After having received a mixed reactions to his win over Cheick Kongo back in June, Cain Velasquez was looking to put on an impressive display against Ben Rothwell in the co-main event of UFC 104, and in front of strong support from the Los Angeles crowd, Velasquez did indeed do just that.
Despite Rothwell enjoying a clear size and weight advantage Velasquez was still able to impose his will on the veteran fighter and, making full use of his superior wrestling skills, took him down to the ground a number of times during the bout. To his credit Rothwell did manage to get back to his feet on most instances, but he struggled to shake off the tenacious Velasquez for long enough to mount any serious offense of his own.
By the end of the first round Velasquez was keeping his opponent down for longer periods and started to tee off on Rothwell from the top position, landing with alarming regularity. In past fights it’s been shown that he appears not to possess genuine knockout power and that again proved to be the case here as Rothwell somehow survived the onslaught to make it to round two, although ‘Big Ben’ has proven in the past to be a durable competitor that can take more punishment than most.
Nevertheless, as the second round was about to begin referee Steve Mazagatti warned a weary looking Rothwell that he wouldn’t let him continue to take those kind of shots. Rothwell nodded, but seconds into the round he was back on the mat again and it looked only a matter of time before the fight would be stopped. Crawling over to the fence Rothwell tried to wall walk his way back to his feet, but Velasquez had other plans and reigned some heavy punches flush on Rothwells face.
Steve Mazagatti had seen enough and called a halt to the fight, just as Rothwell managed to get back to his feet. In fairness to the referee he probably did Rothwell a favor – the outcome would have been no different the bout had went longer – but the frustrated fighter protested that he was fit to continue.
Overall it was an outstanding performance from Cain Velasquez, the best performance of the night, and indeed of his 7-0 career to date. Whether it’s enough to put him next in line for a title shot against the winner of Brock Lesnar Vs Shane Carwin remains to be seen, but he’s certainly put himself right into contention with this victory.
Final Result: Cain Velasquez defeats Ben Rothwell By TKO (strikes) in Round two.