The Case for Junior Dos Santos (Finley 1-0, Reigning champion)
Having claimed the Heavy MMA Face-Off title, now it is time to prove my dominance once and for all. Unfortunately for Nate “Love it when you call me Big Poppa” Lawson, this means back to back doses of humble pie.
In the months leading up to the fight between champion Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos, I am shocked to see how few people seem to be giving JDS a legitimate chance in this fight. Naturally, I am one of the few who see him taking home the belt Saturday evening.
Dos Santos has incredible power in both hands – that is no secret. But the things he does to keep the fight standing are what are being overlooked. His wrestling is nowhere near the caliber of Velasquez, but his takedown defense is solid, and his ability to get back to his feet if taken down is also top notch.
The champion will have to come into firing range to get his takedowns and, while I do not see him getting stung early, I do see it happening. Dos Santos will have to be elusive in order to get to where he can find his range, but when he touches the champion a few times, this is where the fight turns the corner.
This is the UFC’s first fight on FOX, and expectations for delivery are at an all-time high. And the only thing I see these two fighters doing is firing away. The “chin” issue weighs in dos Santos’s favor and his ability to take a punch in exchange for a hammer will be the deciding factor. Velasquez’s vulnerable moments have been few and far between, but after being rocked twice by Cheick Kongo, the durability of his chin has me thinking we will see a new champion.
This fight will end in a stoppage, with Junior dos Santos claiming his first title, and yours truly successfully defending his. That’s the way I see it. That’s the way it is going to go.
Prediction: Dos Santos def. Velasquez via stoppage
The Case for Cain Velasquez (Lawson 0-1, Challenger)
While I am bitter from my loss last weekend after picking Chris Leben to defeat Mark Munoz in the main event of UFC 138, there is perhaps nothing sweeter than being in Velasquez’s corner for his upcoming bout against dos Santos this Saturday night.
Some may wonder where the confidence in Velasquez comes from, as he heads into a fight with a man who should be considered his toughest opponent to date, but the champion’s seemingly endless skill set has me, and many others, convinced that he will be walking out of that cage with the UFC heavyweight title this weekend.
First off, Velasquez’s striking was more than enough to put Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira to the mat in the opening round of their contest at UFC 110, and then he introduced his flashy his flashy hands to Brock Lesnar at UFC 121 to take home the belt, along with a barrage of punches on the ground, which forced the official to call a stop to the scheduled five-round fight.
Secondly, he is a freak athlete with an incredible work ethic and, unlike some fighters who struggle to transfer their training to the Octagon, Velasquez has never had that problem.
But to cap it all off is clearly his elite level of wrestling, which ranks in the top spot in the UFC heavyweight division. Yes, dos Santos has displayed good takedown defense during his time in the UFC, but no one on the planet should believe he can stop the tenacious Velasquez if the champ decides he wants this fight on the ground.
All in all, Velasquez has the solution to any problem the challenger can throw his way. His highly technical striking game and absolutely sensational wrestling background will be more than enough to take home the heavyweight gold in his first title defense, leaving us not with the question of how he wins the fight, but, rather, how doesn’t he?
I’ll let you know anyway.
Prediction: Velasquez def. dos Santos via technical knockout, Round 2