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UFC on Fox: Velasquez vs. Dos Santos

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Cain Velasquez (-145) vs. Junior “Cigano“ Dos Santos (+125)

by Stan Leung
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UFC on Fox: Velasquez vs. Dos Santos
Nov 19, 2011
Cain Velasquez vs. Junior Dos Santos
UFC Betting Pick: Junior “Cigano “ Dos Santos (+125)

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Heavyweight Championship bout: Cain Velasquez (-145) vs. Junior “Cigano “ Dos Santos (+125)

Cain Velasquez (9-0) has had a long layoff and now he will be fighting the most powerful striking UFC heavyweight in the world. Velasquez suffered a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder during his fight with Lesnar at UFC 121 and was expected to be sidelined for at least 6–8 months.

Now is Velasquez in fight shape or has he have ring rust when he faces off with Junior Dos Santos (13-1)? Before Velasquez’s injury, Cain was on his way to becoming the best heavyweight with as long title reign.
If this fight happened pre injury I would have bet on Velasquez to beat Dos Santos hands down. However after watching Dos Santos last two mixed martial arts fights in the UFC I am now betting on Dos Santos to be the new UFC heavyweight champion

We all know that in MMA wrestlers are the fighters that win championships. Just look at the current champions who are started their MMA careers with wrestling. Velasquez is by far the better wrestler. Just look at his wrestling accomplishments which include:

  • NCAA Division I All-American (2005, 2006)
  • Pac-10 Conference Championship (2005, 2006)
  • Pac-10 Conference Wrestler of the Year (2005)
  • NCAA Division I 285 1b – 5th place out of Arizona State University (2005)
  • NCAA Division I 285 1b – 4th place out of Arizona State University (2006)
  • NJCAA Junior Collegiate Champion (2002)
  • NJCAA All-American (2002)
  • FILA Junior Freestyle World Team Trials Winner (2002)
  • ASICS Tiger High School All-American (2001)
  • Western Junior Freestyle Regional Championship (2001)
  • Western Junior Greco-Roman Regional Championship (2001)
  • AIA Division I High School State Championship (2000, 2001)
  • AIA 5A Conference Championship (1998, 1999, 2000, 2001)

Velasquez used his speed and quickness to become the UFC heavyweight champion. When Brock had Velasquez down he was able to get back up and use his speed and striking to eventually KO Lesnar. However, Lesnar is not Dos Santos.

Despite being a great wrestler Velasquez is also a very good grappler. He won the No-Gi Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu blue belt championships roughly a year after starting submission grappling and is a brown belt under Dave Camarillo and his MMA wrestling coach is Daniel Cormier.

Though Dos Santos is a practitioner of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and currently holds a brown belt. Dos Santos trains his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira but I think Velasquez’s grappling translates better to MMA than Dos Santos’s grappling.

Velasquez can use his power and speed in wrestling in combination to his grappling which in my mind makes him a better grappler.

Despite the overwhelmin advantages there is on thing that makes Dos Santos the winner in my mind. This is his striking.

Dos Santos is by far the best striker in the UFC.  He has the reach advantage and the power to ward off any of Velasquez’s takedown attempts. Both fighters are powerful strikers but Dos Santos has the technical skills combined with the power.

When Dos Santos fought Shane Carwin at UFC 131 I thought Carwin would win due his superior wrestling pedigree background and powerful striking. However, to my surprise Dos Santos was able to back off Carwin with his reach and to pick apart Carwin with his jabs and power punches. It was not the power that was able to get through but it was Dos Santos’ technical striking that won the striking department.

Carwin like Velasquez is a powerful wrestling based fighters with powerful strikes. Carwin might not have as many credentials as Velasquez by Carwin was a two-time NCAA Division II Wrestling National Runner-Up Heavyweight in 1996–97 and the NCAA II Wrestling Heavyweight National Champion in 1999.

In that fight Dos Santos dominated Carwin and defeated him by decision, relying mainly on his boxing skills, but he also showed more variety to his game by landing a couple of kicks and completing two takedowns in the third round. In addition, Dos Santos was able to stuff a couple of wrestling shots from the NCAA Division II wrestler.

UFC betting wise I think Velasquez should be the UFC betting odds favorite. He has the speed, wrestling and grappling advantage in my mind but I cannot get past the technical striking of Dos Santos. At +125 I think this is a great UFC underdog bet to make.

Bottom Line: Dos Santos does not have the wrestling pedigree that Velasquez has but he does have enough wrestling defense to defend the shot and if this fight goes to the ground, Dos Santos has the ability to get off his back and get the fight back to standing.

If you look at Velasquez’s fight with Cheick Kongo, Velasquez was able to get the fight to the ground but he could not finish him. For such a great wrestler he was not able to hold Kongo down and Dos Santos is a much better wrestler than Kongo is.

Velasquez used his speed to get the fight back to standing with Lesnar but Brock was slow and was not a threat in the striking.

I see Dos Santos being able to keep Velasquez at a distance with his reach, jabs and jab cross punches.
To me Dos Santos’ striking is much more crisp and he will be able to batter Cain for most of the fight and really hurt him. Not to mention the brutal kicks Dos Santos possesses. Dos Santos has violent kicks that will hurt Velasquez but from there he will be able to unload on his strikes.

I think Velasquez does have the power to KO Dos Santos but not the technical skills. Dos Santos is so much more comfortable in the stand up striking that Velasquez’s only way to win the fight is through the takedowns that Dos Santos will be able to sprawl and counter.

Look for Dos Santos to Become the New UFC Heavyweight Champion with a 4th Round KO

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