Posts tagged: Cain Velasquez

Wolfslair Academy, Growing Roster and Reputation

Quickly established as arguably the top facility and fight team in Europe, Wolfslair MMA Academy is now gaining a strong reputation as one of the leading gyms in the MMA world today.

Michael Bisping training at Wolfslair

Wolfslair Academy is a gym located in Widnes, United Kingdom, which has both produced and recently signed several UFC stars and other elite level fighters.

Co-owners and managers Anthony McGann and Lee Gwynn established the fight team as MMA fans with the goal of creating the top MMA facility in the U.K. They quickly achieved their goal and the facility continues to grow.

The gym gained notoriety primarily due to its signing of U.K. based UFC star Michael Bisping. Bisping’s appearance as a coach on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) created recognition for the gym, because several of its staff members were featured as trainers on the show.

With the recent signings of former UFC light-heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and heavyweight Cheick Kongo, the gym added two huge names and talented fighters to its roster. These signings have attracted new fighters to the gym for training purposes, as well as more publicity, and sponsorship and endorsement opportunities.

Rampage and Dave Jackson

The trainers at Wolfslair Academy are not internationally recognized MMA figures like the staff of many top-level gyms in the U.S. However, the team’s trainers are extremely experienced and have many achievements within their fields, making them very effective coaches and gaining them praise from fighters.

Wolfslair’s talented training staff, access to the public, and its appeal to traveling fighters and prospective fighters in Europe are its main strengths. These factors contribute greatly to the gym’s rapid growth and success as a business.

The head coach at Wolfslair is Brazilian jiu-jitsu and judo black belt Mario “Sukata” Neto. Neto, the gym”s jiu-jitsu coach, is a one-fight UFC veteran and holds a 10-5 professional MMA record against top-level opponents. Neto has many accomplishments in the world of martial arts, including winning the grand masters in BJJ, winning a Vale Tudo championship in Russia and earning a third-degree black belt in BJJ. He was featured as one of Bisping”s coaches on TUF.

Boxing coach Tony Quigley and his son Tony Quigley Jr. are an integral part of the gym”s coaching staff. Rampage was impressed by the instruction of online casino Quigley and his son upon coming to train at Wolfslair, and now spends a substantial amount of his time working with them. Junior Olympic gold medalist Tony Quigley Jr. is a professional boxer with a record of 13-2.

Rampage and Kongo with Tapout members in Wolfslair apparel

Thai boxing coach Dave Jackson is renowned within the muay thai community for his expertise as a coach and his uniquely effective style of muay thai. Jackson has worked extensively with Rampage and Kongo. Kongo was very impressed with Jackson”s style of muay thai and instruction while initially training at Wolfslair, and he has now refined his skills training under him. Jackson was featured as one of Bisping”s coaches on TUF.

Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt and 3-1 professional MMA fighter Kazeka Muniz is Wolfslair”s wrestling coach. Gwynn is the gym”s strength and conditioning coach in addition to being a co-owner.

The gym currently holds a roster with several UFC veterans, including Michael Bisping, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Cheick Kongo, Paul Kelly, and Mario “Sukata” Neto. Other notable fighters include Alex Cook, Tom Blackledge, Lukasz Les, Henrique Nogueira, Curt Warburton and Abdul Mohamed. Many top-level fighters travel to Wolfslair for training purposes, including Andre Arlovski, Ian Freeman, Dean Lister, Tiki Ghosn and Ricco Rodriguez.

Rampage recently took a leave from the UFC to star in the upcoming film, “The A Team.” A dispute with UFC President Dana White also contributed to his decision. Rampage coached the most recent season of TUF along with Rashad Evans. The two light-heavyweights are scheduled to fight on May 29 at UFC 114 in Las Vegas, Nev.

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Paul Kelly is 1-1 since making the move to the UFC lightweight division. Kelly looks to improve his record when he faces Matt Veach on April 10 at UFC 112 in Abu Dhabi.

After going 9-2 since his UFC debut, Cheick Kongo has lost his last two fights to top heavyweights Cain Velasquez and Frank Mir. Kongo hopes to avenge his losses and get back in the title picture with a win over Paul Buentello in the upcoming UFC Live: Vera vs. Jones on Mar. 23 in Broomfield, Colorado.

