Are you ready for your close up? The UFC makes the breakthrough to the mainstream in stunning style on Saturday night when Cain Velasquez defends the UFC Heavyweight title against Junior Dos Santos.
Is Cain fresh enough?
It’s been a long time since Cain Velasquez redefined the UFC Heavyweight scene with his demolition of Brock Lesnar. That title win was all the way back in October 2010. After 13 months away from the octagon, it’s more than reasonable to wonder about ring rust. Remember the champion, despite his explosive success, was still developing as a fighter when he went on the shelf. In terms of raw talent there’s no questioning the ability of Cain Velasquez. Veteran savvy is another matter entirely and he’ll need to show he can win a fight with his head if he’s off pace early. That’s a big factor for MMA betting fans to bear in mind, especially against a challenger as dangerous as Junior Dos Santos.
Would JDS try that?
When I think about big time Brazilian fighters looking to make a splash in 2011 MMA events two moments jump out for me. Anderson Silva and Lyoto Machida both picked up victories recently by landing front kicks to the faces of Vitor Belfort and Randy Couture. Now here’s JDS, a man who has been itching for a title shot since Cain got his hands on the belt. He’s waking into the octagon, flat-out afraid of no-one, and known as an effective no-nonsense fighter. Don’t think for a second he hasn’t considered going Ralph Macchio in front of a worldwide audience of millions.
It’s been a long road for UFC. No matter what happens inside the octagon on Saturday night, just staging this event will be a victory for the sport. That makes being the first winner of a main event of this size all the more important to the two combatants. The whole world will be watching when Cain and JDS collide.
I’m picking the Brazilian and it’s not for any potential Karate Kid heroics. Cain’s lack of activity is a big concern. I’d have considered JDS a dangerous opponent for Velasquez even if the champion was fully fresh. Instead he’s going in against a much better tested fighter. Dos Santos dominated Shane Carwin in the summer and will carry the momentum of that win with him on Saturday. Unlike the bulk of fans, I am not betting on a stoppage. Instead I like Junior Dos Santos to dominate and emerge victorious on points.