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Stipe Miocic will fight for the UFC heavyweight belt on a fortnight's notice

Former champion Cain Velasquez has had to pull out injured.

Image: AP/Press Association Images

UFC PRESIDENT DANA White announced late last night that Stipe Miocic, not Cain Velasquez, will take on Fabricio Werdum for the organisation’s heavyweight championship on 6 February in Las Vegas.

Miocic replaces Velasquez after the former champion was forced off the card due to a back injury, denying him the chance to avenge his UFC 188 defeat to Werdum who will defend his title for the first time.

While Miocic takes the bout at just two weeks’ notice, he is fighting fit having secured a first-round knockout of Andrei Arlovski earlier this month.

For Velasquez, it’s yet another opportunity lost in an injury-plagued mixed martial arts career.

A two-time UFC heavyweight champion — Velasquez won the title in 2010 and again in 2012 — he only managed two title defences in 2013 before losing all of 2014 to a knee injury. 

Indeed, his comeback loss to Werdum came after more than 600 days out of the octagon.

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Steve O'Rourke

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