Cain Velasquez is now a legitimate heavyweight contender in the UFC. Oh sure, he’s been talked about as the most promising young fighter in the division for the past year, but until he beat a big dog, it was just that: talk.
Well, he finally beat a big dog. Big Nog, to be precise.
Velasquez knocked out Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira 2:20 into the first round at UFC 110 in Australia.
“We were planning just to push the pace wherever we could,” Velasquez said. “Stay on the outside, work the stand-up and when the takedown’s there, take it.”
Velasquez (8-0) connected with a right hand that floor Nogueira and followed it up with a series of punches before referee Herb Dean raced in to stop it.
Nogueira looked sluggish the entire bout, well, all 140 seconds of it. He barely got off any punches but certainly absorbed quite a few before the knockdown. Velasquez mixed his kicks and punches well and kept Nogueira off balance.
They’ll be some clamoring for Velasquez to fight Brock Lesnar for the title next, but I think he’s at least one fight away from that. If Lesnar isn’t ready to go this summer, we’ll likely see Velasquez step in to fight the Frank Mir-Shane Carwin winner. That fight is for the interim heavyweight title at UFC 111 in New Jersey on March 27. If Lesnar is ready to return to the Octagon this summer, he’ll get the Mir-Carwin winner. Perhaps Velasquez will face the loser.