Commentary: Trio of UFC fighters worth watching

Published On:
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
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Want to hear another fake take about Tiger Woods?

No domo arigato, Mr. Roboto.

What about team USA’s win over Canada? Was it as good as the “Miracle on Ice” or wasn’t it?

These false dichotomies are so interesting.

Or how about the Sun Devils’ big win over the Wildcats?

I’ve written about that already and we’ve covered it thoroughly. It’s easy to get riled up over Kevin Parrom.

Here is what you probably didn’t hear about this weekend that should have been major East Valley news.

Cain Velasquez, Ryan Bader and CB Dollaway did something special on Sunday.

Never heard of them?

I know I vaguely recognized their names a few weeks ago when I was assigned to write a feature story about them.

Those three guys are former ASU wrestlers who all won career-changing fights in UFC 110 in Australia on Sunday.

Valasquez was at the top of the card, the highlighted fighter, and defeated the legendary Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.

Now, I didn’t pay the money to watch the fight — I was busy watching other worthy competitions on Sunday — but I have a couple of friends who did.

Velasquez, already 7-0 heading into the fight, was apparently quite impressive, knocking “Nog” to the ground with a powerful combination. Velasquez was not thought highly of in stand-up situations, so he proved a lot.

Velasquez was considered one of the top up-and-coming fighters in the sport before Sunday, and it’s possible that if Brock Lesnar recovers from an intestinal injury, the two could match up for the heavyweight belt.

I know you’d want to watch that.

Bader, a former teammate of Velasquez and Dollaway, defeated another top UFC competitor, Keith Jardine, by technical knockout. Bader is also undefeated.

Dollaway’s bout went all the way, and he won by decision.

Here is where the story gets cool.

Velasquez doesn’t train in the state, but Bader and Dollaway train at the local Arizona Combat Sports gym in Tempe.

It’s quite the rarity for individuals in UFC to train together.

It’s actually a trio of UFC fighters with ASU backgrounds that form the local training group, as former ASU assistant coach Aaron Simpson is also a part of the group. Simpson joined along in the trip but didn’t fight.

The trio dropped by an ASU wrestling match before heading off to Australia.

All were down-to-earth, and I was able to ask a couple questions after the Sun Devils’ match.

They actually give each other a competitive advantage over other UFC fighters.

“We all train hard together and we all know each other.” Simpson said. “There are no egos between us. We all work together and we all want the best for each other, and I couldn’t get that anywhere else. I don’t think there is another situation out there in the UFC like that.”

Not sure what your sports-watching priorities were this past weekend, but these ASU alumni are going to be making national headlines, at the very least, in the immediate future.

Stay tuned.

Reach Nick at nruland@asu.edu