While Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen are making most of the headlines dedicated to this weekends UFC 117 pay-per-view extravaganza at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California, Silva's teammate—Junior Dos Santos—is preparing to do his part to bring home a win for Black House MMA.
Founded by Ed Soares and Jorge Guimaraes in 2006, Black House MMA has become one of the most prominent teams in all of mixed martial arts. The fighting crew based out of Rio de Janeiro featured the likes of the Nogueira Brothers, Lyoto Machida, and the WEC featherweight phenom, Jose Aldo.
As previously mentioned, Team Black House will be well represented this Saturday evening as Anderson "The Spider" Silva looks to retain his middleweight championship against the trash-talking Sonnen. Earlier in the evening, a more reserved Junior Dos Santos hopes to solidify his spot as the No. 1 contender to Brock Lesnar and his heavyweight crown.
To do that, he must get through Oakland's first ever UFC event with a win over The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights winner and former IFL Heavyweight Champion, Roy "Big Country" Nelson.
While Nelson doesn't possess an Adonis-esque type of physique, his skills are well rounded and he has proved in his first two official bouts with the UFC that his hands can be quite as explosive as well.
You'd be hard pressed to find a sparring partner out there that can fully replicate Nelson, but with the calibre of talent the Ed Soares crew boasts, quality training is the one thing that isn't hard to come by.
"My camp was great. I trained Bahia with [boxing coach] Luiz Dorea and had the help of the Nogueira Brothers as well as a lot of other great guys. I feel ready," Dos Santos recently stated in an interview with Bleacher Report.
"I've watched his fights and he's an experienced fighter, he's a complete fighter. I expect an explosive fight."
As with any fight he enters, Dos Santos prepares himself both physically and mentally to do battle for the scheduled three rounds. But considering that both he and Nelson are coming off of knockout-of-the-night earning performances, spectators shouldn't be at all surprised if this one ends early.
"I like to control the fight on my feel and will keep this fight standing, but I am very confident on the ground as well. I am always looking for the knockout, and I don't think that this fight will go to the scorecards.
"I hope to impose my game plan and bring home another great victory for me and my team."
A win for Dos Santos over Nelson not only continues to elevate Black House's status in the MMA world but it secures Dos Santos' spot as the divisions No. 1 contender and future mandatory challenger to the organization's heavyweight crown.
Current champion Brock Lesnar is scheduled to defend his title against the Mexican heavyweight phenom, Cain Velasquez, in September as the headlining bout for UFC 121 in Anaheim.
"I feel ready for the title shot, and I will be ready for whoever is the champion after UFC 121. It doesn't matter to me whether it is Brock Lesnar or Cain Velasquez. Either way, I want to fight for the title, but I need to beat Roy Nelson first in order to get that shot."
If Dos Santos does find success against Nelson this Saturday at the Oracle Arena, he'll be looking to count on the Black House family of fighters to prepare him for his long awaited title shot.
It's a formula that has yet to fail him since his 2008 UFC debut against Fabricio Werdum.
But before they can look ahead to preparing their heavyweight contender for a title shot, they will have to sit back with the rest of the world, only being able to show their support for him outside of the Octagon.
Be it Lyoto Machida watching on television back home in Belém, Brazil or Anderson Silva back in the locker room as he prepares for his own bout later in the evening, wherever they are, you can rest assured that the Black House stable will be supporting their teammate in Dos Santos.
"Anderson is my friend, we have trained together a lot and it will be great to have his support. I think it will be a great night for us in Oakland."
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