Tonight will signify a new era in UFC history, one that could bring the UFC brand to the table of the major and most popular sports. Along with a fantastic card of fights, Dana White and company have brought the UFC to major network television and have decided to donate a sure-fire, top-selling Main Event headliner and display at no cost for the initial UFC on Fox event.
The headliner I mentioned is none other that one of the most anticipated heavyweight fights as number one contender Junior dos Santos will try to dethrone current champion Cain Velasquez. This fight has been anticipated for many years but the timing of this fight couldn't be any better as you now have a championship on the line between what was to be the future of the heavyweight division. Simply put, the future is now.
Junior dos Santos brings a very solid resume into this fight. JdS has won all seven fights he has been involved with while inside the Octagon and in my opinion, the tougher schedule with the better quality opponents when comparing tonight's combatants. He has defeated the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu specialists in Fabricio Werdum and Gabriel Gonzaga. He has defeated the powerful strikers such as Gilbert Yvel, Mirko Cro Cop, and Shane Carwin. He has defeated fellow up-and-comer Stefan Struve and mixed martial arts veteran Roy Nelson also.
JdS has shown crisp striking with no lack of power behind it and while he hasn't really been tested on the ground, he has displayed a great ability to regain his feet when he has touched the canvas, He is coming into this fight healthy and should be about as confident as a fighter could ever be.
JdS has defeated every type of fighter he has faced during his tenure with the UFC and now he gets his final test in his quest to hold the UFC Heavyweight Championship, the endurance of Cain Velasquez.
Cain Velasquez has won all seven of his fights inside of the UFC but his road hasn't had quite the difficulty that the challenger has had.
Velasquez has a win over Cheick Kongo but he was unable to get a finish. He then was able to get a questionable finish against Ben Rothwell but again displayed a lack of knockout power as the stoppage occurred while Rothwell stood up. Though he was dominant, he has shown a hole in his game and that is his lack of knockout power. You could mention his win over Antonio Nogueria but Nog's chin has been a question mark for years now. You could also mention his tko over Lesnar but Lesnar isn't really known for having any kind of chin either and on top of that, Velasquez didn't knock him out.
Velasquez also has another obstacle to overcome and that is the injury he sustained to his shoulder that required surgery. A shoulder surgery is a difficult one to overcome due to the strength you lose during your recovery period, so at least there should be a question mark around it and the effect it could have when it comes to punching power and the ability of possibly holding JdS down could hurt Velasquez's chances of retaining his Heavyweight Championship.
Velasquez has never been in the Octagon with a guy as good as Junior dos Santos. He also has yet to face the punching power of the elite heavyweights. Velasquez does possibly have the best endurance of any heavyweight on the roster and is a very well-rounded fighter but will his one year absence from the Octagon and his injury be too much to overcome in maybe the highest pressure moment of his career? Will his endurance even be the same?
Will Junior dos Santos be able to take the title from Cain Velasquez, I think so, but we will all find out later tonight while people around the world are introduced to the UFC and mixed martial arts as a whole.