Cheick Kongo Training with Michael Bisping & Teammates @ Wolfslair (2008)

A Legend is Stopped, Others Rebound at UFC 110

Rising star Cain Velasquez defeated the legendary Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in dominating fashion in the main event of UFC 110 on Saturday to secure a spot as a top contender for the UFC heavyweight title.

Velasquez v. Nogueira

The two ground specialists exchanged in a brief standup battle in the Acer Arena in Sydney, Australia.  Velasquez landed a combo, which sent Nogueira to the canvas and he quickly followed up with vicious ground and pound that left Nogueria unconscious.  Referee Herb Dean called for a knockout stoppage, putting an end to the contest at 2:20 in the first round.

“We’ll see what happens with Mir and Carwin – see who wins that – and if the guys come out unscathed, they’ll fight for the title,” said UFC president Dana White at the post-fight press conference.  ”If not, then Cain Velasquez will get that spot.”

Velasquez’s performance earned him “Knockout of the Night” honors along with a $50,000 bonus.

The co-main event featured another legendary brazilian fighter and Pride FC champion in Wanderlei Silva, who squared off against Michael Bisping.  The contest saw both fighters standing and exchanging for the majority of the fight.

Bisping took Silva down several times in the first and second rounds, but was unable to keep him down once on the ground.  Silva caught him in a tight arm-in guillotine off of a Bisping takedown attempt with about 15 seconds left in the second round, but was unable to force a tap.

Silva v. Bisping

Bisping landed two fouls which briefly stopped the action in the middle of the third round: first a kick to the cup of Silva and then a finger to the eye.  Silva took the offensive, coming out swinging for the fences in the last two minutes of the fight.  Silva rushed Bisping and landed a right hook to drop him just before the final bell.

Silva was awarded a unanimous decision with all three judges scoring the contest 29-28 in his favor.

Bisping disagreed with the official decision. “It’s a close fight, but personally, I thought I won rounds one and two,” he said during the post-fight conference.  He also stated that he would love a rematch with Silva in the future.

Australian native George Sotiropoulos defeated Joe Stevenson by unanimous decision in a thrilling and extremely technical match.  Sotiropoulos controlled the fight on the feet, dropping Stevenson in the second and put him in several dangerous situations on the ground utilizing his superior submission game.

All three judges scored the contest 30-27 in a dominant victory for Sotiropoulos.  The match was named the “Fight of the Night” and earned both fighters a $50,000 bonus.

The Ultimate Fighter season eight winner Ryan Bader took down and controlled Keith Jardine on the ground in the first round of the second main-card fight.  Jardine controlled the second round with strong punches and leg kicks and was able to stuff the takedown attempts of Bader.

Bader landed a right hand that hurt Jardine in the third and quickly followed up with a flying knee to the body and a left hook, which dropped Jardine to the canvas.  Referee Josh Rosenthal called for a knockout stoppage, putting an end to the fight at 2:10 of the third round.

Cro Cop v. Perosh

In the first main card fight Croatian legend and Pride FC champion Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic faced overmatched Australian native Anthony Perosh.  Cro Cop was originally scheduled to face former IFL champion Ben Rothwell who was forced to withdraw just days before the event due to illness.  Perosh took the fight on two days notice.

Cro Cop controlled the fight, landing devastating strikes in the standup and denying Perosh’s numerous takedown attempts.  Perosh continually went for the takedown only to end up in Cro Cops sprawl and to receive brutal ground and pound.

Cro Cop landed a powerful elbow from inside the guard, opening up a cut above Perosh’s eye with about a minute left in the second round.  Cro Cop was awarded a TKO (cut) victory at the end of the second round after a dominant performance.

The “Submission of the Night” along with a $50,000 bonus was awarded to Chris Lytle who countered a takedown from Brian Foster to lock in a kneebar, putting an end to the preliminary card bout at 1:41 of the first round.

UFC 110 marked the organizations first trip to Australia and proved extremely successful for the UFC.  The event saw the second-fastest ticket sell-out in the 16-year history of the UFC.  Dana White announced his intentions to return, to Melbourne, Australia for an event in 2011, during the post-fight press conference.

