Name: Cain Velasquez Professional Record: 2-0 Height: 6’2” Weight: 230lbs Discipline: Wrestling Notable Wins: Jesse Fujarczyk
Who is Cain Velasquez? Most fans aren’t familiar with Velasquez, who has just two professional fi ghts under his belt. But what he lacks in experience, he makes up for with his ability to adapt and learn quickly. Coupled with his excellent physical conditioning and wrestling prowess, Cain Velasquez could be the next big thing.
Velasquez trains at American Kickboxing Academy, home to fi ghters such Mike Swick, Josh Koscheck, and Jon Fitch. For the last eighteen months, Cain has been refi ning his kickboxing under the tutelage of former world champion Javier Mendez, and been training with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Judo black belt Dave Camarillo.
Velasquez has been involved in combat sports for the past thirteen years, in his primary discipline of wrestling. Velasquez was a two-time state high school wrestling champion at heavyweight in his home state of Arizona. He was a four-time high school All American wrestler at heavyweight, which included placing all four years at the US Jr. National Wrestling Championships, in both Greco-Roman and freestyle wrestling.
Velasquez’s collegiate wrestling career peaked when he attended Arizona State University his junior and senior years. In both years, Velasquez was named the PAC-10 Wrestler of the Year and PAC-10 Heavyweight Wrestling Champion. He went on to compete in NCAA Wrestling Championships, where he placed fi fth in the heavyweight division his junior year, and fourth his senior year.
After college, Cain shifted his focus to mixed martial arts, and moved to California to train at American Kickboxing Academy. Velasquez made his professional debut on the undercard of Strikeforce – Tank vs. Buentello. With only one month of training, the former Arizona State wrestler defeated Jesse Fujarczyk in less than two minutes. Approximately fi ve weeks later, Cain bested Jeremiah Constant during the second season of BodogFIGHT, utilizing his amazing conditioning to outlast and fi nish his opponent with strikes.
Velasquez was scheduled to fi ght PRIDE veteran Roman Zentsov on a BodogFIGHT pay-per-view last April, but a broken hand forced him to pull out of the match. Now fully healed from his injury, Velasquez is ready to return to action and show the world how quickly he is progressing as a well-rounded fi ghter.
Cain Velasquez recently signed with the Ultimate Fighting Championship and will make his Octagon debut in March. Having been given a great opportunity so in early in his career, Velasquez looks to make an impact in the biggest organization in the US.
Name: Shane “Monster” Carwin Professional Record: 8-0 Height: 6’4” Weight: 265lbs Discipline: Wrestling Notable Wins: Sherman Pendergarst, Rex Richards
Shane Carwin is a monster; quite fi tting of his nickname. This former NCAA Division II National Wrestling Champion is one of the best heavyweight prospects today. A protégé of UFC and PRIDE veteran Ron “H2O” Waterman, Carwin holds an undefeated record of 8-0 and has demolished his previous opponents with a relentlessly aggressive style.
“I’m defi nitely not looking to lay and pray. When I get on top, it’s defi nitely a punishing attack with my ground and pound, and the same thing with throwing knees, elbows, strikes…I tend to smother my guy at all times and not give him time to breath and react,” said Carwin.
The sometimes stagnant heavyweight divisions in MMA need a boost, and Shane Carwin could very well be the answer. The Colorado native recently earned his fi rst professional championship when he impressively defeated UFC veteran Sherman Pendergarst to claim the Ring of Fire heavyweight title. It took Carwin just over ninety seconds to dispatch his opponent, fi nishing Pendergarst with strikes.
“It felt great. I put a lot of training and effort [into the fi ght]. To win over a quality opponent in Sherman, and get the belt for Ring of Fire in my fi rst championship opportunity felt awesome,” exclaimed Carwin.
Carwin currently fi ghts out of T’s KO Fight Club, and trains with the likes of former Ring of Fire Featherweight Champion Christian Allen and UFC veteran Nate Marquardt. Under the tutelage of Ron Waterman and boxing coach Trevor Wittman, the newly crowned champion hopes to bring the spotlight back to the heavyweight landscape and make an impact.
