UFC 166: Velasquez vs. Dos Santos 3 Preview

This Saturday, October 19th, the Ultimate Fighting Championship hosts the third fight in a heavyweight championship trilogy when champion Cain Velasquez (12-1) faces off against No. 1 contender and former champion Junior dos Santos.

The event is taking place in Houston, Texas and starts with online preliminary matchups at 6:15PM EDT before moving to Fox Sports 1 for undercard fights at 8PM EDT and then the main card on pay-per-view starting at 10PM EDT.

In the first fight between the two heavyweights, challenger Junior dos Santos finished the champion with a 64-second knockout, blitzing and finishing the fight. Dos Santos then successfully defended his title with a second round knockout of veteran Frank Mir.

After losing the title, Velasquez fought and defeated Antonio Silva before getting another title shot against dos Santos.

In the first round of that fight, fans saw a very aggressive Velasquez, pushing the pace, leading with a strong jab and overhand right before stepping in for a low leg shot. With about a minute and a half left in the round, dos Santos was clipped by Velasquez, allowing him to control the champion on the ground and land some vicious bombs for the remainder of the round. Dos Santos attempted to recover to his feet multiple times but was drug down by Cain’s superior positioning.

In the second round, dos Santos was more aggressive but found himself on his back foot for the majority of the stand-up before being controlled and taken repeatedly to the ground by the challenger. We even saw an attempted arm bar from the challenger. The remainder of the fight belonged to Velasquez as he controlled and dominated the champion, winning by unanimous decision.

Since that fight, dos Santos has had a win over veteran Mark Hunt before receiving this shot to regain the title.

In this fight, I anticipate that Velasquez will attempt to do more of the same. He will spend some time making dos Santos work to stay on his feet and feeding him leg kicks and combos before eventually dragging him to the ground and either riding him out or finishing him with good and effective ground and pound. Unlike many fighters who utilize a strong wrestling game, Velasquez is very successful at throwing big shots that land in an attempt to finish the match up while scrambling to improve position and attempt submissions.

If the fight stays on its feet and dos Santos is able to establish himself in the middle of the cage, I think that he may have an edge in striking and could clip the champion and finish the fight. This edge changes if Velasquez puts him on his back foot. If the fight goes into the later rounds, dos Santos will have to hope that he has worked on his cardio enough to be able to handle the pace that Velasquez brought to the Octagon the last time these two met.

Also fighting on the main card will be No. 2 contender Daniel Cormier versus Roy Nelson in a heavyweight showdown, Gilbert Melendez (21-3) facing off against  Diego Sanchez (26-5) in the lightweight division, heavyweights Gabriel Gonzaga versus Shawn Jordan and flyweights John Dodson, who is the number 2 contender, and Darrell Montague who is making his UFC debut.


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