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Elite eight - Cain Velasquez's defining moments

At the top of the heavyweight mountain for most of his UFC career, Cain Velasquez will look to get back there on Saturday, February 6 when he takes on Fabricio Werdum in their UFC 196 rematch. With a win, Velasquez will join Randy Couture as the only fighters to win the UFC heavyweight crown three times, and that victory would undoubtedly find a home on this list of the Mexican-American battler’s defining moments.

Buy tickets now for the rematch between heavyweight Fabricio Werdum and Cain Velasquez

UFC 83 - Brad Morris (WATCH ON UFC FIGHT PASS)
April 19, 2008
Result:
 Velasquez TKO1
If you had the opportunity to speak to the American Kickboxing Academy’s Javier Mendez back in 2006, you probably would have heard about Cain Velasquez two years before his UFC debut, and not just because he was a two-time All-American wrestler at Arizona State, but because he was the Next Big Thing in the sport. It was a lot to throw on the shoulders of the soft-spoken Velasquez, but when he entered the Octagon in his third pro fight to face Brad Morris, he fought like he had been here for years, stopping his foe in 2:10 before a packed house at Montreal’s Bell Centre. Big fights, big crowds? They would soon become routine for Mr. Velasquez.

UFC 99 - Cheick Kongo (WATCH ON UFC FIGHT PASS)
June 13, 2009
Result:
 Velasquez unanimous decision
Though it’s gotten lost in the shuffle of his spectacular knockouts of Minotauro Nogueira and Brock Lesnar, the fight where Cain Velasquez grew up was against French striker Cheick Kongo. The decision read 30-27 across the board for Velasquez, but before he got to that point he had to pick himself up off the canvas after eating some hellacious shots from Kongo. But as we saw that night, when hurt, Velasquez was instinctively able to go back to what he knew best, and once he got Kongo to the mat, it was time to unload his ground strikes. On this night, you got the feeling Mendez was right – Velasquez was something special.

UFC 104 - Ben Rothwell (WATCH ON UFC FIGHT PASS)
Oct. 24, 2009
Result:
 Velasquez TKO2
Poor Ben Rothwell. The seasoned vet finally gets his call to the UFC, and who does he get to face first? Velasquez. And in California no less. So while the odds were stacked against “Big Ben,” Velasquez made everything that much worse with a second round TKO victory that kept his unbeaten record intact and set the stage for even bigger and better things in 2010.

UFC 110 - Minotauro Nogueira (WATCH ON UFC FIGHT PASS)
Feb. 20, 2010
Result:
 Velasquez TKO1
Like Junior Dos Santos’ respect for Mirko Cro Cop leading into their bout, Velasquez felt the same way about Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. Yeah, he may not have been the same guy who won the PRIDE heavyweight title, but he was still Minotauro and still dangerous. So Velasquez did what you do the moment you see an opening against a dangerous opponent – you get him out of there. In the Acer Arena that afternoon in Sydney, you could hear the left hook that sent Nogueira down and out. That’s power. 

UFC 121 - Brock Lesnar (WATCH ON UFC FIGHT PASS)
Oct. 23, 2010
Result:
 Velasquez TKO1
2010’s Velasquez vs. Lesnar bout had all the drama and all the question marks you want from a big time heavyweight championship bout, and while Lesnar provided the drama with an all-out assault on his challenger at the opening bell, Velasquez delivered the answers to all questions about being too small to beat a giant like Lesnar, as he knocked the big man out in the seconds round to become the UFC heavyweight champion of the world.

UFC 146 – Antonio Silva (WATCH ON UFC FIGHT PASS)
May 26, 2012
Result:
 Velasquez TKO1
After any fighter suffers his first loss, you wonder how he will respond in the next fight. In the case of Velasquez, it only took three minutes and 36 seconds to get that answer, as he looked more focused, determined, and intense than ever before in blasting out Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva in the first round. If there was any doubt about his ability to bounce back and soar right back up to the top of the heavyweight division, it was gone after this night in Vegas.

UFC 155 – Junior Dos Santos (WATCH ON UFC FIGHT PASS)
Dec. 29, 2012
Result:
 Velasquez unanimous decision
With the pressure to not only win back his title but to do it against the man who handed him his only loss, Velasquez dug deep and delivered one of his defining performances, hurting Dos Santos early and dominating him the rest of the way to win a five round unanimous decision and get his championship belt back.

UFC 166 – Junior Dos Santos (WATCH ON UFC FIGHT PASS)
Oct. 19, 2013
Result:
 Velasquez TKO5
Velasquez’ last win in October of 2013 may have been his scariest, as he delivered a punishing defeat to Dos Santos in the conclusion of their trilogy at UFC 166 in Houston. Firing on all cylinders from start to finish, Velasquez was relentless, and while he’s had other performances that looked more spectacular on a highlight reel, he was never more ferocious and effective than he was in stopping “Cigano.”

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