“I think people want to see heavyweights that are big, but also athletic,” commented Carwin. “I think I can bring some consistency and athleticism [to the heavyweight division]. I feel I can compete at that top level with those top-tier guys. I’m excited for my chance to get those shots when they come.”
2008 could be a breakout year for Shane Carwin. With so much potential, the sky’s the limit for the Monster. “I want to move into those upper shows and go against some of those top guys, just to see where my game’s at. I thrive on competition and I absolutely love the sport and have a passion for it; I have a passion to be in the cage. Hopefully there’s big things coming for me in 2008, and I’ll be seen in the national spotlight. I defi nitely hope to keep the fi ghts exciting.”
Name: Wagnney Fabiano Santos Professional Record: 9-1 Height: 5’6” Weight: 145lbs Discipline: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Notable Wins: John Gunderson, Matt Fiordirosa, Bao Quach
Wagnney Fabiano considers himself as “a strategic, calm, dedicated, and focused fi ghter.” Others consider him one of Canada’s best-kept secrets. The Team Nova Uniao fi ghter is an accomplished grappler, and holds championships in Grappler’s Quest and NAGA tournaments in the US. Fabiano is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt under Wendell Alexander and Andre Pederneiras. The 32-year old fi ghter was victorious in the 2005 Brazilian Abu Dhabi Trials, a crowning achievement for any grappler.
Fabiano has trained with many talented fi ghters throughout his career, including BJ Penn, Renato “Charuto” Verissimo, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Vitor “Shaolin” Ribeiro, and his younger brother Leo Santos, a renowned grappler in Brazil. “I admire Wendell, Andre Pederneiras and Renzo [Gracie]; I feel they are special people,” says Fabiano.
Wagnney moved from his birthplace of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to Toronto, Canada, where he has resided for more than nine years. He made his professional MMA debut in 2000, after four amateur fi ghts and many years of cross-training in boxing and wrestling.
Wagnney signed with APEX Fighting Championship after three professional bouts. In the second fi ght of a long-term contract, Fabiano suffered his fi rst loss to Jeff Curran, via a controversial split decision.
“90% of the people who saw that fi ght felt like the decision was wrong,” explained Fabiano. “He [Curran] even came to my dressing room after the fi ght asking for forgiveness, saying he did not like winning in such a way. I have nothing against Jeff Curran. I’m really not bothered by that fi ght because in my mind I won. Do I want to fi ght him again? I want to fi ght anyone they put in there against me, if it’s him, then so be it.”
APEX Fighting Championship never put on another show after that evening, and Wagnney was left without a promotion to fi ght for. Enter the International Fight League. Wagnney had been an acquaintance of IFL Toronto Raptors coach and former UFC Champion Carlos Newton for nearly half a decade. An opportunity to replace Ivan Menjivar on the team roster presented itself, and Fabiano took advantage of it. Undefeated in the league, Fabiano submitted his last fi ve opponents on his way to become the IFL’s fi rst 145-pound champion.
“To tell you the truth, nothing has changed,” replied Wagnney humbly. “I’m going to have to keep training hard as always. There will always be someone to try and take my title from me. Now I’m going to have to train even harder.”
With his recent impressive performances, Wagnney Fabiano is at the top of his game. 2007 was a great year for the fi ghter, and his potential has likely gotten the attention of larger organizations. However, Fabiano dismisses the possibility of fi ghting for another organization in the near future.
“The WEC and UFC are considered the best events in the world right now, but the IFL isn’t far behind at all. I’m with them now and throughout the year and I’m very happy where I am,” said the IFL Champion graciously. “They treat me very well and put on a world class show. I’m very happy with them and am not thinking about going anywhere else.”
During the off-season, the IFL made many changes. One of the most signifi cant changes was the elimination of Fabiano’s Toronto Raptors team. Fortunately for the Brazilian standout, he was picked up by Renzo Gracie’s Pitbulls, the defending IFL Team Champions. Wagnney Fabiano Santos is expected to return to the ring on April 4, 2008.
“I just want to say that I hope 2008 will be as good as 2007. I will work to make it even better. Thank you for everyone’s support!”