52 in Saitama, Japan (more details here) -- will serve as Velasquez's replacement. And it will be a five-round interim Heavyweight title match.

Velasquez provided the following sad statement (via

"I'm so unbelievably disappointed that this happened. To say I was looking forward to fighting in Mexico for the first time is an understatement. I wanted to fight on that card so bad. Looks like it wasn't meant to be and it's not going to happen. I'm going to get my [right] knee fixed and get back to training as soon as I can. I'm sorry to the fans in Mexico who were expecting this fight, and I hope to be able to come down and still be a part of this historic event."

Velasquez (13-1) has not defended his crown since winning it back at UFC 166, drubbing Junior dos Santos for five brutal rounds en route to a technical knockout back in Oct. 2013. Several months later, he opted for shoulder surgery and appeared to be on the fast-track to recovery.

Now this.

Werdum, meanwhile, has been waiting to challenge the champion seemingly forever. He planned to wait for Velasquez, but then accepted -- and won -- a critical divisional showdown against Travis Browne at UFC on FOX 11 six months ago. His reward was a title fight, as well as a coaching slot opposite Velasquez on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF): "Latin America," which aired on Televisa, to promote the promotion's "historic" Mexico debut.

Undoubtedly, the event lost a lot of its Latin luster, but Werdum is seemingly taking it all in stride:

"I'm ready for whatever comes. I have been training in Mexico for nearly two months and accept the challenge that is presented to me. I'll continue to prepare and will arrive ready to fight on behalf of all my Latin American fans."

Hunt, of course, is an unlikely title contender; however, he has a flair for the dramatic, involved in perhaps the most thrilling Heavyweight match of the modern MMA era, a majority draw against Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva back at UFC 160. "Super Samoan" has won five of his last seven appearances, his only loss during that stretch to the aforementioned dos Santos.

His reaction to the opportunity of a lifetime:

"I feel blessed to have this opportunity to fight for another world title. This is something that doesn't happen often to people. First K-1 and now UFC -- how can I say no, even though it's on short notice? I'm dropping everything and flying to Mexico tomorrow so I can best prepare myself for this fight. I have to get into shape and acclimatize to that environment, which is really important."

Get in shape? Yes, PLEASE.

To check out the latest UFC 180: "Werdum vs. Hunt" fight card and rumors click here.

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