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Cain Velasquez out of knee surgery, targets UFC return in March 2015

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Alexis Cuarezma

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight titleholder Cain Velasquez went under the knife on Thursday to repair a torn meniscus, a procedure that came just a few days after his decision to withdraw from the upcoming UFC 180 pay-per-view (PPV) main event, scheduled for Nov. 15, 2014 in Mexico City.

In his absence, division No. 1 contender Fabricio Werdum will move on to face late replacement Mark Hunt, in a 265-pound battle for the interim title. While Velasquez is only expected to be out until March of 2015, his previous injury layoff prompted the promotion to get a reserve belt into play.

MMA Fighting has an update from coach Javier Mendez:

"It depends on the UFC. Whatever decision they make is what's going to happen, provided he's healed. I assume he'll be good to go for full-time training by December. He'll have all of November and part of October off. I don't see him being out that long at all. We gotta keep training the way we train because to rise to the top you have to do all the right things to get there."

One of many tough breaks for Mexican fans.

While Velasquez went under the knife to repair his torn meniscus, the actual injury that booted him from UFC 180 was a sprained MCL, which requires no less than one month of rehab. So with the time off, the American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) standout decided to use the recovery period to get everything else ship shape.

What kind of fighter returns next March, however, remains to be seen.