The UFC held a press conference in Mexico City on Tuesday, with Velaquez, Werdum, UFC President Dana White, Jose Baston of Televisa and local promoter Miguel Angel Fox Muller, announcing both the title fight and the first season of Ultimate Fighter Latin America, with Velasquez and Werdum as coaches. The season, which will start filming on May 12 in Las Vegas, for six weeks. It debuts on television the week of Aug. 18 on Televisa, Mexico's dominant television network. It is expected to also air in several other Latin American countries.
"It's a great day for me and the UFC," said White. "Anyone who haws followed this company and this sport knows I've been talking abut Mexico for a very long time. I thought Mexico worked very well with this demographic and this sport. And I always knew it would be big here if we had a chance to come here."
White promised a major show, headlined by Velasquez (13-1). White had delayed the first show in Mexico to when Velasquez would be ready. Velasquez is currently recovering from surgery after suffering a torn labrum in his Oct. 19 win over Junior Dos Santos in Houston, a fight that aired live on Televisa.
Werdum (18-5-1) earned his title shot with his April 19 win over Travis Browne in Orlando, Fla. While Werdum conceded that the live audience would be largely behind his opponent, he is well known in Mexico as the Spanish language announcer on UFC broadcasts. He would also be looking to be the first, and only fighter to perform a clean sweep, with wins over Fedor Emelianenko, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Velasquez, who are generally considered the three greatest heavyweight fighters in the sport's history.
White also said the show would include the finals of TUF Latin America, which will consist of fighters in the 135 and 145 pound weight classes.
Baston talked about bringing new content aimed at a younger audience, an extension of the UFC/Televisa relationship that includes a Pay TV channel that airs throughout Mexico and Latin America that the groups are partners in.
"I want people to see this is a serious sport," said Werdum. "I don't have to say bad things about Cain. He's a good person. I've had the opportunity to interview him and we've always had a cordial relationship. What we can promise is the fight is going to be a great fight.
"I'm going to do whatever I can do fight here in Mexico," said Velasquez. "I'm going to be ready to do whatever it takes to give you a great fight. I've had an injury and I know what I have to do to be ready."
"I don't know the rest of the card," said White. "I want to come to Mexico with a bang so we're going to bring some great fights to you."