UFC 166 extended preview
“This fight between Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos is an end to the most exciting trilogy in UFC heavyweight history.” - Kenny Florian
Not just actual UFC history, but probable UFC history as the previous championship bouts were the storybook wins these two titans could have only dreamed of. In their first meeting, Junior dos Santos appeared at his best, and, in their second meeting, Cain Velasquez appeared at his best. On October 19th at UFC 166 in Houston, Texas, this trilogy ending UFC heavyweight championship title fight will be the career defining moment for each of these indomitable forces to prove that they can do it again.
On UFC on FOX’s inaugural telecast, it took only one punch in one minute in the one fight shown to give dos Santos one big, gold belt. “At the time, Cain was undefeated and it was good to be the first guy to defeat him,” tells dos Santos who owns 7 KO/TKO victories inside the Octagon including his most recent spinning heel kick knockout of Mark Hunt in May. “I’m more powerful than Cain Velasquez. When I hit people, they go down. He already tasted it and I want to show him this part of me again.”
Just 13 months after losing the belt, Velasquez earned a rematch with dos Santos at UFC 155 where Velasquez beat the then champ from pillar to post for 25 grueling minutes to reclaim the title. “He beat me once and that’s it - that’s all he’s getting,” states Velasquez who is the only fighter in Octagon history to land over 100+ strikes and score 10+ takedowns in one fight like he did to dos Santos in that rematch. “I’m an aggressive fighter. I’m always throwing something at you whether it’s the boxing, it’s the kickboxing, it’s the wrestling - I’m always going forward.”
In the co-main event, bad blood feud has erupted over social media and will be settled in the cage between The Ultimate Fighter 10 winner Roy “Big Country” Nelson and former Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix champion Daniel Cormier. A war of words has focused these two heavies in the gym to the point that the winner of this match-up could be angling for a title shot at light-heavyweight. Regardless, the action in the Octagon will be intense as the former Olympic wrestler turned undefeated MMA juggernaut Cormier tangles with the one punch KO power of Nelson who owns 4 Knockout of the Night bonuses amongst his 6 KO/TKO wins in the UFC.
On the flip-side, the lightweight collision between former #1 contenders Diego Sanchez and Gilbert Melendez is about nothing but mutual respect. “I’m a high intensity guy and he’s a high intensity guy, so it was like two bulls in a cage going at it,” states Melendez who has previously trained with Sanchez and expects a 3 round war for the ages. Both former TUF 1 winner Sanchez and former long-time Strikeforce lightweight champ Melendez believe an impressive win will could catapult them toward another UFC title shot.