Cain “Meximelt” Velasquez will meet his next challenge at UFC 108 when he steps into the Octagon opposite Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. The 27-year-old has won five UFC fights in a row — four via stoppage — and was last seen tossing veteran Ben Rothwell around the cage at UFC 104. Nogueira is coming off of one of the biggest wins of his career as he was awarded a unanimous decision over Randy Couture in an exciting bout at UFC 102.
The winner of this fight will absolutely, positively fight the winner of the Brock Lesnar vs. Shane Carwin title bout which will hopefully take place on the same card, as long as Lesnar’s health improves. The winners of the upcoming Dos Santos vs. Gonzaga and Mir vs. Kongo fights will find themselves at the top of the contender list once the dust is settled.
Stylistically, Nogueira will be the favorite in this one. He’s had much more time to develop his striking and, as such, he delivers much crisper combinations than the less-seasoned Velasquez. On the floor, Velasquez won’t be able to manhandle Nogueira like he did Kongo and Rothwell, as the Brazilian is arguably the best heavyweight jiu-jitsu practicioner to ever strap on a pair of 4 oz gloves.
At the same time, the former Pride champion will be facing a younger, quicker, and possibly stronger fighter with a lot to gain and little to lose. Nogueira has shown the ability to take inhuman amounts of punishment in the past and it’s quite possible he’ll have to do the same at UFC 108 if he wants to get his hand raised at the end of the night.
It’s mixed martial arts, which means it’s anbody’s guess who walks out with another W on their record, but this fight will absolutely be an event in and of itself. Hell, I might even put on pants for it.