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The readers always write and I usually have an answer. And after Cain Velasquez's dramatic knockout of Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in the main event of UFC 110 on Saturday in Sydney, Australia, there are plenty of comments and questions about Velasquez' place in the heavyweight hierarchy.
I'll tackle those questions, plus many more, in this week's edition of the MMA mailbag.
When I talk about Lesnar, let's assume he hasn't lost anything from his bout with diverticulitis, which admittedly we won't know until he fights. Having said that, I would favor Brock at this point, but Velasquez is improving rapidly and the more time he has before he fights Lesnar, I believe his chances would increase. Yes, Brock will have a huge size advantage, but Randy Couture was doing well and even took Lesnar down before getting knocked out. If they fought in July, I'd favor Brock; if it were in, say, December, I'd probably go with Cain. He's such a hard worker and he adds so much each time you see him, I think he'll eventually catch Brock. But I think this scenario is setting up for multiple fights between Velasquez-Lesnar, Lesnar-Mir, Mir-Carwin, Carwin-Velasquez, etc. And, no, I'm not forgetting Junior dos Santos. He's in that mix, too.
While I agree that Cain is now among the elite, I disagree that he has faced the right competition. Against Nogueira, his game plan was obviously to stand with him. Against Cheick Kongo, his game plan was to take him down. Let's put Cain against someone who is proven on both the ground and standup. Let's put him against the loser of the Mir/Carwin fight or maybe even dos Santos.
Fort Collins, Colo.
Your point is well-taken, Jacob, and I believe Cain will continue to improve. I don't think he's nearly as good as he will become and which he'll prove when he fights the elite fighters in the world.
Wow, UFC 110 was a good card. I believe Cain is a real threat now. I believe he could potentially face Brock Lesnar now but I believe one more test is in the works. I see Cain taking on the winner of the March 21 dos Santos-Gabriel Gonzaga fight. What do you think?
Cain's next opponent will depend upon the health of the winner of the March 27 Mir-Carwin fight in Newark, N.J. If the winner is healthy (which he theoretically should be given there will three-four months before Lesnar is ready to compete), he will face Lesnar. If not, Cain will take that position. We'll know for sure after the fight on March 27.
Harbor City, Calif.
Some of the best fight fans in the world are in Mexico and other Spanish-speaking countries and they're no doubt important to the sport's growth and development.
UFC public-relations whiz Ant Evans deserves credit for this one. He's the one who got Cro Cop to attend the news conference. Cro Cop is a popular fighter and a bright guy and he should make himself more accessible. That will increase not only his own visibility and popularity, but the sport's as well. He's probably going to fight Ben Rothwell in his next outing. White said he wanted to make the fight quickly, since Rothwell pulled out of UFC 110 just 48 hours before the bout with stomach flu. Cro Cop didn't suffer any injuries, so I'd think this fight could occur any time beginning with say, UFC 113-115.
Fort Worth, Texas
Silva is close to a full-time move to light heavyweight, though he's not anxious to surrender the middleweight title. UFC president Dana White said if and when Silva moves up to 205, he'd face a No. 1 contender in his first outing and then get a title shot if he won that. I do think he'd be highly successful at 205, though not as dominant as he has been in the UFC at middleweight. I also think he could win fights at heavyweight, as well, and actually be one of the top heavyweights. Size would be an issue for him against guys like Carwin and Lesnar, but I believe he'd do very well against most of the heavyweights.
I'll favor Jackson in this fight, as well. He isn't close to being in shape now, though his Muay Thai coach, Dave Jackson, insists he's already working hard. But I saw him in Australia and he looked plenty plump to me. I was also surprised to see him smoking a cigarette. But if Rampage is in shape and committed, I think he's definitely the favorite.
That's one of the flaws in the 10-point must system, Jonathan. I agree with you. Judges need to use the extra point more liberally to differentiate between rounds. I've seen countless fights where Fighter A barely squeezes out two rounds and is given 10-9 for each of them and then Fighter B dominates the third and is also given a 10-9. If you look at the bout as a whole, you'd say Fighter B won, but Fighter A gets the decision. I think judges need to use the 10-8 more and it would lead to more just outcomes.
He's safe. No matter what happens, White has made clear he'll have a place for Silva because of the way he fights. If you stall and fight cautiously, you may get axed. But White loves Silva's all-out style and said repeatedly during the buildup to UFC 110 that Silva was in no danger, regardless of the outcome.
It's a major problem, James, but I think it would be handled like boxing. I think the length of the rounds may be cut from five to three and there would likely be some sort of headgear. I would also guess elbows would be banned as well as knees to the head. No matter how it is, it would be a modified version of the pro game. And truth be told, it's the same in boxing.
I doubt he'll go straight to a championship bout, Matthew, regardless of who wins the UFC 112 main event in Abu Dhabi between Anderson Silva and challenger Demian Maia. I'd expect Belfort to have at least one fight, if not two, before fighting for the title.
- Brock Lesnar
- Cain Velasquez
- Shane Carwin
- Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira