This evening for the first time ever the UFC will be broadcast for free on Network Television. Cain Velasquez vs. Junior Dos Santos for the UFC’s heavyweight title is being called the biggest fight in UFC history.
Expected to introduce an entire new audience to the sport, the UFC has put their best foot forward and at the expense of an estimated $16 million loss is offering up the most coveted title in combat sports up for free in hopes to gain some main stream recognition.
You can weigh in on the implications that this fight has for the entire sports landscape but at the end of the day it is still just a fight. For our readers here on BJPENN.COM this is something we are already sold on. We are all here because we are UFC and MMA fanatics.
With only one televised fight this evening, it makes no sense to breakdown the entire card and since the UFC and FOX team are focusing on just the main event, so too will we.
Cain Velasquez has been out of action for a year. With a torn rotator cuff he had to undergo surgery to repair, he has been forced on the sidelines and in rehabilitation treatments in an attempt to regain his championship level skills.
The last time we saw him in action was when he picked apart then champion, Brock Lesnar to earn the UFC’s heavyweight crown. The victory marked his sixth first round stoppage and grew his undefeated pro MMA record to 9-0. With only 9 professional fights the AKA trained heavyweight fighter has been able to ascend to the sports highest seat and has done so by finishing all but one of his opponents in the process.
The one blemish for the champ going into this fight is the surgery, time off and if he can return to his former self. Assuming he has, makes him the smart bet for gamblers and that is reflective in the betting lines across the globe.
Rumor has it that Cain has had a rough training camp and not come out uninjured. If we are to believe some of these rumors, than it may raise a red flag for betters to commit to betting on the champ. Coming off a year long layoff, shoulder surgery and with the possibility of being re-injured in the past few weeks during training brings a new element into this fight.
My contacts that I have talked to have said that Cain looked great in training, that his boxing is on another level and that he has been picking apart pro-boxers in sparring for the past several months. The reports I have received are that his cardio is back to normal levels; his shoulder is 100% recovered and that he looks, at least in the gym, like the champion we last saw him as.
Do we believe the media’s reports of injury in camp or my contacts that directly contradict these reports? I don’t have the answer to that.
On the opposite side of the cage lies the hungry challenger, Junior Dos Santos. The man has been on a tear since entering the UFC, taking out some of the sport’s top talent and earning his way to a title shot this evening. He has amassed and impressive 13-1 pro MMA record and has managed to go undefeated since entering the UFC.
People are calling him the most talented boxer under the UFC’s employment and that may be so, but the question for betters is whether or not he will be able to keep it on the feet against a very crafty wrestler in Velasquez.
We last saw Dos Santos this past June at UFC 131 against Shane Carwin. Carwin is to date, the only wrestling based fighter Dos Santos has faced and as such is the only barometer we can use to estimate his ability to keep the fight standing.
In his fight with Carwin, Dos Santos was a beast, he picked Carwin apart on the feet and for 15 full minutes was able to thwart of any and all takedown attempts from the wrestling stand-out. In the third he even took the fight to the mat on his own accord showing the world he could not only stop takedowns from high level wrestler, but instigate and successfully bring the fight to the mat on his own when he wanted to.
One thing that I think a lot of people overlook in that fight is the condition Carwin stepped in the cage. Shane was coming off a long layoff of his own. The man had major back surgery and took the fight against Dos Santos on limited notice when Lesnar was forced to withdraw. For Carwin, the back surgery played a huge role in his abilities and as we have learned in the recent months, he has to go back to repair the back even further.
Carwin was smaller than we are used to seeing, his recovery from back surgery played an obvious role on his physique. You couple these aspects with the cage rust factor and Dos Santos more than likely faced a less than perfect Carwin in his last outing.
Carwin took his shots from way on the outside and telegraphed nearly every takedown attempt. I believe that based on this, most of the heavyweight division would have been able to stuff the former interim champion’s takedowns that evening.
Not to take anything away from Dos Santos because he fought a brilliant fight, but from my personal stand point, I am not sold on him being able to keep this fight on the feet. The one test against a wrestler he has was more than likely flawed making his fight this evening the only true indicator we will have on his abilities in the defensive wrestling range.
Taking all of this into consideration makes it a tough bet to call; I think at the end of the day the odds makers got it right by giving the champ the edge over the challenger, but even if I was a betting man I don’t think I would touch this matchup with so many variables at play.
However, if I had to make a pick, after contemplating the breakdown, I do, at the end of the day trust my sources and would pick Cain to win. If what has been told to me holds true, Cain wins this fight no matter where it goes and while that may be a hard pill for some to swallow based on the hands of Dos Santos, Velasquez is the champ for a reason and I see him retaining his title.
– The odds provided at the start of this entry are provided by betus.com. Click the image to place a wager and bet responsibly.
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