It's UFC 99 and the stakes are high.
MMA fans await the much anticipated conclusion to Lesnar vs Mir II to put an end to the undisputed heavyweight championship saga. However, a battle between Cain Velasquez and Cheick Kongo this Saturday could decide who is worthy to be the next possible contender for the coveted UFC World Heavyweight Championship.
Velasquez (5-0), a blitzing ground and pound phenom, has absolutely dominated his competition. He displays lights-out mat wrestling skills that made him a stand out NCAA wrestler for Arizona State, pummelling and manipulating his opponents into precarious positions.
He's able to capitalize on any opportunity to strike from multiple angles, and dominate opponents in convincing fashion. In fact, not one opponent has been able to exit a fight with Velasquez without receiving a concussion.
His style is the exact remedy you need to resolve the diagnosis of James Bond villain Cheick Kongo.
Cheick Kongo (14-4-1) heads into the fight on fire knocking out three tough opponents in a row. However, he has yet to show that he can stop any decent wrestler from taking him down and grounding out a decision on him.
If Velasquez does the logical thing and takes Kongo down, I have a feeling that this time Kongo will also (like Cain's previous opponents) leave the octagon with a concussion.
If Cain decides to test his stand up game with Kongo, then the fight will become interesting. Kongo presents multiple challenges to Velasquez, having the kickboxing experience as well as the size and reach advantage over Cain.
I believe that Velasquez could be the "next big thing" in MMA, but he must pass the Kongo test to get there. He has the ability to win the fight on his feet or on the ground, but if he makes a mistake it could be a while before he receives an opportunity like this again.
He must beat Kongo to be in title contention.
If Kongo can somehow learn to stop a takedown or learn some submissions off his back before this Saturday, perhaps he can prove me wrong and make this a fight.
Otherwise, if Cain decides to take Kongo down, it's going to continue to be the same deal for the French kickboxer as it has always been in the past. Kongo will be on his back struggling, wondering how this happened to him again.
Either way, it's going to be an exciting fight with two of the sport's best athletes competing.
The winner will become a contender for the championship. The loser will have to climb the mountain again.