UFC Picks: What We Learned From dos Santos vs. Velasquez 1 & 2
The UFC on Fox invaded the airwaves on November 12th, 2011 and featured a heavyweight title match between the champion Cain Velasquez, who was favored in UFC odds as a 2-1 favorite, and top contender Junior dos Santos. The expectation was that the formidable heavyweight king was going to dispatch El Cigano in short order and all those chalk eaters would be cashing a ticket without breaking a sweat.
However, it was in fact dos Santos who stunned Velasquez with an overhand right and put him away with a fusillade of punches only 64 seconds into the opening round. And that’s why they play the games, or in this case, fight the fights. Some have conjectured that Velasquez was simply unprepared or took his foe too lightly but I attribute the outcome to a huge hammer launched by dos Santos onto the unsuspecting temple of the fallen champ.
Junior dos Santos served notice that he has the power to knock anyone unconscious, including a previously undefeated world champion. If you examine the tape you will notice that dos Santos grazed Velasquez with that same whipping right hand within moments of the fight and continued to bounce while Velasquez remained flat-footed and somewhat stiff. After barely a minute, it was all over and dos Santos was crowned the new UFC heavyweight champion.
The two heavyweight titans met again over a year later on December 29th, 2012 at UFC 155 after dos Santos had successfully defended his title against Frank Mir via a second-round TKO and after Velasquez made short work of Antonio “Big Foot” Silva. This time it was dos Santos who was the favorite for our UFC picks, though by a somewhat narrow -130 with those backing the former champ getting an even money return on their investment.
This fight was a marked departure for Velasquez from his previous game plan which was to stand and trade with dos Santos. He dominated each and every round by landing takedowns and banging away furiously on the champ. It was more of the same each and every round with Velasquez landing shots in order to set up the takedown. Dos Santos could do little to stop Velasquez’s superior ground game. When the final bell tolled it was obvious that Velasquez had regained his belt and dos Santos would be relegated to top contender status.
Pick your poison here fight fans because dos Santos should be well prepared for the takedown assault he will face again from Velasquez. The question is can he prevent it? Velasquez will be pressing the action and doing his best to avoid the looping right from dos Santos and administering some pain of his own. The reigning champ has been reportedly been working on various submission techniques to end the fight while on the mat.
However, it will be a reinvigorated dos Santos who will utilize his takedown defense and attempt to catch Velasquez off-guard as he bounces back to his feet following an unsuccessful trip to the mat. It is here that we should consider the prospects of another dos Santos knockout. El Cigano has the lethal facility to starch anyone in the world and there would be no better time than rendering it as Velasquez attempts to regain his footing.
The champion is back as a decent favorite here in UFC odds and is perhaps worthy of the -225 WilliamHill.com has tagged on him. This will be a war well worth watching.