Cain Velasquez has reclaimed his place at the top of the UFC heavyweight division.
I saw hints of it when I watched him demolish Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva back at UFC 146. Velasquez gave us a prelude of what he was going to do in the championship fight against Junior Dos Santos at UFC 155. Although he did not finish Dos Santos in the fight, he certainly dominated Dos Santos for all five rounds.
Velasquez, who in the same year knocked out Antonio Rodrgio Nogueira and Brock Lesnar, and defeated the latter to win the UFC Heavyweight championship the first time.
As the UFC’s heavyweight division enters a new year, Velasquez could easily become a dominant champion similar to Anderson Silva, Georges St-Pierre and Jon Jones. The strength behind his takedowns and strikes, as well as his conditioning will make him a challenge for any fighter who steps up to face him.
Velasquez’s first challenge as champion will most likely be K-1, Strikeforce and Dream champion Alistair Overeem, if he can get past Silva when they face off at UFC 156.
With his kickboxing background, Overeem can certainly match the power of Dos Santos, however Velasquez certainly has the wrestling to neutralize Overeem’s ground game. There is also the factor of conditioning and Overeem has never been past the third round in a fight.
If not Overeem, then who? Other strikers like Roy Nelson and Stefan Struve, who both have extensive backgrounds in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, would still have to contend with Velasquez’s wrestling. Fighters with great ground skills like Fabricio Werdum or even Josh Barnett would have their chins tested against Velasquez’s power.
The next year will be a big one for Velasquez as and a challenging one for any other fighter in the heavyweight division.
How long do you think Velasquez will hold the title? Answer with a comment below or send a tweet to @alstover with the hashtag #RantMMA.