UFC 110 – FULL

Bisping-Silva Should Impress

Michael Bisping (ufcmedia.com)

Australia is currently the hotspot for MMA action, as we get ready for UFC 110, which will occur in Sydney. Highlighting the Main Card is the much anticipated Nogueira vs. Velasquez. However, there is another fight that may draw more attention.

Only separated by three years of age, middleweights Wanderlei Silva (33) and Michael Bisping (30) are more dramatically separated by eight years of professional experience. With his first professional bout in 1996, Silva has risen to become not only a great fighter at 32-10-1 (1 NC), but also a great leader and teacher, starting his own fight team (Wand) in Las Vegas, Nev.

Bisping, on the other hand, began his professional career in 2004 at Pride & Glory 2: Battle of the Ages, in which he won the fight in 0:38 with an armbar over Steve Matthews (2-4-0). Since then, Bisping has generated an 18-2 record – his only losses occurring within the past two years. He was undefeated with a record of 14-0 until a loss to Rashad Evans (14-1-1) in 2007 at UFC 78 on a split decision.

More recently, Bisping, also known as “The Count,” added his only other loss against United States wrestling specialist Dan Henderson. Prior to the fight, which occurred at UFC 100 in Las Vegas, Nev., Bisping and Henderson squared off in a different venue: The Ultimate Fighter: United States vs. United Kingdom. Bisping coached the UK’s team, as he grew up in Clitheroe, Lancashire.

In a fight with implications of a shot at Anderson Silva for the Middleweight Championship Belt, Bisping looked to improve his record to 15-1 and contendership, but Henderson had other plans. In what seemed to be an evenly matched first round, both fighters exchanged blows using their hands and feet, which is not surprising, beings that Bisping’s style indicates a background in kickboxing, BJJ and Muay Thai.

By the end of the round, it was quite obvious that Wolfslair MMA Academy’s own, Bisping, was fatigued, and at 3:20 in the second round, after another match of punches and kicks from both fighters, Henderson landed two big punches to defeat Bisping via an absolutely ruthless knockout.

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Bisping would rebound nicely, as he ventured off to his homeland of England where he would face off against Canadian BJJ specialist Denis Kang at UFC 105 in Manchester.

The fight would win Fight of the Night honors, and featured a much different Bisping. Contrary to Bisping’s prior fight, his opponent gained complete control of the first round, mounting Bisping twice in the early-going.

Bisping followed with a statement kick to the head, which grazed Kang, and then followed up with two of his own takedowns. After a few jabs and another takedown, Bisping mounted Kang and finished him off with punches and knees. The referee stopped the fight at 4:24 of the second round, declaring Bisping the winner by TKO.

So, will Silva’s quick and aggressive Muay Thai and BJJ style, paired with the extra eight years of professional experience, bode well for the 18-2 Bisping? Bisping certainly thinks so, especially after tweaking his defensive posture, according to an interview on Bisping’s website.

Bisping vs Silva (mmafight.com)

“I’ve been working a lot of my defense, obviously since the Dan Henderson fight,” he commented. “I had no choice. I got knocked out there, and I’m not in a rush for that to happen again. I’ve been working on my defense, and I’ve got no qualms standing with Wanderlei.”

UFC 110 will air on February 21, 2010, and we will find out if Bisping has what it takes to handle a veteran and rank among the top middleweights in the world.

Velasquez, Rising Up the Ranks

Cain Ramirez Velasquez, one of  the UFC’s rising stars in the now stacked heavyweight division, looks to prove himself as a top contender for the title with a win this Saturday at UFC 110.

Cain Velasquez

The main event of UFC 110 will feature Velasquez, 27, facing off against Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (32-5-1, 1 NC) in Sydney, Australia.  Velasquez holds a perfect professional MMA record of 7-0, with six of his wins coming by way of knockout or TKO.  He holds a 5-0 record in UFC competition.

Velasquez first developed his strong wrestling base at Kofa High School, located in Yuma, AZ, where he became a two-time 5A state champion.  He went on to become a two-time All American collegiate wrestler at Arizona State and a Junior College National Champ at Iowa Central Community College.

