UFC 166: Velasquez vs Dos Santos – Main Event Preview and Guest Panel Predictions
By Dave Carpinello
Cain Velasquez (12-1) vs. Junior dos Santos (16-2)
UFC Heavyweight Title Bout
Cain Velasquez joined the UFC in only his third professional bout against Brad Morris at UFC 83. The AKA prospect won by TKO on the undercard before moving up in competition to face Jake O’Brien where he secured his fourth straight first round TKO. Gaining popularity with the fans, Velasquez then went to the second round for the first time in his career against the ultra-tough Denis Stojnic before earning another TKO.
Velasquez then showcased a solid chin and a ton of heart against Cheick Kongo, using dominant wrestling and ground and pound to earn a unanimous decision – the only time he has gone the distance. After a second round TKO victory over IFL stand-out Ben Rothwell, Velasquez knocked out former PRIDE heavyweight champion and former UFC interim heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. Then Velasquez got his chance to unify the heavyweight belts and he stopped Brock Lesnar inside the first round to earn the unanimous UFC’s heavyweight title. His party was short lived though as he lost his title and his next fight when Junior dos Santos knocked him out on the UFC’s debut on FOX.
Following that loss, Velasquez returned at UFC 146 and laid a bloody beatdown on Antonio Silva ending the fight via TKO in Round 1. Then he got his rematch with Junior dos Santos and it looked nothing like the first fight. As Velasquez became the first fighter in UFC history to post triple digits in significant strikes landed and double digits in takedowns landed in a single fight, landing 111 significant strikes and 11 takedowns in the rematch as he cruised to victory and reclaimed the UFC heavyweight title. Then at UFC 160, he laid waste to Antonio Silva for a second time, again within the first round.
Velasquez owns ten of his twelve professional victories by TKO/KO, including eight inside the first round. Despite an NCAA Div I all-American wrestling background, Velasquez possesses a strong Muay Thai attack and some of the best conditioning in the heavyweight division.
UFC Record: 9-1 (8 TKO/KO)
Strengths: Good kickboxing, two-time NCAA Div I All-American wrestler, great conditioning
Weaknesses: Criticized ground and pound power
Key Wins: Junior dos Santos, Antonio Silva (2x), Brock Lesnar, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Cheick Kongo, Ben Rothwell, Jake O’Brien
Notable Losses: Junior dos Santos
Junior dos Santos made his mark in his UFC debut by knocking out top-ten ranked Fabricio Werdum in only eighty-one seconds. Instantly putting the heavyweight division on notice, Dos Santos then stopped fellow prospect Stefan Struve in a mere fifty-four seconds before battering PRIDE‘s 2006 Open-Weight Grand Prix champion Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic into a third round submission.
Dos Santos’ stock continued to rise with a first round TKO over Dutch striker and international talent Gilbert Yvel, before an impressive first round TKO over one-time UFC contender Gabriel Gonzaga. Dos Santos then outpointed The Ultimate Fighter 10 winner and former IFL champion Roy Nelson before earning a unanimous decision over former UFC contender Shane Carwin at UFC 131 after coaching the thirteenth season of The Ultimate Fighter.
On the UFC’s premiere on FOX, Dos Santos dethroned Cain Velasquez and took home the UFC heavyweight title belt with a sixty-four second knockout in the first round. In his first title defense he faced Frank Mir, a replacement for an injured Alistair Overeem, and easily scored the TKO victory in round 2. Dos Santos and Velasquez would then meet again and although he showed great heart and perseverance, Dos Santos was punished by the former champion for five rounds as Velasquez retook the UFC title. “Cigano” was able to rebound though at UFC 160, knocking out Mark Hunt with a spinning head kick.
Dos Santos has earned twelve wins by TKO/KO and two by submission (albeit one due to strikes and one due to exhaustion) in sixteen professional victories. Dos Santos has also finished eleven opponents inside the first round.
UFC Record: 10-1 (7 TKO/KO, 1 Sub)
Strengths: Great boxing, Black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Yuri Carlton, Good takedown defense
Weaknesses: Untested off his back
Key Wins: Cain Velasquez, Frank Mir, Shane Carwin, Fabricio Werdum, Mirko Filipovic, Roy Nelson, Gabriel Gonzaga, Stefan Struve
Notable Losses: Cain Velasquez, Joaquim Ferreira
Cain Velasquez vs. Junior dos Santos – Guest Panel Predictions:
Jamie Varner (21-8-1-2, former WEC Lightweight Champion) – “I have got to go with my Arizona boy! Cain Velasquez by decision again!”
Dan “The Beast” Severn (101-19-7, UFC Hall of Fame) – “Cain Velasquez in the second round with the TKO.”
