The Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight title changed hands once again at UFC 188, and now the biggest belt in the sport resides around the waist of Fabricio Werdum.
Werdum unified his interim title with that of incumbent champion Cain Velasquez on June 13 in Mexico City, giving the long-injured Velasquez a rude welcome back to the Octagon after nearly two years on the shelf. Aided by a lengthy, high-altitude training camp, the Brazilian’s conditioning came into play following a rough opening frame, after which Werdum gradually seized control of the bout from the rapidly fading American. By round three, Werdum’s heavy strikes forced Velasquez to shoot for a takedown, allowing the grappling ace to cinch up a fight-ending guillotine choke.
Unbeaten in his last six outings, Werdum ascends to the top of the heavyweight division; Velasquez falls one spot to second place.
The co-main event of UFC 188 saw former Bellator MMA lightweight champ Eddie Alvarez battle through a badly swollen left eye to outwork and claim a split decision over ex-Strikeforce ace Gilbert Melendez. The win moves Alvarez up two spots to No. 5 in this edition of the 155-pound rankings, while Melendez drops two places to No. 6.
In other action, unbeaten Henry Cejudo collected a workmanlike decision against Chico Camus, bumping up the Olympic wrestling gold medalist to No. 9 in the flyweight top 10, while Tecia Torres held on to her No. 10 spot in the women’s strawweight rankings with a grinding decision win over Angela Hill.
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