As an American MMA fighter based out of California, Velasquez strongly embraces and takes pride in his Mexican descent.  He is currently fighting out of American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, CA.

Velasquez’s lone decision victory came in his fight against French kickboxing ace Cheick Kongo (14-6-1) on June 13 at UFC 99. Velasquez dominated the fight on the ground scoring a unanimous decision: 30-26, 30-27, 30-25.

Despite the one-sided nature of the judges’ scores, the fight did reveal weaknesses in Velasquez’s game and was perhaps his only professional MMA fight to do so.  He was caught with big shots, which seemingly hurt him and forced him to go for the takedown at the beginning of each round.

This demonstrated a weakness of Velasquez leaving himself too open to strikes while looking for the takedown, or poor striking defense in the stand-up in general.  However Velasquez weathered Kongo’s devastating blows and took the upper hand, which demonstrated a phenomenal chin.

In his next fight Velasquez ran through a top-level opponent and showed unquestionable progression as a complete MMA fighter.  Velasquez took down Ben Rothwell (30-7) with seemingly little effort and battered him on the the ground  for a TKO victory on October 24 at UFC 104.

Velasquez controlled Rothwell on the ground and in the clinch, reigning down blows until the fight was stopped in the second round (0:58).  Rothwell had very little response or defense to Velasquez’s game plan.

Velasquez’s strong wrestling skills were undoubtedly the most pivotal part of his game in his last two octagon appearances.  However, his takedown offense and strong ground game may not be as relevant in his upcoming fight, as they may present dangerous situations for him against submission specialist Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.

Nogueira holds a black belt in both brazilian jiu jitsu and judo.  Velasquez holds just a purple belt in brazilian jiu jitsu.  Nogueira’s technical ground game and particularly his strong submission skills will pose a challenge to Velasquez’s wrestling game.

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Of Nogueira’s 31 career wins, 20 have come by way of submission.  Velasquez will likely break away from his normal game plan and possibly even change his training regiment in order to counter this threat.  It would not be out of the ordinary to see a stand up battle between two ground experts.

Another title shot for Nogueira reigns possible

As Ultimate Fighting Championship hits Australia for the first time viagra cheap at UFC 110 on Feb. 20, 2010, heavyweight Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira looks to add his 33rd win in MMA competition.

Nogueira vs Velasquez will occur at UFC 110

Nogueira (32-5-1, 1 NC), 33, represents Brazil as he takes a trip to Sydney to highlight the main card at UFC 110 against undefeated heavyweight United States figher Cain Velasquez (7-0-0).

Despite Velasquez’ winning record and fierce wrestling style, Nogueira, also known as Minotauro, brings experience to the table with a black belt in both Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Judo.

Although Nogueira only has five losses, one of those losses came in one of his last two bouts, and was not pretty for the Vitoria da Conquista, Brazil native. UFC 92 (12-27-2008) in Las Vegas, Nev. marked the end of a reign for Minotauro. When 3-1 underdog Frank Mir took the octagon, he immediately took control of the fight, knocking down Nogueria twice with boxing moves. In the second round, Nogueria tried to establish his jabs, but Mir continued to land the big shots, finishing off with back-to-back left hands and the referee stopping the fight. With 1:54 in the second round, Nogueria lost the bout and the UFC Interim Heavyweight Championship.

Nogueira would fare better in his next fight, which occurred Aug. 29, 2009 at UFC 102. The event would have taken place about one year earlier had Randy Couture not retired in Oct. 2007. In the meantime, Nogueira would win the UFC Interim Heavyweight Championship and become the first fighter to ever hold both PRIDE and UFC belts.

Couture and Nogueira squared off in what would be known as the “loser’s bracket” of the UFC’s mini heavyweight tournament. However, the fight also highlighted the event, being named “Fight of the Night” when all was said and done.

Couture opened the fight strong with some great avoidance and defensive tactics to remain in the stand up game. Eventually, Nogueira’s fists took advantage, taking Couture to the ground and allowing him to get a tight brabo choke on Couture. The second round saw Couture in one of his weaker states, the half guard, for most of the round. Finally, things slow down as Nogueira slowed down his offensive attacks in round three. Despite Couture’s late round efforts with some ground blows, it was not enough. Nogueira took the fight with a unanimous decision: 30-27, 30-27, 29-28.

