T Nation

Cain Velasquez


#1

Watching the preview show for UFC 99, and stepped out of the room for the commercials, and came back, and just missed the segment where the AKA guys talk about Cain. Correct me if I am wrong, but did they say he is the "best" fighter at AKA? If so they must be crazy....unless someone actually saw the piece...

Thanks


#2

You can watch it again on UFC.com.


#3

Great hype piece. I would consider myself a fan of Cain, but he still has a lot to prove. This fight will go a long way in doing that. Kongo with a decent TD defense is a dangerous apponent. I am almost hoping Kongo pulls it off and finds a place in line for a title shot. Cain, in my opinion, will have a better chance of rebounding from a loss. The UFC seems to have a lot invested in him and he would probably get back in the mix fairly soon after a loss to Kongo.

Either way, I think it’s going to be a hell of a fight.


#4

[quote]Pluto wrote:
Watching the preview show for UFC 99, and stepped out of the room for the commercials, and came back, and just missed the segment where the AKA guys talk about Cain. Correct me if I am wrong, but did they say he is the “best” fighter at AKA? If so they must be crazy…unless someone actually saw the piece…

Thanks[/quote]

Velasquez is the big dog at AKA, and Has been for a while. Javier Melendez reckons that he is the most talented fighter ever to walk through the doors of AKA. Put is this way, when Machida went and trained at AKA the rumour is that Velasquez was able to throw him around like he was a child.

Melzter wrote a piece on him recently…

http://sports.yahoo.com/mma/news;_ylt=AkMj3I1IcsEZYcocfRbdYyM9Eo14?slug=dm-velasquez061209&prov=yhoo&type=lgns

[quote][b]Velasquez takes big leap

By Dave Meltzer, Yahoo! Sports[/b]

If you live in San Jose, Calif., and talk to anyone in the fighting community, the subject of Cain Velasquez will come up at some point.

It’s like a badge of honor at the American Kickboxing Academy, to say you’ve sparred with and gotten beaten up by Velazquez, where he’s the gym’s proverbial big dog at one of the most successful MMA training centers in the country.

The stories of the former Arizona State wrestling standout wiping the floor with big-name fighters in the gym are legendary, and usually include throwing several guys in a row - often all name fighters - at him while people marvel at the idea that he simply never gets tired.

Those who have been in with him say he’s the guy who some day will be able to beat Fedor Emelianenko and will sit atop the heavyweight rankings.

That’s quite a mouthful to say about someone who, when it comes to top-flight MMA competition, is completely untested and has only trained in the sport for a little less than three years.

And for all his hand speed, wrestling ability and conditioning, there are real questions concerning Velasquez’s Saturday match at UFC 99 in Cologne, Germany, against Cheick Kongo.

The winner of the match will establish himself, alongside Shane Carwin and the winner of the Aug. 29 Randy Couture-Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira match, as the top tier of names in contention for the UFC heavyweight title that’s up for grabs on July 11 when Brock Lesnar defends against Frank Mir. At 6-foot-4, Kongo has the height and reach, as well as more fluid kicks, punches and knees. But most of all, there is a huge experience discrepancy. Kongo, who replaced Heath Herring after he pulled out of the match three weeks ago due to an illness that knocked him out of training, will have his 30th MMA fight. He sports a 24-4-1 record, including 7-2 in UFC competition.

Velasquez is unblemished as a pro, but has only had five pro fights, and none against anyone near Kongo’s level. The soft-spoken fighter notes that in his wrestling days, as a medium-sized heavyweight, he had problems dealing with the biggest college heavyweights. To get to the top in UFC, Velasquez will eventually have to deal with two men who fit that mold in Lesnar, a former NCAA Division I champion, and Carwin, a Division II champion. At 25, Velasquez is significantly younger, and his level of wrestling is enough to where on paper he could neutralize the bigger foes. He has quicker hands and better kicking ability, and likely the best conditioning of the three. But when you have big guys who all have power, there are no sure things.

Because he trains so hard, Velasquez has to eat a lot to maintain his 240 pounds on a 6-foot-1 frame. He was somewhat disappointed in his last performance, a second-round TKO over Denis Stojnic on Feb. 7 in Tampa. It was a fight he dominated, but he didn’t score a spectacular-looking finish and was taken into the second round for the first time in his career.

Stojnic, a native of Bosnia Herzegovina, was brought in from outside the UFC for Velasquez’s last fight because UFC couldn’t find anyone within their ranks to take the fight after Velasquez had finished Jake O’Brien in just 2:02 last summer. “I have to sit down more on my punches,” he said about the main lesson he learned in the fight. “I got excited and tried to throw too many punches and didn’t put the power behind them.”

