It’s Velasquez vs. Dos Santos in the One That “Settles It All”
At UFC 166, the main event brings one of those fight fans have been awaiting for quite some time.
Cain Velasquez, the two-time champion, makes a defense of his UFC heavyweight title in the main event as he takes on Junior Dos Santos. It’s a rubber match, with each of the competitors winning once apiece. It takes place at the Toyota Center in Houston on Saturday night (October 19).
Here are the UFC betting odds from www.bovada.lv:
Cain Velasquez -205
Junior Dos Santos +165
Under 3.5 Rounds -140
Over 3.5 Rounds +110
Velasquez (12-1), an All-American wrestler at Arizona State, ripped his way through the first eight bouts of his mixed martial arts career, which included a one-round KO over Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in a title eliminator, before taking on Brock Lesnar at UFC 121 in Anaheim. Velasquez had taken care of five of his opponents within a round up to that time, and he did the same with Lesnar, winning a TKO on punches to capture the UFC title
In that fight he sustained an injury to his rotator cuff, and was out of action for over a year. When he returned, Dos Santos (16-2) toppled him in 64 seconds to win the championship. It came to light that both fighters had been injured before the bout; Dos Santos had a torn meniscus, while Velasquez had re-injured the rotator cuff in training. .
Velasquez worked his way into a rematch wit a win over Antonio Silva, then got his rematch with Dos Santos at UFC 155 (December of last year). And he was dominant, winning all five rounds and taking Dos Santos down eleven times. This time, there were no injury excuses for either man. Velasquez has since fought a rematch with Silva, winning that one rather easily.
Dos Santos (the +165 underdog) had his first seven pro fights in Brazil, then debuted in the UFC with a surprise win (that was also surprisingly easy) over Fabricio Werdum. He earned his first title shot by running through a series of fights against Gabriel Gonzaga, Roy Nelson and Shane Carwin, then blasted out Velasquez in one round. He defended successfully against Frank Mir, but the loss in the rematch to Velasquez was really a downer, as his face was battered to a pulp.
He blew out Mark Hunt (a substitute for Alistair Overeem) with a spinning wheel kick in his last bout back in May, which established him as the #1 contender.
In order to perhaps give himself a little more confidence in advance of this rubber match, Dos Santos has convinced himself that, in his own words, “I didn’t lose because he’s a better fighter than me” and “As I watched the fight again, I was saying ‘That’s not me in there’.”
He said that he had actually peaked fifteen days before that fight. Indeed, he says that he had developed something called rhabdomyolysis, which is a breakdown of the muscle fiber due to extreme physical exertion. And his urine was brown for some time after that. As he asserts that he has taken steps to get that situation under control, UFC bettors wonder if that will be a real difference-maker.
For those who accept it as a legitimate excuse for the one-sided nature of the last fight, it does indeed add to the intrigue.
Interestingly, these two are 1-1 against each other, but they are 18-0 against everyone else in the UFC, with fifteen early endings.
Okay, maybe it isn’t Ali vs. Frazier, but it’s about as close as they are going to get at the heavyweight level. And perhaps it is the kind of rivalry that could extend itself for a few years, although Velasquez figures “I think this is the one that settles it all.”
Kenny Florian, the UFC fighter who writes a column for Fox Sports, offered this, among other things, in analyzing this third bout between the two:
“JDS (Dos Santos) is a master knockout artist but must attack the body of Velasquez, especially in the early rounds. Throwing shots at the head allows a takedown expert like Velasquez to change levels and attack the legs.”
When you think about the kind of shape Velasquez always comes in, as well as the furious pace he set in that second fight, even with an injury, one would imagine that unless he does something very decisive to get Velasquez’s attention early, this can become another fight in which he gets overwhelmed.
In another heavyweight bout of note on the card, Daniel Cormier (12-0) puts his undefeated record on the line against rough-and-tumble Roy Nelson (19-8). Here are the odds for that one:
Daniel Cormier -550
Roy Nelson +400
Over 1.5 Rounds -275
Under 1.5 Rounds +215
This one comes with a little comedy. Cormier is concerned with the length of Nelson’s beard, and complains that he looks like an extra form the reality show “Duck Dynasty.”
Nelson, a protege of Renzo Gracie, is a former champion in the short-lived IFL who’s won a few and lost a few in his four-year tenure in the UFC. He’s gone the distance with Dos Santos, Mir and Werdum, and his best win was probably a one-round KO of Chieck Kongo at UFC 159. he lost to Stipe Miocic last time out at UFC 161 in Canada.
Cormier, a wrestling star at Oklahoma State, came fourth in the 2004 Olympics and was the captain of the 2008 U.S. Olympic team but had kidney failure and could not take part. he comes from Strikeforce, where he was the Grand Prix heavyweight champion, scoring wins over Jeff Monson, Antonio Silva and Josh Barnett. In his UFC debut, back in April, he won a decision over Mir.
To bet on any of the fights at UFC 166 check our our list of the best UFC betting sites.