Looking towards UFC 110, Nogueira sees that a win will likely earn him the right for a future title bout – an honor that his undefeated opponent, Velasquez, will not let go easily. Velasquez has built a reputation to be one of the most talked about heavyweights in the mixed martial arts world, today.

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If Velasquez has any chance of winning this fight, it is with a technical and sound game. Nogueira on the other hand would be best suited to stick to his normal routine, where he has proven that he can win over 80-percent of the time.

AKA Fighters, Staying Hard at Work

Fighters at the American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) have been very busy in the past month, many making a name for themselves, as fighters, in mainstream MMA, and others hope to improve their reputation in upcoming months.

Javier Mendez

The American Kickboxing Academy is a gym located in San Jose, California.  AKA’s training staff members have diverse sets of martial skills and come from very different backgrounds.  This diversity is the gym’s greatest strength, because it allows for the development of more well-rounded and intelligent MMA fighters.

AKA gained notoriety due to its talented and experienced training staff, as well as Javier “Thunder” Mendez’s success as a kickboxer and MMA trainer.  Mendez, the owner and head trainer at AKA, is a former ISKA World Kickboxing champion and Martial art practitioner with over 25 years of experience in various martial arts.

One fight UFC veteran “Crazy” Bob Cook is the head MMA trainer and head manager for MMA fighters at AKA. Cook holds a 5-0 undefeated record in MMA.  His last fight was at UFC 24 in March of 2000 in which he submitted Tiki Ghosen by rear-naked choke.

Head grappling coach David Camarillo is a black belt in both judo and brazilian jiu jitsu.  Camarillo holds various accomplishments, including winning several high-caliber grappling competitions and even winning the 1998 Folsom Free Fighting Challenge, a no holds barred fighting competition.

The remaining instructors at AKA vary in discipline and experience from professional MMA fighters to former professional boxers and kickboxers, muay tai practitioners and grappling specialists.  They include Jerome Turcan, Travis Johnson, Mike Sotelo, Andy Fong, Derek Yuen, Josh Thomson, Gary Owens, Stacey D. Dupree and Daniel DeTagle.

AKA Fighters

Herschel Walker

AKA holds a roster with considerable talent and a diversity of fighters in terms of martial strengths.  Its current roster includes numerous UFC veterans, including Jon Fitch, Josh Koscheck, Mike Swick, Phil Davis, Josh Thomson, Cain Velasquez, Paul Buentello, Trevor Prangley, Christian Wellisch, Richard Crunkilton, Bobby Southworth and Kyle Kingsbury.  AKA also has many Strikeforce veterans, including former Middleweight champion Cung Le, Herschel Walker, Billy Evangelista, Daniel Puder, Daniel Cormier, Luke Rockhold, Justin Wilcox and Nate Moore.

AKA trains several fighters, competing in top-level organizations, who hold undefeated records.  These fighters include Phil Davis, Cain Velasquez, Billy Evangelista, Daniel Puder, Daniel Cormier and Herschel Walker

Phil Davis at UFC 109

Heisman trophy winner and 12 season NFL veteran Herschel Walker made his MMA debut on Jan. 30 at Strikeforce: Miami at the age of 47.  Walker took down and pummeled Greg Nagy, achieving a technical knock out in the third round (2:17).

Penn State graduate and NCAA wrestling champion Phil Davis won his UFC debut on Saturday at UFC 109.  Davis controlled the fight, dominating Brian Stann on the ground, and earned a unanimous decision victory.

Cain Velasquez will face off against Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in the main event of UFC 110 in Sydney, Australia on Feb. 21.  The winner will likely be a top-contender for the heavyweight title.

Cain Velasquez, Jon Fitch and Josh Koscheck at AKA

UFC welterweight contender Jon Fitch is scheduled to meet Thiago Alves at UFC 111 in Newark, NJ on Mar. 27.  Fitch is on a three fight win streak after losing a unanimous decision title match to Georges St. Pierre in August of 2008 at UFC 87.  Fitch defeated Alves by knock out in the second round (4:37) of their first meeting at UFC: Ultimate Fight Night 5 in June of 2006.