Kongo, who is 34, took the fight on three weeks notice, a choice that surprised a lot of people. The Frenchman is looking at making a run at the heavyweight title, and Velasquez is the guy who a lot of fighters have looked at avoiding because of the unbalanced risk vs. reward ratio. Velasquez’s reputation within the sport is at the top level, but because he’s only appeared twice on television, a win by Kongo wouldn’t elevate Kongo as much in the eyes of the fans in regards to the risk level of losing.

“I have to stay out of his stand-up range and keep pressuring him,” said Velasquez, 25. “His takedown defense has improved a lot. He’s coming off a lot of wins. As far as his level of striking, he has to be the top fighter I’e faced for sure,” he said. When Velasquez started training for the sport shortly after graduating from Arizona State, a few months after placing fourth in the 2006 NCAA heavyweight tournament, the plan was to get him eight or nine fights on small shows before even thinking about UFC. But in the first 20 months of his career, eight different planned fights fell through, and he also missed some time with a broken hand suffered late in 2006.

Opponents backed out, or in some cases, promoters had him on shows, and then couldn’t find opponents, largely because of his reputation as a gym monster. There were even guys who showed up at weigh-ins, took one look at him, then backed out. The inability for him to get fights led to manager Bob Cook talking UFC president Dana White into signing Velasquez when he had only a 2-0 record.

Javier Mendez, the owner of AKA, noted that early in his training, after he was daily putting the lumps on veteran banger Paul Buentello in practice by taking him down and pounding him, that, just to be fair, Buentello asked for a stand-up session. Everyone figured that would be the day Buentello would finally get his revenge. But then, just standing, Velasquez still beat down someone who had been doing stand-up for more than a decade.

!It just came natural to me,! Velasquez said. !I put a lot of hard work into it and I’m going to keep improving."[/quote]


#5

Velasquez looks like a hell of a fighter to me.
He has a reckless chin, however.


#6

[quote]Schwarzfahrer wrote:
Velasquez looks like a hell of a fighter to me.
He has a reckless chin, however.
[/quote]

Yep…that’s why he took those hard shots…BUT damn did he show some toughness in that reckless chin. His coaches do need to fix that problem if/when he steps up to Carwin.


#7

[quote]Big_Boss wrote:
Schwarzfahrer wrote:
Velasquez looks like a hell of a fighter to me.
He has a reckless chin, however.

Yep…that’s why he took those hard shots…BUT damn did he show some toughness in that reckless chin. His coaches do need to fix that problem if/when he steps up to Carwin.[/quote]

Yeah, Carwin will definitely put him to sleep if he connects with that straight right of his.

I really don’t know how Cain is going to do against someone like Carwin or Brock, both are bigger, stronger wrestlers and Carwin has dynamite in his hands. I don’t think Cain matches up with them well stylistically. Cain also either doesn’t have any submission skills, or he’s not very confident in the skills that he does have because he had countless opportunities for submissions against Kongo.

I’d like to see him fight someone like Randy or Nog though.


#8

In the spirit of GSP, “I was not impressed by his performance”. If he hadn’t been hyped up so much I probably wouldnt bat an eye, but he is being billed as “the next big thing” which I don’t see yet. Even as weak as the UFC heavyweight division is I still cant see this guy threatening the title anytime soon. Whoever wins, be it Lesnar or Mir, should handle this guy no problem. And then what?


#9

[quote]Bondslave wrote:
In the spirit of GSP, “I was not impressed by his performance”. If he hadn’t been hyped up so much I probably wouldnt bat an eye, but he is being billed as “the next big thing” which I don’t see yet. Even as weak as the UFC heavyweight division is I still cant see this guy threatening the title anytime soon. Whoever wins, be it Lesnar or Mir, should handle this guy no problem. And then what?[/quote]
agreed


#10

[quote]Bondslave wrote:
In the spirit of GSP, “I was not impressed by his performance”. If he hadn’t been hyped up so much I probably wouldnt bat an eye, but he is being billed as “the next big thing” which I don’t see yet. Even as weak as the UFC heavyweight division is I still cant see this guy threatening the title anytime soon. Whoever wins, be it Lesnar or Mir, should handle this guy no problem. And then what?[/quote]

Well…considering that this was his first real test…I was impressed. Of course there is room for improvement. You can’t deny that he is still a top prospect in the HW division…regardless of his shortcomings against Kongo. As for the “hype”…its no different than Brock’s hype as “the next big thing.” Although,Cain showed something against Kongo that is still unproven in Brock.

Besides,stop eating up that hype…do your own homework. :slight_smile:


#11

[quote]Big_Boss wrote:
Besides,stop eating up that hype…do your own homework. :)[/quote]

I am, and as much as people say that Lesnar is a fake hype machine champ, I see him (Lesnar) destroying Velasquez judging by his performance tonight. Lesnar is probably as heavy-handed, albeit not as crisp, as Congo which gave Velasquez a couple close calls, and he certainly wont be out-wrestling the big man and laying on him with weak gnp. Just what I see at this point anyway and he will get a chance to prove me wrong.


