When Cain Velasquez defends his heavyweight championship against Junior dos Santos in the main event of the stacked UFC 166 card, the sport of mixed martial arts will be put on notice for what could be the most exciting bout of the year.
Hardcore and casual UFC fans both are excited about this defining rubber match—Dos Santos won the first bout and Velasquez won the second—and this pay-per-view main event will be one of the most entertaining in years.
This is a fight fans can’t afford to miss.
Where: Toyota Center, Houston, Texas
When: Saturday, Oct. 19 at 10 p.m. ET
Watch: PPV (call your local provider)
Live Stream: UFC.com
Velasquez’s Keys to Victory
There are few fighters on earth who have the unique mix of skill, size and power that Velasquez possesses. Saturday’s fight will require the champion at his best if he wants to beat dos Santos for the second consecutive time.
Velasquez’s biggest strengths are his wrestling ability and his cardio. With the capability to take down dos Santos at will—proved with his dominance in the second fight by controlling the ground attack—and elite endurance to grind a fight out for five rounds, the key will be keeping dos Santos’ power from making an impact.
Dos Santos is one of the greatest strikers in heavyweight history, and his heavy hands have made great fighters (including Velasquez) look weak. If the defending champion can use the ground attack to keep the challenger from landing clean strikes, Velasquez will successfully defend the title.
Dos Santos’ Keys to Victory
It is clear that Velasquez will try to take Dos Santos to the mat on Saturday night, but the No. 1 contender’s game plan will be centered on avoiding the shoot attempts and countering with his heavy hands.
After losing the title to Velasquez in the duo’s second fight, this could be dos Santos' last chance at the heavyweight title for the foreseeable future. With the new champion so heavily based in wrestling abilities, expect the challenger to come in ready to not only defend the takedown attempts, but also turn them into his own form of offense.
If dos Santos can stifle the wrestling ability of his opponent, he will be able to keep the fight standing up. With Velasquez unable to match the pure punching precision, power and speed of the No. 1 contender, the title could easily change hands if these fighters stand toe-to-toe.
Both men have each won a fight in this series and this will be the ultimate rubber match to decide which star truly is the better champion.
Velasquez has been a great title holder since taking the belt back from dos Santos in Dec. 2012, but the No. 1 contender has fought his way back into contention and will push the champion to his limit once again.
While Velasquez has the definitive edge on the ground, it will be dos Santos’ improvements in his wrestling game and his dangerous striking ability that will once again dethrone the champion.
In spectacular fashion, dos Santos will catch Velasquez with a clean shot to the head in the first round and the fight will end in a TKO.
Predicted Winner: Junior Dos Santos via first-round TKO.