As we head into this weekend’s Heavyweight showdown between UFC Heavyweight Champion and Cain Velasquez and challenger Junior Dos Santos, Velasquez sits at nearly a 2 to 1 favorite (-195) with the comeback on Dos Santos around (+165). This being the third fight between the two, they have a track record together that bears reviewing.
As everybody knows by now, Dos Santos won the first outing and reigned as UFC Champion when he KO’d Velasquez in less than 2 minutes. Velasquez came back to take the second fight with a resounding, dominant five round performance that won him the UFC Heavyweight title for a second time.
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First thing, we are talking about probably the two most complete, high skilled heavyweights in the world here, so very little is left to chance in their fights. Velasquez has established himself as the pace setter who no one can keep up with, and his being favored reflects that in this fight.
One thing to consider – who has the better game plan? For Dos Santos, he will be a bit more defensive, and likely a bit more offensive, as he didn’t get off at all during the 5 round drubbing. He will make Velasquez work a bit more to get him down, and look to land his big shot, which he knows works. He has to avoid getting frustrated, like he was at the end of round 1 in their second meeting, and he has to weather Velasquez’ storm knowing he has been able to take it before.
As for Velasquez, he has already fought a perfect 25 minutes against Dos Santos in their second meeting, and he deserves massive credit for pulling that off. But this is a new match, and he needs to fight another perfect 25 minutes if he is going to win the same way, and that is a tall order.
The bottom line is that in a trilogy, where things evolve, we will probably see a completely different fight this time than we did in the first two. But going by the first two fights, Dos Santos has an easier to duplicate way to win than Velasquez does, and that may be enough to see some money come in on the underdog.