Juan Manuel Marquez made many Mexicans proud with his brutal knockout victory against Manny Pacquiao on Dec. 8, and former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez is one of the them.
The Mexican American will get a chance to reclaim the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s heavyweight title when he faces Junior dos Santos on Dec. 29 at UFC 155 , and part of his motivation comes from Marquez’ success and a conversation the two had during a trip to Mexico.
“It’s a great motivation,” Velasquez said during a UFC 155 pre-fight press conference, transcribed by MMAMania.com. “I definitely want to step up and deliver a great performance like Marquez did. We both were on a plane to Mexico City and we talked for a bit there.”
Ironically, Marquez knocked Pacquiao out at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nev., which is where dos Santos and Velasquez will square up on Dec. 29. Like Marquez, Cain Velasquez will also be the underdog going into his UFC 155 encounter.
Will lightning strike twice?
Dos Santos made quick work out of Velasquez during their “UFC on Fox” encounter, dethroning the then undefeated heavyweight champion in only 64 seconds. Dos Santos’ boxing was the difference maker, as he caught Velasquez with well-timed counter before putting him away on the ground.
Obviously, Velasquez’ best bet would be to try to grind his way to victory at UFC 155, but taking dos Santos to the ground is no small feat. Besides having top notch takedown defense, the Brazilian is also good at scrambling back to his feet when he’s taken down.
Realistically speaking, Cain Velasquez will probably have to box his way to victory, but that won’t be an easy task. Dos Santos’ hands are as good as it gets in MMA, and it’s hard to see Velasquez consistently winning the striking exchanges.
Velasquez might eventually be forced to swing for the fences, hoping to catch “Cigano” with a big punch. Perhaps, he got a few pointers about landing that one big shot during his conversation with Marquez.