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Posted on November 12, 2011 by John Petit

Breaking Down UFC ON FOX Velasquez Vs. Dos Santos: The Main Event
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Cain Velasquez (9-0) vs. Junior dos Santos (13-1)

There was a time in the UFC heavyweight division where if you didn’t do well at light heavyweight you could always move up and fight at heavyweight. Time went by and the pendulum swung the other way, as just a few years ago Brock Lesnar was weighing 280 pounds on fight night and beating people up. Everything has found its balance in the division, and we have 2 fit athletes competing for the UFC belt on the biggest stage imaginable. The pressure has never been greater for either fighter, and what might be the largest audience in MMA history will be watching at home on Network television. Some are guessing as many as 10 million fans will be watching at home, and they will be in for a treat. The possibility of a boring fight is almost zero in this case.

If you have been following west coast MMA for the last couple of years, and have been asking around about up and coming fighters, there is almost zero chance someone didn’t mention Velasquez to you. His traininer Javier Mendez, and the people who train with him have been boasting about Cain and every time he has fought he has proved them right. Two fights into his MMA career he found himself in the UFC Octagon, and he has made it look like he has been fighting for 20 years.

Junior dos Santos began training jiu jitsu under the watchful eye of the Nogueira brothers in his free time after working at a toy store. After winning all but one of his fights in Brazil, he too was invited to the UFC, and has been winning ever since. He exploded on the scene with a viscous knock out of Fabricio Werdum at UFC 90 in Chicago with a punch that seemed to echo through the arena like it was amplified when it found its mark. He has taken on all comers, and although he hasn’t finished all of his fights, he won them all decisively.

Cain’s impressive wrestling credentials could be the difference in this fight, and the way he sets up his take downs are almost flawless. Much like a striker would add a low kick to a combinations of punches, Velasquez adds take downs just as fluently. He will have a slight size advantage, and although he won’t be the quicker fighter in the cage, he is certainly more athletic then Junior. I don’t expect a ‘lay and pray’ game plan from Velasquez, although I would understand if he employed such a tactic, but expect Cain to go for take downs especially at the end of close rounds. The one thing I have noticed that has been really improving since he came to the UFC is his footwork, and his ability to remain when he has a fighter hurt. Composure is a huge factor in any fight, but its key if there is a chance a fight will go 5 rounds.

Junior dos Santos has been evolving as well, and since he came to the UFC we have yet to see him in trouble on his back. We have no idea what Junior’s offensive and defensive guard looks like, but the Noguiera’s don’t just hand out brown belts to anyone. I would imagine he is no stranger to forcing scrambles to get back to his feet. dos Santos is a counter striker, and he is quick with his strikes. He often throws slower looking punches to surprise his opponents when he sees a real opening to for something devastating. If a fighter isn’t paying attention to him doing that, they usually wake up in the arms of the referee being told ‘everything is going be ok, the fight is over.’ If Cain presses him up against the fence, he is going to need to create distance and explode out of the way, and it would behoove him to throw punches at that point and look out for elbows from Velasquez. Junior does not need a lot of space to land something that could put Velasquez to sleep.

This bout has all the ingredients to be a fantastic heavyweight fight that we will all be talking about for a while. I think the later this fight goes the more likely the chance that Velasquez will retain his title. Don’t think of this as a ‘classic striker versus grappler’ match, as both are much more well rounded then that. Both fighters have their specialties, but they both have the training and skills to do just about anything in octagon. It will be interesting if this fight goes to the later rounds, although many predict it will be over early, I think Velasquez has the slightly beterr conditioning. The wild card for Cain is that he hasn’t fought since injuring his shoulder against Brock Lesnar more then 8 months ago.

I see Junior dos Santos taking home the title tonight on FOX sports when he lands an uppercut on Velasquez early in the second round.

Current Odds: Cain Velasquez -150, Junior dos Santos +180

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