|It's about to get Heavy|
The UFC Heavyweight Championship is the most revered title in all of combat sports, the man who holds this belt can consider himself the baddest on the planet. Cain Velasquez is that man, and on Saturday night he’ll defend his crown for the first time against the lethal Junior Dos Santos, as the UFC makes its network television debut on Fox
There could not be a more fitting fight to introduce the “mainstream” to MMA; the publicity and money this card will generate will no doubt, have all the big wigs involved twiddling their moustaches in glee, as their already considerable bank balances expand. But this fight is not about them, this is where the sport needs to be to for it to continue to grow.
Of their combined fourteen UFC fights, only three of Velasquez and Dos Santos’ have gone the distance, nine of those fights were finished by KO/TKO in the first round. This strongly indicates that you’ll be conducting your fight autopsy during the time allocated for the championship rounds. Fireworks Ladies and Gentlemen, of an epic proportion!
Both men enjoy distinct advantages over each other; Dos Santos is the superior boxer, while the champion is an elite wrestler, with the best cardio in the division. Looking a little closer, it‘s fair to say Velasquez has the more complete stand up, Dos Santos has a BJJ brown belt, but this is unlikely to be a factor. So, how is this fight won and by who?
There are factors beyond the fighter’s skills which have to be considered. Cain Velasquez has not fought since he took the belt from Brock Lesnar thirteen months ago, if he has any ring rust at all, Dos Santos will clean his clock. On the other hand, if the challenger cannot finish the fight early, he may struggle in the latter rounds, like he did against Roy Nelson and to a lesser extent Shane Carwin.
The obvious choice for Velasquez would be to put Junior on his back, and once he’s on top, batter him, this would certainly negate the ring rust factor. Nobody will know this more than Dos Santos, he’ll be expecting an early shot and his trademark uppercut will be cocked accordingly. The Champion should fight at a distance early on; weaken Dos Santos with devastating leg kicks and liver shots.
Dos Santos has the faster, more powerful hands, if the Champion loiters in the pocket even a moment too long, he will on the receiving end of devastating hooks to the head and body from either side and will be put to sleep. This is where Dos Santos’ threat ends. He rarely uses kicks or knees and has little or no chance of taking down Velasquez and in turn submitting him.
The champion will stay on the outside with his footwork, pick off Dos Santos with 1-2s, which he’ll finish with the afore mention leg kicks. In time, through a combination of a relentless pace and pin point striking, the takedowns will present themselves. This will be the difference; Velasquez will clinically overwhelm his opponent, he simply has too much. Long live the King.
My prediction: Velasquez by TKO in Rounds 2/3.