Friday, October 22, 2010

Brock vs. Cain, the biggest heavyweight fight ever?

Could this weekend's main event @ UFC 121 between heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar (5-1, 2 KO's 2 subs) and number one contender Cain Velasquez (8-0, 7 KO's) be the biggest heavyweight fight ever? Hard to imagine that two fighters with a combined 14 professional fights between them could even be discussed in that manner, but then again these are no ordinary heavyweights.

Lesnar and Velasquez are like no other heavyweights ever seen in the sport before. They are the new breeds of heavyweight that are not only big and strong, but also agile and fast. Joe Rogan, color analyst for the UFC, has been quoted as saying, "Brock Lesnar is a genetic freak; a one in a million. A man that size that moves like a lightweight is unheard of." Lesnar stands @ 6'3" and weighed in for this weekend's fight @ just under the heavyweight limit @264lbs. Note, I said that's what he weighed in at; when he steps into the cage in Anaheim, CA, he'll probably be somewhere between 285-290lbs.

As for Velasquez, a mere shell of a man @ 6'2" 244lbs., he's been said to have the fastest hands in the heavyweight division. Pretty high praise considering his background is in wrestling. A former two-time All-American from Arizona State University and Junior College National Champion, Velasquez brings more than just fast hands to the game.

Oh, but did I mention Lesnar's credentials? He too is a former two-time All-American and National Champion. Only his championship was in Division One in 2000 while a senior @ The University of Minnesota. Add to that a career in professional wrestling at the highest level, The World Wrestling Entertainment, where he would go on to become World Champion.

Now before you scoff or even laugh at the idea that I would mentioned pro wrestling among his credits, just take a moment to think about this. The physical and emotional demands that are placed on someone in that position for nearly 300 days a year on the road. Need I say more?

That pedigree that both of these competitors bring to the game is also part of the new breed of heavyweights that have evolved in Mixed Martial Arts. Massive, strong, fast, agile and multi-skilled. Yet, there was a time when a 225lbs. fighter could compete with a much larger man, for example Randy Couture's epic win over Tim Sylvia @ UFC 68.

It was Couture who had the variables mentioned above while Sylvia was just big, that's it. However, as much as I hate to admit it that cannot happen today because the giants are on par with the smaller heavyweights in every facet of the game. Hence, Lesnar's defeat of Couture @ UFC 91. So, with all these variables in place for both Lesnar and Velasquez, who wins?

While it's hard to bet against Brock's massive size, I am going with Cain in the upset of the "invincible" one. My reasoning is simple, size and strength are the only advantages I see Lesnar having on Velasquez. The punching, kicking, jiu-jitsu and overall speed I give to Cain Velasquez. Plus, Lesnar showed in his last fight he can be dropped, when Shane Carwin blasted him in the first round; while Velasquez has shown he has a chin, as can be evidenced by the two flush right hands he took dead on the jaw from Cheick Kongo, yet kept coming.

"Kept coming", that is the ultimate reason I believe Velasquez will win this fight. I'm lucky enough to live next door to someone who knows both these men, especially Velasquez. Steve Mocco is a former two-times division one national champion @ heavyweight and a 2008 U.S. Olympian. He's currently coaching @ Lehigh University and while he never wrestled against Brock Lesnar, he has wrestled Cain Velasquez 14 times.

Those 14 times is why Mocco believes, as I do, that Cain can defeat Brock. According to Steve, "Cain is relentless; he won't stop coming. No matter what you do to him he keeps coming." When I asked Steve how relentless? He said, "in my entire career, I've never wrestled anyone other than Cain, that when the match was over, I was physically spent." When a multi-national champ and Olympian gives you that much praise, one has to take notice.

That one variable along with the other advantages I feel Cain has over Brock, are the reasons why I feel Cain Velasquez will pull off the upset this weekend. Taking all these factors into the equation,and the possibility that this fight may produce the first ever Mexican Heavyweight Champion in combat sports, its kind of hard to argue that this isn't the biggest heavyweight fight ever.

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