Finally, UFC heavyweight champion, Cain Velasquez, is set to defend his title for the first time since UFC 166 back in October of 2013. Velasquez has been on the self with various injuries for a very long time now and fans were begging to wonder if he would ever be healthy again.

With Velasquez down for so long, the UFC created an interim heavyweight title which Fabricio Werdum won when he deafeated Mark Hunt at UFC 180. Now, the UFC heavyweight title will be unified when Velasquez and Werdum finally square off at UFC 188 on Saturday, June 13, 2013, at Arena Ciudad de Mexico in Mexico City.

In addition to the heavyweight title fight, UFC 188 will feature a host of Latino talent as this will be the organization’s second trip south of the border. For the gamblers out there, UFC 188 offers up some interesting plays and a real opportunity to cash in.

Angela Hill, +250 vs. Tecia Torres, -325

Kicking off the main card is a women’s strawweight bout between TUF 20 alums in Hill and Torres. Hill could be a promising fighter, but she is simply too inexperienced to pose a real threat to Torres. Even though Torres only has five pro fights to her credit, she has beaten some tough competition.

Play: Take Torres to win

Charles Rosa, -250 vs. Yair Rodriguez, +190

The second bout of the evening features a featherweight tilt between up and comers Rosa and Rodriguez. Rodriguez showed a lot of promise in route to winning The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America, but the 22-year-old is still very raw. Rosa may only be a few years older, but his game is much more advanced at this time.

Play: Take Rosa to win

Kelvin Gastelum, -450 vs. Nate Marquardt, +330

In the third bout of the evening, middleweights Gastelum and Marquardt will both be looking to rebound from losses in their last outings. There was a time when Marquardt was viewed by many as the heir apparent to Anderson Silva’s middleweight throne, but it never played out that way. Now just 1-4 in his last five bouts, Marquardt is fighting to stay in the UFC. Marquardt is still a very talented fighter, but he has struggled with big powerful wrestlers. Gastelum may not have the experience, but he has the skill set to put Marquardt on his back and keep him there.

Pick: Take Gastelum to win

Eddie Alvarez, +140 vs. Gilbert Melendez, -170

Fans couldn’t ask for a better co-main event as lightweight standouts Alvarez and Melendez look to
make a run at the UFC lightweight title. Both men bring championship pedigrees to the Octagon, but neither has yet to breakthrough against the best of the best in the UFC. Melendez and Alvarez both like to move forward and throw leather so expect to see a special bout on Saturday.

Alvarez is a tremendous fighter and is tough as nails, but Melendez just has a few more weapons. This is going to be a closely contested bout, but if Melendez can mix his attacks, he will walk away the winner.

Play: Take Melendez to win

Cain Velasquez, -450 vs. Fabricio Werdum, +360

In the main event of the evening, the UFC heavyweight title will be unified as champion, Velasquez, takes on interim champion, Werdum. Considering Velasquez has’t fought in the Octagon in over a year and a half, Werdum has the look of a live underdog. Now that his striking game has evolved, Werdum has the look of a very dangerous man. But just because he is coming off of a long layoff, doesn’t mean we forget just how dominant Velasquez can be when healthy.

From as technical standpoint, Werdum will be the most challenging test Velasquez has ever had. A multiple time BJJ world championship and ADCC winner, Werdum is just as dangerous off his back as he is on his feet. Velasquez is going to have to methodically wear Werdum down and break his will; similar to what he did against Junior dos Santos the last time he was in the cage.

Werdum is dangerous and has the tools to pull the upset, but Velasquez’s wrestling, top game, and cardio will be too much for Werdum to handle.

Play: Take Velasquez to win and at -150, take him to win inside the distance

Big Play: At +334, parlay Torres, Rosa, Gastelum, Melendez and Velasquez

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About The Author

RJ Gardner
Content Coordinator

RJ Gardner is a rabid sports fan and a long time MMA enthusiast. After watching UFC 1 at ripe old age of 11 RJ was hooked and his passion for the sport has continued to blossom over the years. RJ has been covering MMA since 2007 and has had work featured on Bleacher Report,, and RJ is also a Petroleum Transportation Operations Manager during the day.