Brock Lesnar had less than a week to savor his successful title defense against Shane Carwin.
The former World Wrestling Entertainment superstar will put his heavyweight crown on the line against the unbeaten Cain Velasquez at UFC 121 on Oct. 23 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. Rodrigo “Comprido” Medeiros respects the considerable skills Velasquez brings to the table.
A junior college national champion and two-time collegiate All-American wrestler at Arizona State University, Velasquez has not fought since he steamrolled Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at UFC 110 in February.
“Cain Velasquez is a great fighter; he has a great level of muay Thai and wrestling,” Medeiros said. “I’m confident in Brock, and I think he’s the best heavyweight in the world. We’ll outline a strategy, make a plan and train, and I’m sure we’ll win this challenge. It’s a big challenge. Velasquez is an excellent athlete.”
Lesnar submitted the previously unbeaten Carwin with a second-round arm-triangle choke at UFC 116 on July 3 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. The Minnesota-based heavyweight survived a harrowing first round in which Carwin wobbled him standing and threatened to finish him with ground-and-pound against the cage.
“The important thing is teamwork,” Medeiros said. “Don’t forget that if he had not trained his boxing, perhaps he could not have withstood such punishment. If the guy’s wrestling wasn’t there, he could not have taken down his opponent and would not have had the opportunity. It’s teamwork.”
Lesnar answered the challenge in round two, as he scored with a takedown, moved to mount and put away Carwin with the choke. In that moment, several months’ worth of preparation paid off.
“This time, he made the training camp a little longer, with some intervals,” Medeiros said. “The camp typically lasts two months, but he made it four months. I thought this position would marry well with his game. It’s a position I’ve been practicing a lot with students in my gym in Chicago.
“We always have to be careful when we’re working with a top athlete, because there are tendencies with all coaches,” he added. “I want the submission. The boxing coach wants the knockout. The muay Thai coach expects low kicks and knees.”
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