- PASSING OF THE TORCH: VELASQUEZ KO’S NOG

February 21, 2010
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by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
It may have been a passing of the torch in the heavyweight division as young lion, Cain Velasquez, knocked out legendary former Pride and UFC champion, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in the first round of their heavyweight main event at UFC 110.

Coming from an impressive background in wrestling, Cain Velasquez looked more like a seasoned kickboxer on Sunday afternoon in Australia as he beat Nogueira to the punch over and over again in their fight.

The Brazilian looked slow tossing his jab out as the American Kickboxing Academy heavyweight threw a series of combinations that continuously tagged Nogueira early.

As the fighters stepped in for an exchange, Velasquez uncorked a huge right hand that rocked Nogueira, and the Arizona State alum followed up with a left before the former Pride champion dropped to the mat. Quick to follow up, Velasquez blasted away with a few more quick shots as Nogueira went limp and referee Herb Dean rushed in for the stoppage.

A very humble Cain Velasquez showed great respect for his opponent after getting the biggest win of his young career.

“I’d just like to thank Nogueira, I look up to him,” Velasquez stated after getting the win. “We were planning on just push the pace wherever we could. Stay on the outside, work the stand-up, and when the takedown was there take it. Just keep him off balance the whole time.”

Facing a hungry young heavyweight, Nogueira stumbled in his quest to get back to a title shot, but still got a warm ovation from the Australian crowd for the legend that he truly is.
“He had the fast hands tonight, and he deserved to win,” Nogueira said with humility following the loss.

It may be a phrase popularized in professional wrestling by Ric Flair, but it seems only fitting with Velasquez’s huge win over Nogueira. “To be the man, you have to beat the man.” That’s exactly what the former All-American wrestler did, while vaulting himself to title contention in the heavyweight division.

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