Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos will make history on Saturday night when they headline the inaugural UFC on Fox event.
For Velasquez (9-0 MMA, 7-0 UFC) it’s his opportunity to successfully defend the heavyweight championship for the first time on network television and dos Santos (13-1 MMA, 7-0 UFC) is attempting to bring the sport’s most prestigious gold back to Brazil.
Both men own perfect marks inside the Octagon and combined they total 19 career finishes.
Considering the magnitude of this fight, Bleacher Report gathered insight from some of the sport’s most knowledgeable coaches and talented fighters.
“Well, it’s a tough one, [but] I like Junior dos Santos, (the) kid trains hard and is hungry for this title. Having trained with him before, I have seen first hand what he can do, he has amazing hips and athleticism to stop the first shot on a takedown, what he lacks is the ability to stop the reshoot or chain wrestling that Cain brings to the table.
“You can’t teach a non-wrestler how to deal with a heavy grind that a high level wrestler brings to the table, but there is a way to neutralize it or even deal with it to create openings. With that said, I don’t give any one of them an edge in Boxing striking, Cain is a very good Boxer and so is JDS. There is huge edge in power and ability to control long range by JDS. The Cardio/Conditioning edge goes to Cain.
“So, for the odds makers, Cain has an advantage, but for me I’m picking JDS, he is an awesome kid and I can’t wait for this fight. He has the tools to shock everyone... So, I’m going with JDS!”
Erik Koch: UFC Featherweight
“I think dos Santos has this one. I think his boxing and range will be too much for Cain and Cain will not be able to get in on dos Santos to take him down. I'm picking dos Santos, secon-round KO.”
Travis Browne: UFC Heavyweight
"I think that JDS is gonna take it, obviously the champ is champ for a reason. If Cain can implement his wresting, it's a long night for JDS. But I think it's going to go JDS' way tonight. His wrestling is highly under rated. And (he) has great power. I think he takes this one TKO in the second."
Ed Buckley: Team Quest
“I think Cain's short to mid-range striking will work well for him in this fight. dos Santos, due to his reach will most likely stay outside. Cain's explosiveness and footwork along with his kicks will serve him well in this fight. I've got Cain taking the decision.”
Justin McCully: LA Boxing
“Javier Mendez is a great coach and Cain is one tough dude! [He’s] still a young champ, if he gets past dos he will probably become a great champ. dos has some strange power. He has very, very explosive hands! However, a betting man would have to think Cain edges him with leg kicks and grappling. I can’t wait to see who the Gods smile on.”
Thiago Alves: UFC Welterweight
“It’s gonna be a war, but I’ll go with dos Santos. Once Junior tags him, it’s gonna be just a matter of time. Dos Santos will bring this belt back to Brazil!”
Gustavo Pugliese: Team Quest
“This fight could go five rounds if Velasquez can't close the distance. JDS has one of the best jabs in the business (and) he could keep Cain in the middle of the cage all night long landing all kinds of shots. If JDS establishes the jab, Cain's face could end up just like Carwin's.
“JDS moves really well and has tons of feints to keep Cain really frustrated. If Velasquez gets the TDs (takedowns), I would like to see how JDS's BJJ (Brazilian jiu-jitsu) has evolved to keep Cain from doing damage from the top position. That's Cain’s only chance to win it.”
Joey Beltran: UFC heavyweight
“I think that if the fight goes past the first round, Cain will outwork JR. That being said, Cain will have to navigate those first five minutes with extreme caution as JR will be at full speed and power. I predict Cain by TKO, fourth round.”
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