The UFC 166 card scheduled for October 19th in Houston, Texas is less than a month away, and the lines for the fights are starting to pop up at the sport books. The main event sees Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez as a (-240) favorite over challenger Junior Dos Santos (+200), while the co headlining Lightweight fight between Gilbert Melendez (-610) and Diego Sanchez (+425) has a much wider line. Let’s take a look at the two fights, which both look remarkably different on paper.
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Diego Sanchez has spent much of the last 5 years moving back and forth between the welterweight and lightweight classes. He owns good wins and he has lost to top guys in both weight classes, so it is safe to say that Sanchez is relevant in neither weight class’ title picture.
Melendez very much figures in the Lightweight title picture. He is coming off a split decision loss in his last outing, which was for the title, and he needs a win to remain there. Before the loss to Benson Henderson, ‘El Nino’ had strung together 7 wins in a row against very solid competition, and he should handle Sanchez easily. Sanchez, who at his best thrived off of his natural energy, has not been able to generate that type of fervor in a long time, appearing to force it at times. He cant win that way against a guy like Melendez.
The line on the main event figures to stay hovering around the same numbers through fight time. The bottom line is that Velasquez is capable of the total domination that he showed in their second meeting, and that was the last impression people to put the rivalry in perspective.
But Dos Santos seemed to get back to his precise, hard punching style against Mark Hunt, taking out the stalwart kickboxer with strikes. Dos Santos has already showed his punches can rattle Velasquez, and Velasquez does not have the chin that Mark Hunt has.
There will be no ground submissions in this fight, and Dos Santos, as beaten as he was in the second outing, showed he could take what Velasquez threw at him without going out. Cain has to fight 2550 minutes without getting hit by a fight changing punch by Dos Santos. Of those 50 minutes, he has gotten through the first 25 last fight. Can he do it again?