At UFC 99 Cain Velasquez proved to many critics that he is the real deal. Prior to his fight with Cheick Kongo he was described as a beast, and one of the best fighters his American Kickboxing Academy has ever seen. It was difficult to understand how the man with only 5 pro fights could be lauded with such little experience inside the cage. Saturday in Germany Cain showed more in his 15 minute dismantling of Kongo, than he had shown in his all his 5 prior fights combined. We saw that Cain has an excellent chin as he took 3 hard shots from Kongo to kick off the 1st and 2nd rounds, but quickly recovered to secure a double leg and put Kongo on his back. A place Kongo would stay for 95% of the fight.
He also showed incredible control on the ground. Kongo’s wrestling is below average to say the least, but for Cain to be able to put Cheik on his back and keep him there with such ease as he continued a 15 minute brutal ground and pound was impressive on all accounts. When the new rankings come out on Monday, don’t be surprised to see Cain Velasquez name in the top 10.
So what is next for Cain and the heavyweight division? The UFC heavyweight division has gone from dismal to excellent over the last year and a half. With the additions of Brock Lesnar, Big Nog and the reemergence of Frank Mir and Randy Couture the UFC Heavyweight class has never looked better.
To this date, the two biggest prospects who are also the most unproven would be Cain Velasquez and none other than Shane Carwin. Carwin is an animal who has gone 11-0 as a pro, is an excellent wrestler himself and would bring a size advantage into this fight. He has also never gone past the first round. But at this stage of his career, he needs one more significant win to solidify his spot for a title shot. They both do.
The winner of this fight would certainly be in line for a title shot, but it’s clear than either Carwin or Cain has to have one more impressive performance, before receiving that opportunity. And it looks like it will come against each other.
You should see Carwin vs. Velasquez on billboards near you in the not so distant future. Unlike some fights, this should be a heavyweight match up for the ages.