Raising Cain at UFC 99

The expression “Raising Cain” is typically used to describe acts of violence, criminal activity, or any other mischievous acts.

Needless to say, the connotation is not a favorable one. Perhaps UFC heavyweight phenom Cain Velasquez can change all that.

When speaking with Velasquez you get the feeling that he is a gentle giant, not a violent vagabond.

Make no mistake though, when Cain steps into the cage he goes for the jugular – just don’t look for any sort of mischievous behavior out of this proud yet humble force. Velasquez has been ending fights early on ever since he fashioned himself into a fighter. The box score on his 5-0 professional record is filled out with TKO wins.

Only one of his matches has gone past the first round.

Velasquez also breaks the mold when it comes to how heavyweights have habitually been viewed. Forget everything you have ever known about the physical struggles heavyweight fighters have had inside the ring or cage. The end of the era of beer-bellied behemoths is fast approaching, and Velasquez is leading the charge.

Cain represents the top of the heavyweight food chain which consists not just of fighters, but consummate professional athletes. Fortified with a resume that includes collegiate wrestling and blessed with the strength and power of a small locomotive, Velasquez brings a style and intensity that, for the most part, has rarely been seen outside of the smaller weight classes.

Velasquez will locks horns with the fearsome French kickboxer Cheick Kongo at UFC 99 from the Lanxess Arena in Cologne, Germany this Saturday night.

Despite Kongo bringing nineteen professional fights into the cage, Velasquez is the betting line favorite from the bookmakers in Las Vegas. It will be the biggest test of his burgeoning career and a win would be Cain’s coming-out party.

If you go beyond the actual fights there is even more then meets the eye.

Looking at Cain’s heritage, you get a better sense of what makes him the fighter he is. Velasquez is a Mexican-American fighter and emblazed upon his chest is the tattoo “Brown Pride.” But do not take it as arrogance; rather, it’s simply a symbol of knowing where you come from and being self-assured in that knowledge.

In a recent interview Cain talked about what it means to be a Mexican-American fighter.

“Growing up, Mexican fighters are taught to put a lot of heart into their fight. We are trained to never give up. At the same time we want to put on an exciting fight for the fans. That starts in my training and carries over into my fights. I feel like I bring the same mentality Mexican boxers have had to the sport of mixed martial arts. I put all my heart into my wrestling growing up.”

For the sport of mixed martial arts, the Mexican American fan is a relatively untapped market. Traditionally, boxing is the only blood which courses through the veins of fight fans bodies south of the border. With fighters like Miguel Torres, and now Cain Velasquez, the sport of mixed martial arts looks poised to increase its place in collective heart and mind of Mexican-American sporting culture.

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