UFC welterweight contender Josh Koscheck is set to fight Paul Daley at UFC 113 in Montreal, Quebec on May 8.  Koscheck and Daley each hold a two fight win streak in the UFC coming into the fight.

AKA Fighters – Highlight Video

Fighters, Trainers at Black House, 'All Part of The Family,' says Ed Soares

Black House MMA is home to some of the most accomplished and promising fighters in all of MMA. Tough Media’s Ed Soares and viagra super active Jorge Guimaraes founded the private facility, based out of Los Angeles, CA, in order to provide a place for the fighters they represent to train when in the area.

Tough Media is a management company headed by Soares and Guimaraes, co-owners and operators of Black House MMA.

Guimaraes and Soares are extremely influential and successful figures in the MMA world.  Guimaraes came to America with the Gracie family and quickly became an ambassador for the sport of MMA.   Guimaraes has worked with Pride and the UFC and in 1997 launched “Passing The Guard,” a show focused on MMA news and coverage: the first of its kind.  Soares, owner of Sinister Brand Clothing, joined Guimares to produce the show on American television in April of 2004.

Ed Soares and Anderson Silva

“Black House is not so much a team, but a facility for all the fighters,” said Ed Soares in a recent interview via telephone.  ”Each fighter has a different set of trainers, depending upon who they’re fighting next and their strategy.  Each fighter has a camp tailored to his needs.”

Black House hosts an impressive list of MMA superstars including, UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva, UFC light-heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida, WEC featherweight champion Jose Aldo, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Junior Dos Santos, Pedro Rizzo, Paulo Filho, Wagney Fabiano, Thales Leites, Diego Nunes, Chase Gormley, Andre Galvao, Fabricio Camoes, Glover Teixeira, Mario Miranda and Rafael Cavalcante.

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Black House fighter and UFC heavyweight contender, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, has an upcoming match-up against Cain Velasquez on Feb. 21 in the main event of UFC 110. Nogueira left Brazilian Top Team to train with Black House in 2007 and has gone 3-1 in the UFC since.

Rodrigo Nogueria with trainer Luiz Alves

Nogueira is currently training in San Diego with training partners Mark Munoz and Junior Dos Santos, according to Soares. Nogueira is working with his boxing coach Luiz Dorea and his new muay tai coach Billy Schiebe in preparation for the fight.

Nogueira’s regular muay tai coach since 2000, Luiz Alves, suffered a stroke and crashed his car into a post in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil on Jan. 26. Alves, president of the Brazilian Muay Thai Federation, remains hospitalized. The accident marks a huge blow to Nogueira’s camp.

Dominant UFC middleweight champion and arguably the top pound-for-pound fighter in the world, Anderson Silva, is in preparation for his main event title defense against Vitor Belfort on Apr. 10 at UFC 112 in Abu Dhabi. Silva is currently training with coach Josuel Distak, a former trainer of Belfort, for his upcoming fight, according to Soares.

Anderson Silva's Training Crew

Silva is working with his muay thai coach Daniel Woirin, stregnth and conditioning coach Rogerio Camoes and boxing coach Cesario in preparation for the fight. He often works on his boxing with legendary trainer Freddie Roach as well.

Silva is working with his training partners, Andre Galvao, Rafael Cavalcante and Ronaldo Souza. Silva and Nogueira often train together as well.

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“It’s not so much the coaches. It’s the group of people he trains with. Anderson is different. He puts on a good camp,” said Soares.

Styles Make Fights – UFC 99: Velasquez vs. Kongo (G'N'P vs. Muay Thai)

In a matchup of immediate heavyweight contenders, the Cain Velasquez hype train continued to roar towards a UFC title shot as Velasquez shook off the challenge of Cheick Kongo to win a decision at UFC 99: The Comeback.

Cain Velasquez ran over Cheick Kongo for the UD win.

Cain Velasquez ran over Cheick Kongo for the UD win.

