Velasquez deserves title shot

NEIL SPRINGER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:58 AM ET

Prior to his fight with Antonio Rodrigo (Minotauro) Nogueira, Cain Velasquez said, “To be a legend, you have to beat a legend.”

At UFC 110 in Sydney, Australia, he did just that.

After lighting up Nogueira (32-6-1) with a series of stiff punches and leg kicks, Velasquez (8-0) dropped the former PRIDE heavyweight champion with a big right hook. With Nogueira dazed, Velasquez went in for the kill, spelling the end of the bout.

In the lead up to the first Australian UFC event, company president Dana White said the winner between Velasquez and Nogueira could be next to challenge Brock Lesnar for the heavyweight title at UFC 116 on July 3.

However, Velasquez’s shot is dependent on the interim heavyweight championship bout involving Shane Carwin and Frank Mir at UFC 111 on March 27. If the winner is unable to face Lesnar (4-1), Velasquez will be given the opportunity.

With his one-sided mauling of Nogueira, one could argue Velasquez is more deserving than both Mir (13-4) and Carwin (11-0).

Mir was dominated by Lesnar last July at UFC 100 and has only fought once since, stopping Cheick Kongo at UFC 107 on Dec. 12. Meanwhile, Carwin’s biggest fight saw him earn a TKO victory over Gabriel (Napao) Gonzaga at UFC 96 almost a year ago.

SILVA WINS MIDDLEWEIGHT DEBUT

In his first fight at 185 pounds, Wanderlei (The Axe Murderer) Silva won a close decision over Michael (The Count) Bisping at UFC 110.

Having lost the first round to Bisping (18-3), Silva (33-10-1) snagged the second stanza with a guillotine choke attempt as time expired. The submission appeared to have left the TUF 3 winner winded as he returned to his corner.

Towards the end of the third round, the former PRIDE 205-pound champion dropped Bisping with a right hook and attempted to finish the fight with strikes on the ground. Time ran out once again, but it was enough to win the bout for Silva.

Though it wasn’t the kind of violent debut many were looking for, Silva earned a solid win over a tough opponent. He`s not deserving of a title shot yet, but has earned the right to face the division`s top competitors.

In his next bout, Silva will likely fight Yoshihiro Akiyama. The two were originally scheduled to face at UFC 110, but the match was switched up to include Bisping.

CRO COP NEEDS TO CUT GUYS OFF

Watching Mirko (Cro Cop) Filipovic compete in the UFC has been a surreal experience.

Few fighters have entered the organization with as much hype as the 2006 PRIDE grand prix champion. However, following six bouts in the octagon, Filipovic (26-7-2, 3-3 in UFC) still approaches UFC fights as if he were competing in a ring.

When Filipovic moves forward, he simply walks straight at his opponents. This works fine in a ring because you can trap people in the corners. However, in the octagon it only leaves them space to escape out the sides. If Filipovic just started stepping at a 45-degree angle to cut opponents off, he would back them up against the fence and could then unload with kicks and punches.

This isn`t meant to be critical of one of the best strikers in MMA history, but he still looks uncomfortable in the octagon.

FULL UFC 110 RESULTS

- James Te Huna def. Igor Pokrajac by third-round TKO (strikes)

- C.B. Dollaway def. Goran Reljic by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

- Chris Lytle def. Brian Foster by first-round submission (knee-bar)

- Krzysztof Soszynski def. Stephan Bonnar by third-round TKO (cut -- however, the cut was due to an accidental head-butt.)

- Mirko Filipovic def. Anthony Perosh by second-round TKO (cut)

- Ryan Bader def. Keith Jardine by first-round KO (punch)

- George Sotiropoulos def. Joe Stevenson by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

- Wanderlei Silva def. Michael Bisping by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

- Cain Velasquez def. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira by first-round KO (punches)


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