This will be the third in a trilogy between these two big bangers and if the challenger has it his way it will be reminiscent of their first battle when dos Santos KO’ed Velasquez in 64 seconds of the opening round. However, Velasquez knew better than to drop his left in their second fight, adopting a different game plan that saw him shooting for takedowns and dominating on the mat. It was a recipe for success as Velasquez won each round convincingly and regained his belt.
But the question here is not whether or not the champ will employ the same tactics because we know that’s a foregone conclusion but how effectively will dos Santos stuff those takedown attempts and keep the fight standing? The irony here is that dos Santos holds a black belt in BJJ and grappling should not be an issue but all black belts are not created equal and Velasquez clearly has the advantage when the bodies hit the floor.
The challenger is coming off a spectacular knockout over the brutish Mark Hunt while Velasquez was busy sending Antonio Silva to sleep for the second time in a year. As of this writing the champion is north of a 2-1 favorite in our UFC odds and perhaps that’s due to the public hypothesizing that dos Santos couldn’t defend the takedown in their last fight so why should the results at UFC 166 be any different? I can’t say I fault that logic.
Daniel Cormier vs. Roy Nelson
Seriously folks, how much fun will this one be? If you don’t like Roy Nelson then I suggest you put down your Chablis, leave the polo grounds immediately and skip shaving for a week. Roy Nelson gives fat guys everywhere hope that being jacked and pumped doesn’t make you any tougher than the rest of us. But Big Country will have his work cut out for him as he takes on the undefeated Daniel Cormier.
Cormier is a Strikeforce refugee who is a legend in the realm of college wrestling and has even added BJJ to his prodigious grappling arsenal. He’s not just supreme on the mat but has the ability to starch anyone on the planet standing up. With victories over Josh Barnett, Antonio Silva and most recently Frank Mir, Cormier is ready to ascend into the rarified air of top contender status if he can dispatch Roy Nelson.
Let the bad blood flow and the fireworks commence between these two lethal heavyweights. I am going to enjoy this no matter who wins but if you’re looking to make a few bucks, play it safe and back Cormier in a parlay because the lumber is just too heavy for straight action, considering Big Country could turn the lights out if given the opportunity.
Cormier -454 is the choice at WilliamHill.com in our UFC picks.
Gilbert Melendez vs. Diego Sanchez
Former Strikeforce champ Gilbert Melendez is one tough hombre in the lightweight division and he should be able to get past Diego Sanchez without much fanfare. Melendez has the speed and cardio to keep pace with the bulldozing, hard-charging Sanchez and will make him pay for standing and trading.
Sanchez is no stranger to brawls and like Melendez has been a mainstay in the major MMA organizations for longer than most. But his controversial split decision over Takanori Gomi in his last fight seven months ago does not bode well for his chances here. Sanchez’s ability to make 155 pounds seems to be a bit problematic as well for the natural welterweight after he was fined twenty-percent of his purse against Gomi due to coming in two pounds overweight.
This will be an entertaining fight and one that will most likely go to the judge’s table as Sanchez has only been knocked out once and Melendez never being KO’ed.