Velasquez felt the heavy hands of Kongo almost immediately in the first round, eating two quick punches by Kongo. However, Velasquez saved himself with a takedown and proceeded to run all over Kongo on the ground, almost finishing with a rear naked choke and slamming Kongo down hard whenever the French striker tried to stand up. In round two, Kongo swung for the fences and staggered Velasquez with a great hook, but Kongo then foolishly decided to clinch, and Velasquez rolled him into another takedown. Velasquez proceeded to pound on the gassed Kongo on the ground, riding out round two with knees to the body from back control.

In round three Kongo actually got a takedown to start the round, but it was more of the same on the ground as Velasquez swept Kongo and rained down more punishment. Kongo, however, was not done yet, getting up and then again getting the better of Velasquez on the feet until Velasquez snuffed out the comeback with a takedown, and rode out the round with ground strikes for the UD win.

It was a great display of heart from Kongo, which refused to give up and kept trying to punch back even when being dominated. But his ground game still needs a lot of work if he ever wants to contend for the title. Meanwhile, Velasquez gets his first signature win and dominated the stylistic matchup, but questions about his stand-up now arise after Kongo’s hands found their way through Velasquez’s defense more than once.

Cain Velasquez vs. Cheick Kongo: The Age Old Test

 

The increasingly expanding fan base of the fastest growing sport of the last decade, is about to make another major expansion. The UFC’s next event, UFC 99 The Comeback, is scheduled to take place in Germany, making this UFC event the first ever to take place in mainland Europe. With one of the UFC’s most promising events, comes an exciting fight card filled with UFC superstar hopefuls and jam-packed with talent and excitement. Among the most exciting fights on the main card is the heavy weight bout between Cain Velasquez of San Jose, California, and Cheick Kongo of Paris, France. In a card packed with exciting bouts, the heavyweight fight between Velasquez and Kongo is a stand out. 

Many eyes of the mixed martial arts world are focused on Cain Velasquez.  Velasquez, a 26 year old Mexican-American who is undefeated in the UFC with five wins all by way of knock out, has a heralded high school and collegiate wrestling background. A two-time state wrestling champion from Kofa High School in Arizona, he also was a junior college national wrestling champ at Iowa Central Community College, and a two-time All-American at Arizona State University. Velasquez is young, exciting, and full of potential.

Cheick Kongo is a 34 year-old Frenchman and a longtime established legitimate contender in the heavyweight division. He was brought in as a replacement for Heath Herring who had to withdraw from the fight due to illness. Kongo was a former kick boxer who went 19-2 before he entered the UFC in 2006 at UFC 61, and was already 7-2-1 in MMA bouts. He has since proven to be a legitimate force in the heavyweight division, having amassed a career UFC record of 14-4-1.

Kongo will be Velasquez’s biggest challenge yet, and one of Velasquez’s major stepping stones in becoming a UFC sensation. Velasquez knows this and has prepared himself for a war. In a recent interview with popular sports blog and news site, FANHOUSE, Velasquez made it clear that he was aware of the challenge ahead. In response to the question of Kongo being his toughest test yet, Velasquez let us know his feelings on the matchup, “Yes. I think with every fight it’s gotten tougher for me, and Kongo is on a winning streak and is my toughest fight to date, for sure.”

All eyes will be watching on June 13th when UFC 99 makes history at Lanxess Arena in Cologne, Germany, and those eyes will be particularly focused on Velasquez – Kongo. Velasquez being a wrestler, naturally looks for take down and submission opportunities. He has a large gas tank and prefers to wrestle it out on the ground, forcing his opponents into submission and then pounding them with punches. Kongo prefers to keep the fight off the ground until he can make a finishing move.  Having a large kickboxing background, Kongo trades punches with most of his opponents until they go down, at which point he smothers them on the ground with punches, elbows, and hammer fists. It will be very interesting to see which style has the upper hand in this fight: the punch and distance approach or the ground game. 

Although they are not headlining the event, their fight is sure to be one of the most exciting of the night on a main card and undercard with six scheduled fights. Their fight is the classic test of age and experience against youth and vigor. Velasquez will either persevere and prove to all UFC fans that he is the real deal, or Kongo will show that he still has what it takes to be a major contender in the sport.

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When they meet this Saturday, June 13th, order the fight on Pay Per View, or watch the round by round coverage on ESPN.

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