LAS VEGAS – Vintage Cain Velasquez was on display Saturday in his heavyweight bout with Travis Browne to open the main card of UFC 200 at T-Mobile Arena.
Velasquez overwhelmed Browne, who was never in the fight, from the very beginning. He hit him with fists, kicks, elbows and flung him to the ground when he needed.
It was reminiscent of the seemingly unbeatable guy who defeated Brock Lesnar in 2010 to win the heavyweight title and who delivered frightful beatings to the likes of Junior dos Santos and Antonio “Big Foot” Silva.
“It feels good,” Velasquez said. “Travis fights hard, and it feels good to come back and win. I want to fight the best guys. I want to fight for the title, yeah. If the UFC wants it, I’ll do it, but I want to fight the best guys.”
Browne is one of the best, but he was overwhelmed by Velasquez, who was too quick, too strong and too powerful for him.
Velasquez has battled a series of injuries and lost his heavyweight title to Fabricio Werdum in Mexico City on June 13, 2015.
There was speculation that the years of wrestling and his hard training style had taken a toll on his body and that he could no longer be effective at the highest level.
But he dispelled that myth quickly Saturday. He hit Browne with a spinning kick to the head, and dumped him with a flurry of shots.
It was probably the best he’s looked since he beat dos Santos at UFC 166 on Oct. 19, 2013.