Velasquez vs. Dos Santos 3: Each Fighter's Keys to Victory in Rubber Match

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Velasquez vs. Dos Santos 3: Each Fighter's Keys to Victory in Rubber Match
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

After Junior Dos Santos and Cain Velasquez split their first two matches against each other, the third battle at UFC 166 should now decide it all.

Dos Santos dominated his opponent the first time these two met. The Brazilian fighter won the UFC Heavyweight Championship with a knockout in only one minute, four seconds.

However, Velasquez regained control of the belt when he earned a unanimous decision against his rival at the end of 2012.

The two fighters will now look to end the debate once and for all, but they will need to follow these keys to victory in order to come out ahead.

Cain Velasquez

Avoid a Boxing Match

While Velasquez is certainly capable of throwing some big punches, Dos Santos has the clear advantage when it comes to boxing. This is what happened in the first battle, as the Brazilian easily took down the champ with his striking ability.

This means that Velasquez has to play to his strengths, which includes his grappling ability. According to, the big man averages 6.49 takedowns per match, while his opponent only averages 0.61.

The California native must be quick on his feet and go for takedowns to get in control while putting Dos Santos in an uncomfortable position.

Keep Opponent Down

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

This continues the mindset of keeping control of the match. Although Velasquez is not known for his submissions, he still knows how to handle opponents on the mat and continue to punish them there.

After getting takedowns, he needs to be physical with his strikes to inflict as much damage as possible before the end of the round.

While this might not necessarily help him earn a knockout, it will sit well with the judges and go a long way toward helping secure a decision.

Junior Dos Santos

Stay on Feet

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

If Dos Santos wants to win this match, he will have to spend the majority of time in the standing position. This is where he can utilize his jabbing ability and eventually set up his power punches.

According to Sherdog, Dos Santos has a significant advantage in this matchup when it comes to hitting the head. He has landed 43 percent of jabs and 36 percent of power punches in his career.

These skills, along with his superior reach, should keep Velasquez from going in close enough to earn a takedown. This makes it important for Dos Santos to remain active with his fists throughout the bout.

Go For Knockout

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

No matter what happens in the match, Dos Santos cannot be conservative. Velasquez has a style much more suited to winning by decision, and that could continue in this battle.

However, the Brazilian fighter can earn the win by going for the knockout, something he has accomplished three times in the last four victories. In fact, he only has two wins via decision in 11 UFC matches in his career.

Although his aggressiveness could end up working against him if he walks into a counter by his experienced opponent, Dos Santos has little to lose while trying to regain the title.

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