October of 2013.

This was the last time the Mexican Mauler which, is Cain Velasquez, stepped into the octagon.

The injury prone champion is finally set to do battle south of the border in Mexico City on Saturday, June 13. The landscape of the heavyweight division looks slightly different from when the champion left. Velasquez will be taking on interim champion, Fabricio Werdum. Let’s take a look at what the champ needs to do to unify the belts.

Press on the Gas

There’s no denying that Velasquez has more endurance than any other heavyweight on the planet. A smothering wrestling/striking combination has sucked the life out numerous opponents. While his opponent is no slouch in the cardio department, I think Velasquez has a considerable edge. Velasquez likes to march forward and throw punches in combinations then mixing in takedowns. Even when the takedown doesn’t work, Velasquez is great at chaining strikes off of it.  This makes it hard for his opponents to settle in. Keeping the challenger off balance with high volume attack could be the biggest weapon Velasquez brings to the cage.

Cage Fighting

Not only is AKA, the champ’s home gym, but it’s a great wrestling gym; Cain was a Division 1 wrestler. Being able to dictate where the fight goes is a huge advantage over any opponent. Going to the ground with Werdum may not be the smartest thing to do, however. Velasquez has an impressive 89% takedown defense accuracy, so good luck taking him down to the ground. As Velasquez showed in his last fight against Dos Santos, he has the ability to keep his opponents against the cage and smother them with aggression. It’s a safe strategy to stay away from the unorthodox striking of Werdum, as well as staying away from one of the best ground games in MMA. Look for the champ to use this strategy to slow Werdum and try and snatch the belt from his waist in the later rounds.

Don’t Hesitate

Many questions surround the champion in regards to his training methods as well as a fragile body.  If Velasquez comes out slow, it will give Werdum confidence.  It will pay off greatly for Velasquez to come out strong to dictate the mindset of the fight.  A confident, aggressive Velasquez is hard to handle, while a slow start may give his opponent confidence to take over. Confidence is a huge intangible in the fight game and Velasquez needs to have it.

Velasquez has all the tools to be the greatest heavyweight of all time.  The biggest adversary to this title has been injury.  This Saturday night we’ll see if the champion is able to overcome injury, as well as a layoff, to become undisputed heavyweight kingpin.

About The Author

Josh Cate
Staff Writer

Josh Cate started his martial arts training 27 years ago. Josh become instantly passionate about the arts. One road led to another in his journey. Josh holds the rank of 2nd degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do, 2nd degree black belt in Shingitai Jiu-jitsu, 2nd degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and Brown belt in Judo. In 1998 he had his first professional MMA bout. A bronze medalist at the BJJ nationals, gold medalist at the Jiu-jitsu World Cup, NAGA national champion are a just a few of the many awards on Josh's list of accomplishments. Aside from owning and operating Team Kaos MMA/BJJ in Knoxville, Tennessee, Josh has started working with Valor Fighting Championships and occasionally writes for mma websites. Be on the lookout for the Full Frontal MMA podcast that he is getting ready to launch as well. Josh is truly grateful for all of the opportunities MMA has given him and looks forward to this chapter with The MMA Corner!