Cain Velasquez, Tactical Brawler

Discussion in 'UFC Discussion' started by Discipulus, Oct 18, 2013.

  1. Discipulus

    Discipulus Black Belt

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    Part two of this week's main event breakdown focuses on the current heavyweight champ, Cain Velasquez, who will be trying to prove that his first loss to Junior Dos Santos was indeed a fluke. I decided to focus on his excellent phase shifting, and how he has optimized his striking as a tool to enter into the clinch where he can work his powerful takedowns.

    Criticisms, compliments, death threats: let me know what you think. :)

    Cain Velasquez, Tactical Brawler

    Earlier today I wrote about Junior Dos Santos, who hopes to recapture the heavyweight title from Cain Velasquez after losing it over the course of a drawn out five round beating. Tomorrow will mark the third time the two men have fought, and will culminate a strange period in Cain Velasquez' remarkable career. First fighting for the belt with only eight bouts to his name, by tomorrow Cain will have spent the last three years and six bouts fighting just two opponents, twice crushing Antonio Silva, and now fighting a rubber match with Junior to determine who is indeed the better man.

    It is often said that the loser has an advantage in the rematch, and there is some merit to that. Junior Dos Santos went away from his last defeat knowing exactly what things needed working on. With a clear blueprint for improvement, he will undoubtedly have a different approach to this fight. Cain, on the other hand, had little difficulty with Junior the last time around, and so will perhaps be tempted to change nothing. Hopefully he hasn't spent his camp with that mindset, however, because he will need every tool available to him if Junior returns to the Octagon prepared.

    I already broke down the sequence that separated Cain Velasquez from consciousness in the Junior Dos Santos piece earlier today, but let's take a moment to get deeper into the method by which Cain was able to turn the tables on Cigano in the rematch.

    Brawling the Boxer

    Cain had more or less the perfect strategy for dealing with a fighter like JDS. Many criticized Cain's performance in the first fight, as he went for only one takedown. The fact that the fight only lasted 64 seconds didn't seem to matter. Cain is a wrestler, gosh darnit, and he's expected to go for takedowns. Keeping the criticisms in mind, Cain shot for a takedown in the first ten seconds of the first round of the second fight, and continued the wrestling assault throughout the fight, refusing Junior the space he so desperately needed to breathe and recoup.

    But early in the fight it was clear that wrestling alone wouldn't be enough to put Cigano on his back. Fortunately, Cain had adapted his kickboxing for the purpose.

    [​IMG]

    1. Cain jabs his way into range, making Dos Santos so consistently uncomfortable that he feels forced to back up until he is nearly at the fence.

    2. Junior catches Cain with a jab as he comes in.

    3. Cain eats the jab happily and takes a deep step to his left as he leans into a right hand that catches the retreating Dos Santos clean on the jaw.

    4. Cain allows his momentum to carry him forward, right into the clinch. Just before making bodily contact with his opponent, he lands a short left hook. Because the hook puts his arm to the inside of JDS' arm, Cain is easily able to swim in his left underhook.

    Cain's boxing isn't pretty. It isn't technical. But it sure gets the job done. Cain is like some kind of massive Nick Diaz, but with better wrestling and no reach advantage. Using his hands to close the distance, he happily traps Junior against the fence and alternates between pounding his body with punches and taking him down.

    While I will always recommend that fighters put their hips into range before their heads, there is sound reasoning behind Cain's approach. His prime focus is not to box with Junior, but to clinch with him, pinning him to the fence and dragging him to the ground. In a recent interview Cain's former AKA stablemate Jon Fitch spoke about using technique rather than strength and power to beat the opponent. Cain and Fitch share this approach, as do other notable grapplers such as Demian Maia. Cain's ideal takedown is one in which he can misdirect his opponent so that all it takes is a small lift of the hips to send them toppling to the canvas.

    By focusing on entering range head-first, Cain ensures that his head makes contact with Junior's upper body, keeping him pressed to the cage and standing tall, making it much easier to execute takedowns. During the second fight, Joe Rogan observed: "Cain is making. . . liberal use of his head. . . in fact it could be argued that some of those are headbutts." I would agree. Cain's inside fighting is borderline dirty, and it's a thing of beauty. By grinding the top of his head into Junior's face and chest, he is able to keep Junior as uncomfortable as possible, while sapping him of energy and cultivating the right circumstances for an almost effortless takedown.

    Continues at Bloody Elbow...
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2013
  2. Liquid Smoke

    Liquid Smoke Great artists steal™

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    That's a fair observation. Cain's striking isn't going to win any beauty contests but he puts on a pace that few can handle and backs it up with stellar grappling. When he gets inside, even if you have the tools to outstrike him, you're probably gonna end up on your back if you try to.
     
  3. Mr. Hammer

    Mr. Hammer Silver Belt

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    I actually find his kickboxing incredibly crisp and fun to look at.
     
  4. Liquid Smoke

    Liquid Smoke Great artists steal™

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    His technique is fundamentally sound but it isn't flashy. He does a great job using bread and butter techniques.
     
  5. Discipulus

    Discipulus Black Belt

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    He's fun to watch, sure, but his technique is awkward. Particularly his footwork, which is stuttery and sometimes clumsy. Still, he has found so much success on the feet, it's hard to discredit his results. He has made his style work toward his strengths, and I can't fault him for that.
     
  6. m52nickerson

    m52nickerson EXTERMINATE!

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    "Cain's boxing isn't pretty. It isn't technical. But it sure gets the job done. Cain is like some kind of massive Nick Diaz, but with better wrestling and no reach advantage."

    I lol'd!
     
  7. gillygilly**

    gillygilly** Banned Banned

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    how has he fought the same 2 guys in his last 6 fiights if he's fought one of them twice and the other three times?

    #math
     
  8. Discipulus

    Discipulus Black Belt

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    Hah! Good point. But what's with the hashtag? For real, man?
     
  9. gillygilly**

    gillygilly** Banned Banned

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    lol I knew it would bother people, plus, who hashtags math? Was meant as a joke
     
  10. Discipulus

    Discipulus Black Belt

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    #math is for jabronis anyway.
     
  11. gillygilly**

    gillygilly** Banned Banned

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    #Mathlete4Lyfe
     
  12. That209

    That209 Gold Belt

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    Really good thread, man.

    Wish more threads were like this, I try to make threads like this every once in a while, lol. I agree with all of what you said.
     

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