SATURDAY- OCT/19/2013 - TOYOTA CENTER - HOUSTON, TX
And a one and a two and a three. . . Rubber match in the heavy-weight division with a belt on the line. Does it get any better? Cain Velasquez vs. Junior Dos Santos to settle once and for all who the baddest man on the planet is. Cormier makes his sophomore debut, traveling to "Big Country" for a clash of styles. Diego Sanchez is back and "dreams" of making it a "nightmare" match for Gilbert Melendez. Heavy-weight vet Gabriel Gonzaga will attempt to drag Shawn Jordan into the "W" column. The “Lords of the Flys” start it off with Dodson looking to make a statement against Montague. Here comes UFC 166: Velasquez vs. Dos Santos III. These are my picks and predictions.
CAIN VELASQUEZ (12-1) CHAMP VS. JUNIOR DOS SANTOS (16-2) CHALLENGER
In their first meeting Dos Santos made quick work of Velasquez via heavy hands. Their next fight was an entirely different story, seeing Velasquez dominate the Champ in a lopsided decision. What does the rubber match hold for these elite Heavies? If you go by their latest contests, Dos Santos put away a granite-chinned Mark Hunt with an impressive spinning heel kick to the head. Velasquez leveled the freakishly enormous "Bigfoot" Silva in under 2 minutes of the 1st round. Both fighters are amazing at what they do. Dos Santos with his accurate, powerful boxing and Velasquez's combination of at will take down ability and honed striking. And therein lies the key to the outcome. If Dos Santos cannot stuff those relentless takedowns, he will be destined to repeat the cycle of the second fight. He needs to keep the Champ at a distance with stiff jabs, all the while avoiding that deadly right hand. FYI: Odds are favoring the Champ. PREDICTION: VELASQUEZ BY DECISION.
DANIEL CORMIER #2 (12-0) VS. ROY "BIG COUNTRY" NELSON #9 (20-8)
If you believe Cormier, this will be his last bout at Heavy-Weight, vowing to drop to 205 after his vacation in "Big Country". Cormier is close to a 5 to 1 favorite with an 84% chance of victory. 8 of Cormier's 12 victories are finishes with 5 by KO. Considering Nelson's superior Ju-Jitsu and durability, Cormier will be hard pressed to finish the fight. PREDICTION: CORMIER BY UNANIMOUS DECISION.
GILBERT MELENDEZ #2 (21-3) VS. DIEGO "THE DREAM" SANCHEZ (29-5)
Melendez is the favored fighter in this contest, coming off of a loss to then LW Champ Benson Henderson, who took a close decision that many think Melendez's arm should have been raised for. In his last fight Sanchez took a hard split against cage legend Takanori Gomi. Look for Melendez to keep it standing, possessing an array of boxing skills that will have Sanchez shooting for the takedown as soon as he finds an opening. I see Melendez stuffing Sanchez's attempts for the majority of the fight. Add in Sanchez's strong chin and proven ability to absorb heavy punishment, you could be looking at a "FIGHT OF THE NIGHT" contender. PREDICTION: THIS ONE GOES THE DISTANCE. MELENDEZ BY UNANIMOUS DECISION.
GABRIEL “NAPAO” GONZAGA (15-7) VS. SHAWN JORDAN (15-4)
Gonzaga has got the ground with a 60% submission rate, while Jordan rules this match standing up with a TKO/KO percentage of 73. Jordan is the bigger Heavy, giving up 2” in height but amassing almost 20 extra pounds over Gonzaga. Although Gonzaga has proven he can highlight reel KO, punching power has to go to Jordan with 11 of his 15 wins by TKO/KO and his last conquest a “KO OF THE NIGHT” against Pat Barry. I’m a big fan of “Napao’s” comeback to the Octagon (loved the 17 second KO of Dave Herman), but he has a huge obstacle in Jordan to overcome. If he can win it will be by submission. PREDICTION: JORDAN BY TKO.
JOHN “THE MAGICIAN” DODSON #2 (20-6) VS. DARRELL “THE MONGOOSE” MONTAGUE (13-2)
Dodson was on a tear until Fly-weight Champ "Mighty Mouse" Johnson halted his (5) fight win streak. His opponent, Montague is riding a (4) fight win wave into this bout with (3) finishes. Montague's 10 out of 13 victories are finishes dividing the wins up even (5) TKOs and (5) Submissions; an all-around dangerous opponent for Dodson. Expect Dodson to exploit Montague’s less than stellar take-down defense, but the #2 ranked Fly-Weight will not have an easy time of it if he can’t get past Montague’s well timed leg and body kicks. PREDICTION: “THE MAGICIAN” PULLS A HEAVY RIGHT HAND OUT OF HIS HAT. “THE MONGOOSE” IS COOKED BY KO.