The UFC going global: Mexico, Velasquez, Werdum and Singapore, Ellenberger, Saffiedine

The UFC has made some big announcements lately.

Their efforts to expand globally are moving quickly. Earlier today the UFC confirmed their first venture into Asia with a card to be crafted for Jan. 4 at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. At the top will be welterweight contender (and jab test dummy for Rory MacDonald)  Jake Ellenberger against Tarec Saffiedine.

That fight card is significant more for it’s locale than the ripples it is likely to make in any of the title hunts. With the UFC ready to unveil TUF: China, a card in Asia was always a logical destination.

The more important news is where their next international card will land.

Bloody Elbow reports that Fabricio Werdum will be Cain Velasquez’s next victim, er, opponent with the fight coming in Mexico City, Mexico. The date of the card is tentatively the weekend of April 19 or April 26, 2014.

Werdum is on a three-fight win streak in the promotion. Famously, he claimed the Strikeforce title by defeating pound-for-pound great Fedor Emelianenko before losing it in a lackluster bout with Alistair Overeem before returning to the UFC. Velasquez meanwhile just defended his title for the second time.

As the story goes, Velasquez’s father, Efrain Velasquez, was a Mexican immigrant who made six trips across the blazing hot desert into the US only to be deported all six times. His seventh time across, he met Cain’s mother, Isable, an American national and was permitted to remain in the states.  Both Isabel and Efrain would work daily picking lettuce in the fields of California and Arizona in order to support Cain, his brother and his sister.

Cain went on to be an All-American at Arizona State and the rest is history. Velasquez is sure to be a big hit south of the USA border and big business for the UFC. Keep your eyes on Latin fighters like Gilbert Melendez, Diego Sanchez and Joseph Benevidez, who are sure to be at the top of the UFC list for fights on that card.

As has been the case in many foreign countries, the atmosphere is sure to be intense and passionate. It will be one hell of a show to watch.


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