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Cain Velasquez injured, out of UFC 196; Fabricio Werdum vs. Stipe Miocic now headlines UFC 196

A back injury has forced former UFC Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez (13-2, 11-2 UFC) from his chance at regaining the championship next month. Velasquez has been forced to pull out of the main event of UFC 196, where he was scheduled to fight UFC Heavyweight Champion Fabricio Werdum (20-5-1, 8-2 UFC) in the main event of the February 6 event in Las Vegas, Nevada. Werdum will now defend the championship against Stipe Miocic (14-2, 8-2 UFC) at the event in the headline bout. UFC President Dana White made the announcement on Sunday on his Twitter page.

Cain Velasquez is out with a back injury. Stipe vs Werdum for the heavyweight championship February 6th. pic.twitter.com/vPRJYJvOjL

— Dana White (@danawhite) January 24, 2016

Miocic gets the title shot after scoring a 54-second knockout win over Andrei Arlovski at UFC 195 earlier this month. Miocic was expected to fight the winner of the bout between Werdum and Velasquez, but his title opportunity will come on less than two weeks' notice. Miocic has won five of his last six fights overall.

It will be the first title defense for Werdum after he submittied Velasquez to win the championship at UFC 188 in June. Werdum has won six straight fights overall.

UFC 196 takes place from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Super Bowl Weekend and airs on pay-per-view. Former UFC Welterweight Champion Johny Hendricks takes on Stephen Thompson in the co-main event.

The following was post to Cain's FB Page after the announcement:

I'm sure you've heard the news that I won't be able to fight at UFC 196. I can't begin to tell you how disappointed I am and how I feel I'm letting you all down. I've heard and read all of your messages of support since my last fight and during this camp and for that I thank you.

Training camp has been difficult for the last few weeks, but sometimes no matter how much the heart and mind want to fight through an injury, healing has its own timeline. We thought we'd get through it, but we had to face the truth that it wasn't going to be OK in time to fight. All of us fighters have all fought injured at one time or another, but I can't ignore this injury, as my doctor has indicated that not addressing the problems with my sciatic nerve could have longer-term consequences.

My fans deserve to see me compete as close to 100% as possible. I'm committed to giving them that. I'm not going to let my fans down, and I want to make sure I do the right things to ensure a long career.

Fabricio, I hope that you accept my sincere apology. I understand how you may think this is an excuse. From one professional to another, I can tell you I was committed and looking forward to competing with you again. I greatly respect you as a fighter and man, and we will meet soon.

I will get this taken care of as soon as possible. I will heal and will come back and show you the Cain Velasquez you all deserve to see.

Sincerely,

Cain