Andy Main (7-1-1, The Ultimate Fighter Alumni) – “Cain vs JDS 3 is definitely a big one. I think Cain is too much for anybody to handle and I think if it goes much past the first round the fight is likely going to look like their second outing. However, Cain does get rocked and JDS is obviously no slouch with his boxing. I think JDS plays smarter this time around and lands some good shots before Cain can get in his groove. I think if I had to put money on it I’d say Cain by decision but I don’t so I’ll call it for the Brazilian by KO in the 2nd. Why not.”
Tito Ortiz (16-11-1, UFC Hall of Fame) – “This fight can go either way. If Cain makes it a wrestling and boxing match he will stay the champion. If he only fights JDS in the stand-up game, he won’t leave the Octagon with the belt.”
Scott Casber (Takedown Wrestling Radio) – “Cain Velasquez is a beast! Enough said and he wins it again with much respect to his opponent Junior dos Santos!”
Frank Shamrock (23-10-2, Former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, WEC Light Heavyweight Champion & Strikeforce Middleweight Champion) – “AKA and Cain Velasquez all the way.”
Elvis Sinosic (The King of Rock & Rumble) – “This is an exciting rubber match to the trilogy. Both fighters are worthy HW champions. JDS won the first match with an exciting first round KO. Cain came back strong and punished JDS for 5 rounds to win a unanimous decision in the rematch. JDS is known for his boxing style and heavy hitting. Cain is known for his wrestling, speed and endurance. It is almost a striker vs grappler match if it weren’t for the fact that JDS is a proficient BJJ’er and Cain has crisp sharp stand-up. Both fighters are extremely proficient at what they do.
They both know each others game. It is going to come down to who can dictate the action. Can JDS keep the match on the feet and control the striking, or can Cain mix it up with his wrestling and wear JDS down again. In the first match JDS landed a big shot in the first round and dove in and was able to finish Cain. In the 2nd match Cain landed a big shot on JDS but was not able to finish him, though he was able to wear him down and punish him for 5 rounds. Both fighters have shown that they have the endurance to fight hard for 5 rounds. JDS has shown the stronger chin, especially when you look at the punishment that Cain was able hand out in their 2nd fight.
I think the result will be affected by who can land that big shot first. My prediction is that both fighters will avoid the big shot early so it will come down to who can control the fight. I think this time JDS will be able to control the fight better, though he will be constantly pressured by Cain who can mix up his striking, wrestling and grappling. My prediction is that JDS will win either with a decision or a late fight TKO.”
Wes Sims (22-13-1-2, Team Hammer House) – I’m not sure who to pick, this match-up is just too close to call. If I was going to bet some cash though, I’d put a small wager on JDS.”
Jesse Finney (5-1, Owner of Finney’s H.I.T. Squad Gym) – “Cain all the way.”
Paul Bradley (20-5-1, Strikeforce & UFC Veteran) – “Cain by decision. I think he knows now how to stay away from Junior’s power. Not too mention Cain has a gas tank that runs for days.”
Muhsin Corbbrey (15-7, Shidokan World Champion) – “I’ve got Cain via five round grind. Cain has the best gas tank of any heavyweight ever. Cain via decision.”
Eric Red Schafer (13-7-2, UFC Veteran and black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) – “Cain will win a decision again with dominate control and conditioning.”
Pete Spratt (25-23, ISKA U.S. Middleweight Champion) – “Man this is a tough one to call here but I think I am going to roll with Cain by decision again! There is always JDS’ one punch KO ability to be concerned with but if Cain can keep JDS off balance and strike when JDS expects him to wrestle and vice versa Cain should win again!”
Guest Panel Predictions Results:
Cain Velasquez – 9
Junior dos Santos – 3
Undecided – 1
UFC 166: Velasquez vs. dos Santos 3 – Fight Card
October 19, 2013
Main Bouts (Pay-Per-View):
Cain Velasquez (12-1) vs. Junior dos Santos (16-2) – UFC heavyweight title bout
Daniel Cormier (12-0) vs. Roy Nelson (19-8)
Gilbert Melendez (21-3) vs. Diego Sanchez (24-5)
Gabriel Gonzaga (15-7) vs. Shawn Jordan (15-4)
John Dodson (15-6) vs. Darrell Montague (13-2)
Preliminary Bouts (Fox Sports 1):
Tim Boetsch (16-6) vs. CB Dolloway (13-4)
Nate Marquardt (32-12-2) vs. Hector Lombard (32-4-1)
Sarah Kaufman (15-2) vs. Jessica Eye (10-1)
George Sotiropoulos (14-5) vs. KJ Noons (11-7)
Preliminary Bouts (UFC Facebook):
TJ Waldburger (16-7) vs. Adlan Amagov (12-2-1)
Tony Ferguson (13-3) vs. Mike Rio (9-2)
Jeremy Larsen (8-4) vs. Andre Fili (12-1)
Dustin Pague (11-8) vs. Kyoji Horiguchi (11-1)
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