UFC 166: Velasquez vs. Dos SantosSaturday, October 19 – 11:00 p.m. ET
Toyota Center – Houston, TX
Cain Velasquez (12-1) vs. Junior Dos Santos (16-2)Heavyweight title bout
Line: Velasquez -250, Dos Santos +190
The trilogy will be completed on Saturday night as Junior Dos Santos and Cain Velasquez fight for the third time, as Dos Santos looks to take the belt away from Velasquez at UFC 166 in Houston.
The only blemish on Cain Velasquez’s record is when he was knocked out by Dos Santos at UFC on Fox 1 in November 2011. However, Velasquez was able to bounce back and take the belt by defeating Dos Santos in their fight at UFC 155 last Dec 29. Velasquez is an absolute monster with the ability to knock out his opponent, and this was on full display in his last match against Antonio Silva at UFC 160 on May 25. In that bout, Velasquez delivered a devastating array of punches, knocking Silva out in just 1:21. Alongside his incredible power and strength, he is also the most athletic fighter in the heavyweight class. Dos Santos showed that he has incredible punching power as well, knocking out Velasquez in just 1:04 in their first match. However, in the rematch, Dos Santos was physically dominated for the five rounds. He bounced back nicely with a vicious spinning hook kick to defeat Mark Hunt in UFC 160 on May 25. While Dos Santos has all of the talent of being a great fighter, Velasquez is a bad matchup for him. While this should be the most competitive of the three fights, VELASQUEZ is just too big and strong and will wear Dos Santos out.
Of his 12 career victories, Velasquez has won 10 of them by way of knockout. His KO power is the best in his weight class with a UFC record eight knockouts in the heavyweight division. In addition to his power, Velasquez's cardio makes him even tougher to beat. He was able to go the entire five rounds against Dos Santos and get the victory despite the fact that Dos Santos is one of the best-conditioned athletes in the sport. Velasquez will have a significant striking advantage in this match, as he averages 6.33 strikes landed per minute, compared to just 5.46 by Dos Santos. Velasquez holds a +4.9 striking differential, which is the best in UFC history. While he 31-year-old doesn’t have any career victories by submission, he is a very good grappler. He has a huge advantage in this department as well, averaging 6.49 takedown average, compared to a paltry 0.61 for his opponent. Velasquez understands that he must be on his toes, as Dos Santos showed him in their first fight by knocking him out. That is the beauty of the UFC, where one punch can end a match at any moment, and that is something Dos Santos has.
Like Velasquez, Dos Santos has won most of his matches, (12 of his 16 career victories) by knockout, with just two coming by submission. At 6-foot-4, he has a three-inch advantage on Velasquez, and he must use his reach to his advantage. If this is the type of fight where both men are close the entire bout, then Dos Santos is at a disadvantage. Instead he must use his reach to try and keep Velasquez at bay, while also setting up his lightning-quick strikes. While he doesn’t land near as many takedowns as Velasquez, Dos Santos is much more accurate in this department (67%) compared to his opponent (50%). The 29-year-old Dos Santos has wanted the shot at getting his belt back, and he has that opportunity Saturday night. If he is able to execute his game plan, then Dos Santos, who is 10-1 in UFC-sanctioned bouts, has a shot at grabbing the belt back from Velasquez.