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UFC on Fox preview: Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos will make history on network TV

Cain Velasquez(left) will defend his UFC heavyweight title against Junior dos Santos

The UFC on FOX event will be the first time that a UFC heavyweight title will air on network television. It will feature the two best heavyweights in the world currently in UFC champion Cain Velasquez and challenger Junior dos Santos. It’s an opportunity to show millions of people the skill, the highs, and the lows in the world of mixed martial arts on the biggest stage possible. Let’s see how this fight goes down.

Junior dos Santos comes into this fight with a career record of (13-1) with eight wins via TKO/KO. Dos Santos was last seen in action battering Shane Carwin for three rounds to win a unanimous decision at UFC 131. Dos Santos is undefeated in the UFC while winning knockout of the night in two of those fights. He is known for his power and boxing ability while also appearing quick with the ability to scramble well if taken down. It appears that he has a good chin as well. The only question mark is that we don’t really know how good his ground game, but that’s  nonfactor as he always looks to get back to this feet and has been able to that consistently.

Cain Velasquez comes into this fight with a career record of (9-0) with eight wins via TKO/KO. Velasquez was last seen in action destroying former UFC champion Brock Lesnar back at UFC 121 to win via TKO and become heavyweight champion. Velasquez injured his shoulder during the bout which required surgery, and that has kept him on the sidelines until now which is a total of almost 13 months. Velasquez was a decorated college wrestler who has developed into a good striker with outstanding cardio. He has two concerns in this fight. Can he take a big punch from Junior dos Santos, and will the time away from the cage be a factor in regards to his timing, etc?

Bet on Fighting has Cain Velasquez as the betting favorite at (-165) and Dos Santos as the underdog at (+135).

Those odds are about right. I’m going to break this fight down a little differently as we’ll use categories to see where each fighter could have the advantage.

Striking

Many people think Dos Santos has the edge in this category, but I disagree with that notion for a couple of reasons. Junior dos Santos is pretty one dimensional with his striking arsenal in that he relies heavily on his boxing. He’ll throw the random kicks here and there or use knees when opportunities allow, but for the most part he’s strictly a boxer. Velasquez does a better job of mixing up his strikes. I also think he’s technically better than Dos Santos because  Dos Santos throws a lot of punches that leave himself open for counters. He’ll lunge with body shots that leave his entire head exposed, and doesn’t keep his chin protected when throwing that huge uppercut that he likes to use. I also believe that Velasquez will have a speed advantage with his hands as his strikes are generally more compact with almost no wasted motion.

Cardio

I think this category is close to being even with Velasquez having a slight edge. Neither fighter has ever fought five rounds before and this fight probably will not make it that far either. Velasquez is known for setting an outstanding pace for a heavyweight, but Dos Santos has gone the distance in two grueling fights against Roy Nelson and Shane Carwin. The x-factor here could be IF Velasquez can take Dos Santos down and keep him down, how would the Brazilian’s gas tank hold up under those conditions?

Summary

Those are the two most important categories for this fight. I don’t believe Velasquez is afraid to stand and strike with Dos Santos. He may try to take him down just to set up his strikes, or he may take him down if Dos Santos lands a big punch. The main thing is that even though Dos Santos is a brown belt in jiu-jitsu, he does not like playing the guard game in MMA. He always looks to get right back up to his feet if taken down so I doubt much of this fight will be on the ground for as long as it lasts. Can Junior Dos Santos land a big punch that hurts Velasquez and will he be able to finish him off? We saw Cheick Kongo rock Velasquez multiple times, but didn’t have the takedown defense to keep it on the feet and finish him. I think Dos Santos has much better takedown defense than Kongo so this is an interesting aspect to remember as Dos Santos has good killer instinct when he has his opponents hurt.  However, we must also remember that the Kongo/Velasquez fight was over two years ago and Velasquez has improved a great deal since then.

Will cage rust be a factor for Velasquez? It may be for the first round or so, but I think that Velasquez and his camp have properly prepared for this fight and he should be fine. After all, we’ve seen fighters like Rashad Evans and Terry Etim have longer layoffs and come back and perform in spectacular fashion. I had been leaning towards Junior Dos Santos ever since this fight was announced but I think I’m wavering on that pick after watching more film on each fighter. I think Velasquez is the more complete fighter which will certainly benefit him should this fight go into the later rounds. Junior Dos Santos definitely is capable of landing a huge punch and putting Velasquez away. However, I think this fight does make it to the third or fourth round, and I believe that Velasquez would be able to take Dos Santos down at that point and begin to wear on him and possibly finish him on the ground via TKO. Yep.

Velasquez via TKO.

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