Cain Velasquez has seen more than his fair share of downtime in his career, with injuries keeping him out of the cage for two years or more twice in his career. Even with the setbacks, it hasn’t taken away from his competitive spirit. Speaking to Yahoo Sports this week, Velasquez said that it will be his in cage output that will determine when he walks away from the sport, not any injury.
“The reason I do this is to be the No. 1 guy,” Velasquez said. “And if I’m not as competitive as I was before, then I’m not doing it. But I also believe that I am that same guy. I’ve improved a lot and right now, I feel stronger than ever, stronger than in the past.”
Velasquez takes on Francis Ngannou Sunday night, his first fight since a July 2016 win over Travis Browne. During the time off, Velasquez had surgery for a pinched sciatic nerve. The issue seems to have cleared up but it was causing Velasquez great distress before he took care of it.
“When I had the injury, it was something that was extremely hard to deal with, to live with,” he said. “I wasn’t sure what was going to happen. When it was at its worst, it was bad. It’s something I’d say was the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through physically.
“Just standing for 15 minutes is probably the worst pain I’ve ever gone through.”
Velasquez will try and bring up to 25 minutes of pain to Francis Ngannou Sunday night in an important heavyweight fight.
Shevchenko ready to go
UFC flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko want to fight soon, which means that her presumed next opponent, Jessica Eye, may miss out on her shot.
Speaking to MMAJunkie recently, Shevchenko’s manager, Roger Allen, said that his client is ready to fight as soon as a few weeks from now, but Eye’s timeline doesn’t seem to be matching up. He said UFC tried to book the fight for next week’s event from Prague but Eye turned the date down due to an issue with her teeth.
Knowing how UFC likes to get champions in the cage as often as possible and their willingness to renege on promised title shots, we may be seeing Shevchenko taking on someone other than Eye in the near future.
Cro Cop says he’s clean
Roy Nelson insinuated this week that Mirko Cro Cop’s recovery from knee surgery may have had to do with PED use rather than anything else. Cro Cop had admitted to using growth hormone to rehab an injury while in UFC and promptly retired to try and avoid suspension. Cro Cop is now back fighting in the U.S. for Bellator but he’s not making much of the criticism.
“You know how people are, so many stupid comments,” Filipovic told MMA Fighting (transcribed by MMAMania). “This, that … I’m a very dedicated man. I spent five, six hours rehabilitation process every day. I managed to recover. After six, seven weeks I start to jog again. I had a fight also. Leg wasn’t recovered enough. But anyway I accepted the fight. I am recovered now.”
Cro Cop’s performance, enhanced or not, will be on display Saturday night at Bellator 216 when he takes on Roy Nelson.
–Scott Coker told MMAFighting that Bellator will be launching another Grand Prix tournament in October, potentially in the featherweight division.
-Everyone came in on weight for Bellator 216 tomorrow night.
-Antonina Shevchenko will fight Roxanne Modafferi at UFC Russia on April 20.
-Bellator featherweight champ Patricio Freire will move up to challenge Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler at Bellator 221 this coming May.