Tomorrow evening, UFC 166: Cain Velasquez vs. Junior Dos Santos is finally going down! Dos Santos gets an opportunity to get the UFC heavyweight title back. Velasquez gets the opportunity to show his rematch win versus Dos Santos was no fluke. This fight has the ingredients to become the fight of the year! These fighters both have a loss which came at the hand of the other which sets up this trilogy. Who will take the rubber match in the trilogy? Let's take a closer look at these two fighters and then I'll make my fight pick.
Junior Dos Santos (JDS) packs some of the best KO power in the UFC. JDS comes into this fight with an overall MMA record of 16-2. He's a premiere striker and has showed his skill and power on several occasions. Fourteen of his sixteen wins have come via KO or TKO. JDS has excellent takedown defense and uses that to keep the fight where he can stand and bang.
In his last fight with Velasquez, he was almost completely shut down. Velazquez fought a great fight. Velasquez tagged JDS repeatedly and smothered most of JDS's offense. Even so, the threat of a JDS KO or TKO lingered in the fight until the final bell ultimately neutralized the "punchers chance".
Cain Velasquez is 12-1 and made it to the top of the UFC heavyweight division by utilizing his exceptional wrestling skill coupled with great strength and conditioning. In his initial rise through the UFC ranks, he used a grinding and gritty style of fighting. As he approached the pinnacle of his UFC run, his boxing skills were perfected and he became a complete MMA threat and UFC heavyweight champion.
The one smudge on his record came from a KO overhand right chingaso that was delivered in the first round by JDS in their first fight. Velasquez had fought some power strikers, but that was the first time he caught a full on power shot by one of the best KO artists in MMA.
Velasquez learned from that loss and avoided power shots in the rematch while employing his grinding gritty style of fighting. Keeping the pressure on and battering JDS with quick hands while avoiding big shots led him to victory.
Can Cain Velasquez follow the same strategy? I think so. He'll follow the same game plan. If Junior Dos Santos wants to regain that belt, he'll have to put some pressure on and be able to deliver big shots. Unfortunately for JDS, Cain has been a master of avoiding big shots, and now he is also armed with the confidence of knowing he got the best of JDS and avoided the KO in a 5 round scrap.
Look for Velasquez to survive the early rounds, and then pick up the pace to win in another decision, or possibly, by some late round ground and pound.
UFC 166: Velasquez vs. Dos Santos 3 Episode 1
UFC 166: Velasquez vs. Dos Santos 3 Episode 2