Back injury sidelines Cain Velasquez; Stipe Miocic will fight Fabricio Werdum for UFC title

 Cain Velasquez (injured back) out; Stipe Miocic will fight Werdum for title

Stipe Miocic celebrates after defeating Andrei Arlovski in a heavyweight mixed martial arts bout at UFC 195.

(John Locher / Associated Press)

Former champion Cain Velasquez’s bid to recapture his Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight belt was postponed Sunday by a back injury.

The UFC announced that contender Stipe Miocic, coming off an impressive 54-second knockout of veteran Andrei Arlovski on Jan. 2, will now fight champion Fabricio Werdum Feb. 6 in the main event of UFC 196 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

It has not been determined when Velasquez (13-2) will return. The San Jose-based fighter has missed extended time with knee and shoulder injuries and has fought just won since a successful title defense in October 2013.

He returned in June for a title fight against Werdum in Mexico City but was adversely affected by the high altitude, and Werdum, who trains in Orange County, won by submission.


A heavy puncher, Miocic tweeted Sunday, “Gotta grab opportunity when it comes knocking. #LetsGo.” When a fan asked if he could handle the quick turnaround, he responded, “Haven’t stopped training.”