UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez is currently sidelined while recovering from a torn rotator cuff which required surgery, but he’s keeping a close eye on how the title contender picture is shaking out.
With a title eliminator bout between former champ Brock Lesnar and the heavy-handed Junior dos Santos scrapped upon the announcement that Lesnar is suffering from a flare-up of diverticulitis, that title picture appeared to have been tossed on its head. Luckily, former UFC interim heavyweight champ Shane Carwin was scheduled to fight on the same card as dos Santos and Lesnar and has been moved up to face dos Santos in Lesnar’s stead.
Velwasquez recently spoke with MMAFighting.com concerning the newly made number one contender’s fight.
“I think (they made the right call), yeah,” Velasquez said of the UFC’s decision to book Carwin vs. dos Santos. “He was next in line, for sure. He’s a tough guy. I think it was a good call.”
The American Kickboxing Academy-trained fighter also discussed the intrigue that the new match up carries with it and how it differs from the original number one contender’s bout.
“Before (with Lesnar-dos Santos), it was wrestler vs. striker,” Velasquez said. “Now it’s striker vs. striker –- but they’re different. I think dos Santos is more technical and hits hard, but Carwin is a really hard puncher. You can’t pound him out. So it’s two hard hitters.”
On Lesnar’s latest setback, Velasquez leveled that it is less than an optimal circumstance, but predicted that the former champ will get back on his feet and back in the cage before too long. Until then, he’s got his eyes on Carwin and dos Santos.
“It sucks, but it happens in this sport,” Velasquez said. “People get hurt all the time and pull out of fights. But he’ll come back, and he’ll come back stronger. It sucks right now, but we already have somebody tough coming up with Shane (replacing him).”
Carwin and dos Santos will square off at UFC 131 this June 11 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.