Velasquez vs. Rothwell
The co-headliner of UFC 104 is a heavyweight contest between two promising stars when Cain Velasquez faces Ben Rothwell.
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Velasquez enters the fight as the favorite with a betting line of -300 with Rothwell given a line of +220 according to online sports book SPORTSBETTING.com. Here is a closer look at both fighters heading into this bout, which will take place from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Calif. at 10PM ET on pay-per-view.
Cain Velasquez (6-0):
Strengths: Velasquez is still relatively new to the MMA scene with just six fights in his pro career, but already the proud Mexican is a top contender in the UFC heavyweight division. Velasquez has utilized his strong wrestling ability with frantic ground-and-pound to remain unbeaten. A two-time All American wrestler at Arizona State, Velasquez has transferred his wrestling success to the octagon, where he has been able to control fights on the ground. Not settling for a lay-and-pray victory, Velasquez unleashes a fury of fists and elbows when given the opportunity, making him a devastating fighter to face.
Weaknesses: So far Velasquez has look well-rounded, but his last fight at UFC 99 with Cheick Kongo showed that his standup striking may need some work. Kongo was able to rock Velasquez on numerous occasions, but was unable to put him away and Velasquez regrouped and took the fight to the ground where he controlled Kongo. For a heavyweight, Velasquez is somewhat small, coming in around 245 pounds. Velasquez may have size issues when meeting bigger fighters like UFC champion Brock Lesnar or Shane Carwin, or even Rothwell, who fights at the 265-pound maximum.
Last Five Fights:
Unanimous decision win over Cheick Kongo at UFC 99 on June 13, 2009
Second round TKO win over Denis Stojnic at UFC Fight Night 17 on Feb. 7, 2009
First round TKO win over Jake O’Brien at UFC Fight Night 14 on July 19, 2008
First round TKO win over Brad Morris at UFC 83 on April 19, 2008
First round TKO win over Jeremiah Constant at Bodog Clash of Nations on Dec. 16, 2006
Ben Rothwell (30-6):
Strengths: Rothwell is a well-rounded fighter that possesses a lot of skills. He may not have the typical fighter’s appearance, but he has powerful strikes and respectable submission skills. Rothwell likes to get his opponent’s to the ground and utilize his ground-and-pound striking to end fights, but if a submission presents itself, he will take that too. Rothwell has a lot of experience and has fought some of the best in the world, which should give him a level of poise for this fight.
Weaknesses: Rothwell does seem to lack conditioning to go deep in fights and Velasquez should be in better shape for this contest. Rothwell fatigued in his last loss, a third round knock out against Andrei Arlovski. Rothwell left his hands down as the fight went long and that opened him up for the knock out. This is also Rothwell’s UFC debut, which can be a tough experience for fighters. We have seen some of the best in the world struggle when they make it into the octagon, including Mauricio Rua and Mirko CroCop.
Last Five Fights:
First round submission win over Chris Guillen at AMMA 2 on Dec. 11, 2008
Third round KO loss to Andrei Arlovski at Affliction Banned on July 19, 2008
Unanimous decision win over Ricco Rodriguez at IFL 2007 Finals on Sept. 20, 2007
First round TKO win over Krzysztof Soszynski at IFL 2007 Semifinals on Aug. 2, 2007
Second round submission win over Travis Fulton at IFL Chicago on May 19, 2007
Who will win: I don’t see Rothwell winning this fight on the ground as Velasquez is a great wrestler that would have the advantage there. Rothwell has to win this fight on his feet, but I don’t think he has the ability to finish Velasquez. I see Velasquez setting a fast pace in the fight which will tire Rothwell in the later rounds, opening him up for an easy takedown that will give Velasquez a dominant position to finish the fight. Expect Velasquez to win by TKO from strikes in the third round.
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Posted: 10/21/09 11:36PM ET