#12

Cain has a chin of fucking granite. Damn he took some hard shots. I couldnt believe how fast he recovered.

His standup needs work obviously…as well as his ability to finish on the ground. He is still green. But he is young and hungry. Im sure he will be even better next time.

This fight was a great experience for him. He gained a lot from it. He got the win…but showed some big holes in his game he has to fill up. Which will keep his ego in check and make him continue working harder. He is a hard worker. He will do well. I wouldnt be surprised to see the title around his waist in a year or two.


#13

[quote]Bondslave wrote:
In the spirit of GSP, “I was not impressed by his performance”. If he hadn’t been hyped up so much I probably wouldnt bat an eye, but he is being billed as “the next big thing” which I don’t see yet. Even as weak as the UFC heavyweight division is I still cant see this guy threatening the title anytime soon. Whoever wins, be it Lesnar or Mir, should handle this guy no problem. And then what?[/quote]

I wonder who is going to fight Mir after he loses to Lesnar. I wouldn’t mind seeing Cain vs. Frank. I think Cain would hold his own standing and could keep it off the ground.


#14

his stand up defense needs work. chin of granite, yes! handed kongo his own ass? YUP! He literally threw kongo around. Lesnar has a couple figts under his belt. I still don’t think he is the best HW. Just good marketing/ sales got him there. Yes his size and speed are very impressive. But he is still new to MMA where a lot of these guys have trained 10 + yrs. I’m not a mir fan. so I don know who I want to win that fight. maybe mir just so we can shut the public up about lesnar. carwin, velasquez, mir, all awsome contenders for HW. I would love to see carwin / lesnar or carwin/ velasquez.


#15

[quote]MNguns wrote:
his stand up defense needs work. chin of granite, yes! handed kongo his own ass? YUP! He literally threw kongo around. Lesnar has a couple figts under his belt. I still don’t think he is the best HW. Just good marketing/ sales got him there. Yes his size and speed are very impressive. But he is still new to MMA where a lot of these guys have trained 10 + yrs. I’m not a mir fan. so I don know who I want to win that fight. maybe mir just so we can shut the public up about lesnar. carwin, velasquez, mir, all awsome contenders for HW. I would love to see carwin / lesnar or carwin/ velasquez.[/quote]

There are a ton of good potential match-ups in the HW division and it’s only getting better. I would like to see Lesnar vs. Carwin and Velasquez .vs Mir. We haven’t seen enough of him yet, but I hope Dos Santos makes his way up the ranks. I also beleive Gonzaga will remain relavent and make at least one more run towards the top.

You throw in another good fight or two from Randy and Nog, the hopeful improvement of Pat Berry and Kongo, and good crop of fighters from TUF 10 and the HW division is shaping up to be one of the more exciting divisions in the UFC. I honestly beleive we will start to see more finishes than decisions in this division. Just some insanely powerful individual running through the HW ranks right now.


#16

[quote]dhickey wrote:
MNguns wrote:
his stand up defense needs work. chin of granite, yes! handed kongo his own ass? YUP! He literally threw kongo around. Lesnar has a couple figts under his belt. I still don’t think he is the best HW. Just good marketing/ sales got him there. Yes his size and speed are very impressive. But he is still new to MMA where a lot of these guys have trained 10 + yrs. I’m not a mir fan. so I don know who I want to win that fight. maybe mir just so we can shut the public up about lesnar. carwin, velasquez, mir, all awsome contenders for HW. I would love to see carwin / lesnar or carwin/ velasquez.

There are a ton of good potential match-ups in the HW division and it’s only getting better. I would like to see Lesnar vs. Carwin and Velasquez .vs Mir. We haven’t seen enough of him yet, but I hope Dos Santos makes his way up the ranks. I also beleive Gonzaga will remain relavent and make at least one more run towards the top.

You throw in another good fight or two from Randy and Nog, the hopeful improvement of Pat Berry and Kongo, and good crop of fighters from TUF 10 and the HW division is shaping up to be one of the more exciting divisions in the UFC. I honestly beleive we will start to see more finishes than decisions in this division. Just some insanely powerful individual running through the HW ranks right now.[/quote]

I tend to agree. I think the UFC’s heavyweight division is as stacked now as it’s ever been. Not quite what Pride’s was in it’s hayday, but pretty damn close (at least as far as exciting match-ups go).

I’d also like to see Cain vs. Mir. That would be a pretty evenly matched and exciting fight IMO.


#17

for some reason I could care less to see Mir fight. Even most HW’s I don’t care too much to fight.
The best fights for HW’s come in K-1…always exciting seeing them go at it.


#18

for some reason I could care less to see Mir fight. Even most HW’s I don’t care too much to fight.
The best fights for HW’s come in K-1…always exciting seeing them go at it.